WHAT’S YOUR REAL AGE?
This article is contributed by Kris Abbey who is a health professional, author and fitness enthusiast who help people to achieve their fitness goals and aspirations. can know more about here here.
You are stuck with your chronological age. Every day you get older, and there’s not a single thing you can do about it, other than lose a few more years when you’re forced to reveal your age!
Follow Kris Abbey’s Detox Meal Plan to keep your body clean and fit.
Your biological age is an entirely different matter. You have the power to peel away months, even years, from your body so that your appearance matches the particular age you decide to adopt. When you do tell all (that you’re prepared to admit), even those who know you well won’t think to question your veracity.
The most important factors involved in holding back biological ageing are keeping your arteries young and building a strong immune system. The following dietary and lifestyle changes will help achieve both objectives, while also taking into account the range of factors outside our bodies that have an equally powerful influence on physical and emotional health:
- Smoking kills. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it ages every part of your body. So quit. The biological age of a heavy smoker is up to 12 years greater than someone who has never smoked.
- Go easy on alcohol. A glass or two of red wine each day can be beneficial, but any more can set the stage for hypertension, strokes and damage to the heart muscle, leading to congestive heart failure. The biological age of a 55-year-old who has 3-6 alcoholic drinks per day is up to 5 years greater than someone who drinks only one per day.
- Exercise regularly.
- Keep your weight within the correct range for your height (see box on BMI).
- Fresh fruit and vegetables contain hundreds of disease-preventing phytochemicals and are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Make them the main part of your diet to reduce your biological age by one year. Eat 9 half-cup servings per day, chosen from across the colour spectrum.
- Whether it’s bread, pasta, rice or other grains, use wholegrain.
- Limit your intake of red meat, salt, sugar and caffeine.
- Go with the good oils like olive and safflower. Limit your intake of saturated fat (ie. any fat of animal origin). Skip margarine completely because of the dangerous trans fats that are formed when unsaturated fats are hydrogenated to make them solid at room temperature. Studies show that the more trans fats a person consumes, the faster the cardiovascular system ages.
- Take nutritional supplements. Antioxidant and free radical fighting vitamin C and the heart healthy vitamin E are the most important. Take 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 400 mg of vitamin E. These vitamins work synergistically, empowering the other to do a more effective job. Taking these vitamins regularly can reduce your biological age by up to 3 years. Use natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols and vitamin C combined with flavonoids for optimum results.
- Another important supplement is folic acid, or folate. 400 micrograms of this B vitamin every day helps reduce the level of homocysteine in your blood. A clear link exists between high homocysteine levels and arterial ageing. A similar link exists between high folate levels and arterial health. By supplementing with folate every day for 3 months, you can reduce your biological age by up to 3 years.
- Keep your bones young by getting plenty of calcium. Low fat dairy products are an excellent source, as is broccoli. In China, women use bone soups. Slowly simmer a whole (preferably organic) chicken in water for 3 hours with one tablespoon of lemon juice to help extract the calcium. Strain, skim and use as a base for soups. Also take a daily 1,000 mg calcium supplement.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins. Install water filters on taps, buy organic produce, use environmentally friendly laundry products and cleaners, and use natural pest control methods.
- Learn to deal with the greatest ager of all – stress, including financial and job stress.
- Become a life-long learner. Going to school actually makes you younger, and it certainly keeps the brain younger.
- Regular sex with a caring partner takes years off your biological age.
- Get a good night’s sleep every night. Your body needs time to rest and regenerate.
- Develop a supportive circle of friends – people who nourish your soul.
YOUR SKIN’S AGE
Test your skin’s age by pinching the back of your hand. If it springs back quickly, it’s in great condition. The longer it takes to return, the poorer the condition.
Sun is the greatest cause of skin ageing. Slather sunscreen on whenever you are outdoors. But remember, sunlight is not completely evil. It is essential for producing vitamin D, which helps the absorption of calcium, and is also necessary for eye health. So make a point of spending 10-15 minutes in the sun each morning, without sunscreen and without sunglasses.
Free radicals damage the skin by destroying the membranes encasing skin cells and by accelerating the breakdown of the skin’s underlying support structures – the collagen and elastin fibres. When this support weakens, the skin starts to slacken and sag. Vitamin C taken internally stimulates the production of collagen.
Vitamin E fights free radicals on the skin’s surface, as well as internally. For the world’s best anti-ageing face cream, pierce a capsule of vitamin E, mix the oil with a dollop of face cream in your palm and apply to your face. (Test first on your inner elbow for reactions).
Gum disease affects 95% of adults. It is caused by the build-up of plaque around the gum line. Inflammation of the gums can lead to loosened teeth and bone loss.
Adults are more vulnerable to root cavities. From around the age of 35, receding gums expose a portion of the tooth not coated with protective enamel. In time, teeth become loose, which can lead to extraction.
Here’s what to do to keep your teeth:
- Visit the dentist twice a year for a checkup and clean
- Brush your teeth 2-3 times a day for about 3 minutes
- Floss daily and carry a supply of toothpicks to use after meals
- Use anti-plaque toothpaste
- Avoid whiteners containing peroxide, which is bad for the enamel
- Receding gums cause sensitivity to hot and cold by exposing dentine – the layer under tooth enamel, so periodically use toothpaste for sensitive gums, which takes about 2 weeks to coat or desensitise the dentine
YOUR CROWNING GLORY
Hair loss in women usually starts around menopause. Usually it is gradual, starting above the temples, or else thinning all over as hair follicles shrink.
Avoid pulling or tugging the hair, which aggravates the loss. Take the herb horsetail, which is wonderful for the hair and the skin, get a great cut and use body-building conditioners, gels and styling lotions that thicken individual strands.
Diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma can strike as you get older. Have your eyes tested annually by an optometrist, who will check for disease.
Don’t smoke and stay away from second hand cigarette smoke. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for their antioxidants and carotenes (the substances responsible for their colour). Lutein, found in corn, has been found to guard against macular degeneration. Supplements of vitamins C and E will offer additional support in preventing eye disease.
The herb bilberry strengthens the vessels around the eyes. For those who spend their days working on a computer, standardised liquid bilberry extract relieves eyestrain and is also protective against glaucoma and macular degeneration.
With age, you may find that your arms suddenly get shorter and you just can’t seem to hold the newspaper far enough away to read it! Janet Goodrich’s natural vision improvement program can work wonders for those who are long-sighted and short-sighted, so that you don’t have to resort to glasses. Get her excellent book Natural Vision Improvement (Penguin Books).
SIDEBAR: TEST YOUR WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO
The apple-shaped body, where fat settles around the middle rather than on the hips, is dangerous for both men and women. Belly fat in both sexes has been linked with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, diabetes and, in women, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
This simple test helps assess the risks in your shape. Measure your waist and your hips at their widest point, then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. Say your waist is 64 cm and your hips are 92 cm. 64 divided by 92 gives a ratio of 0.7.
Because women’s hips are usually wider than men’s, their ratios will be lower. Men should have a ratio of 0.9 or less, while women should have a ratio of 0.8 or less.
SIDEBAR: BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)
To diagnose obesity, which is a major risk factor in many diseases, physicians calculate your Body Mass Index. To work it out yourself, just divide your weight by the square of your height. Say you are 1.7 m tall and weigh 60 kg. First calculate the square of your height by multiplying 1.7 by 1.7, which equals 2.89. Then divide 60 by 2.89 to arrive at a BMI of 21.
A BMI of 30, which is defined as obesity in both sexes, can increase your biological age by 3-7 years. Males with a BMI of 27.8 and females with a BMI of 27.3 are considered overweight, which is enough to boost biological age by up to 2 years.
For more information on healthy ageing, visit www.krisabbey.com