Want to do more than just worry about aging and its effects on your face, skin, joints, digestion, and more? Well if so, then read on. Because if you are over the age of 30, then your anti-aging prevention routine is probably starting to become a bigger part of your life. The best way to stop accelerated aging is not only in prevention, but it’s in how you are living -meaning your lifestyle!
From the loss of elasticity in your skin to dullness taking over the sheen of your hair to the aches and pains of your joints, aging is inevitable... but aging gracefully is definitely attainable. Though no bottle of lotion or nutritional capsule can stop the signs of getting older and cell damage disappear, there are great natural ways to face aging head-on, and slow that cellular decline!
As you age, your skin will naturally become thinner, your production of collagen decreases, and so does the elasticity and the fatty tissue just below the skin. Not only collagen, but the decreased production of your skin’s natural oils make your skin drier and possibly flake more. Wrinkles, bags, sags, fine lines, sun and age spots and skin growths called skin tags are common with aging skin.
Here is what you can do to promote healthier skin and help slow down the skin’s aging process:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays to help reverse damage and prevent more from occurring.
- Get enough sleep! Because the most restorative functions happen around 1 am, during deep sleep, it's important to get to bed early. Aim for 7-9 hours of “quality” uninterrupted sleep so your body’s skin repairing abilities are maximized.
- Bathe in warm water, not hot. Hot water will end up drying your skin more. Use mild, fragrance-free soap and natural moisturizer, like coconut oil.
- Protect and cover up when you're outdoors. Along with sunscreen, wear protective clothing and use a hat. Check your skin regularly and point out any color or size changes of skin growths to your healthcare professional.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking (including vaping or E-cigs) or use of tobacco products dramatically contributes to skin damage, such as wrinkling.
2. Your Aching Body: Joints, Muscles, and Bones
Gravity plus aging equals compression and shrinking of bones, as well as overused joints. Without exercise and stretching your body will weaken over time, making it more susceptible to fractures and muscle tears. And over time, even with consistent exercise, muscles generally lose strength and flexibility, and coordination and balancing may be more difficult. But there are steps you can take to help ensure good body stability and strength, no matter what your age.
Here is what you can do to help promote healthier joints, muscles, and bones during the body’s aging process:
- Get adequate amounts of calcium. Bone loss, especially for women over the age of 40, is a great concern. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) to 1,200 mg a day for women age 30 and older and men age 40 and older. Dietary sources of calcium include kefir dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and non-GMO soy products, such as tofu.
- Get 5,000 IUs of vitamin D. Most adults are low in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is directly correlated with poor absorption of calcium, low moods, and accelerated bone loss. Other good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk, and vitamin D supplements coupled with vitamin K for even better effectiveness.
- Move your body every day and create a daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, stretching, tennis, climbing stairs and strength training can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Even swimming and biking are great for the heart, with less impact on the joints, great for those with joint pain and chronic inflammation.
- Avoid substance abuse. Avoid abusing prescription drugs, smoking, and alcohol. Aim for no more than 1-2 drinks per week and keep your body free of substances that cause inflammation.
3. Your Aging Brain
Studies have proven that your brain is always growing and that an aging brain can still create new neurons. Though memory naturally becomes less efficient with age, and it may take longer to learn new things, there are many ways to keep your brain and memory sharp.
Here is what you can do to promote a healthy mind during your body’s aging process:
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain, helping to keep your memory sharp.
- Eat foods like blueberries, dark chocolate, and omega-3 essential fatty acids like chia and flaxseeds, olive oil and sardines. Also, Curcumin, the concentrated bioactive ingredient inside the Indian spice turmeric, known for its inflammation-fighting properties has been found to help protect the brain and may even begin to reverse some brain aging.
- Stay mentally active. Mentally stimulating activities can help keep your brain in shape — and might help keep memory loss at bay. Do Sudoku and mind puzzles such as brain games (many found online). Learning a new instrument, a new hobby, or even brushing your hair or teeth with your non-dominant hand can stimulate more brain neurons to be fired.
- Join a Meet Up Group. Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others.
- Quit smoking and Cut Out Alcohol. There are studies that link smoking and its effect on increased risk of brain and memory issues. Quitting smoking reduces your risk for accelerated aging in the brain. This goes for alcohol as well. Chronic consumption of alcohol is correlated with a decline in brain functioning.
4. Your Aging Cardiovascular and Digestive System
The aging body is impacted greatly by the types of food you eat. Foods that are highly processed and high in fat and sugars are extremely inflammatory in the body and can create large amounts of free radicals that damage healthy cells and accelerate aging. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules generated naturally by your body and damage DNA and collagen (which accelerates the aging of the skin). Free radicals are also created from exposure to environmental factors such as pollution, UV radiation, smoking and more. They can also put lots of undue stress on the cardiovascular system and wreak havoc on your digestive system, making way for more serious chronic autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.
Here is what you can do to promote a healthy heart and digestive system:
Of course, we all know that aging is inevitable, but we can also be equipped with the knowledge to stop the damage that “accelerated aging” can cause and make lifestyle choices mindfully. No chemical laser peels or surgery is needed for better aging. Just follow these tips and you’ll begin to see changes quickly. You’ve got this!