We all want to look and feel younger—we especially want to look younger if we’re honest. But it’s all too often that in our attempts, we buy expensive creams and tinctures, which are often toxic, (or worse yet, actually inject poison directly into our face!) and in the end, it rarely does much good. Let’s do what we can and get to the cause! And in the process, look and feel younger.
Inflammation and Aging
Before we get into this, you’ve first got to understand that a major contributor to premature aging is inflammation. In fact, there’s a fun little term coined by longevity researchers they call “inflamm-aging” because of how detrimental inflammation is to your longevity—in how you look, feel and your lifespan.
Inflammation negatively affects mitochondrial function. These are the power plants of the cell. When they don’t work, you don’t have energy and you “feel old.”
Inflammation triggers hormonal changes (which has a huge impact on how you look and feel and can usher in things like early menopause or lowered testosterone—both signs of age.)
Inflammation triggers epigenetic modifications—something worth a whole post on its own—but essentially, it tells your DNA to turn on or off certain genes that contribute to how you look and feel.
So you really have to get rid of inflammation if you want to slow the aging process. And how do you do that?
Strategy 1: Change What You Eat
You have to get rid of…
- Refined sugar – Promotes a process called glycation. Glycation damages cells and causes wrinkles. It’s the top food that speeds aging in most people.
- Grains for the same reason – they turn to sugar as soon as you eat them. They also promote inflammation.
- Trans fats and hydrogenated oils – These processed fats promote inflammation which may lead to premature aging, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
- Alcohol – Although an occasional glass of red wine may be beneficial to your health (especially Dry Farm Wines), the overall consumption of alcohol is pro-inflammatory and speeds up the aging process.
- Artificial sugar and/or artificial ingredients and processed foods – There are too many chemicals to list that are bad for you in these types of foods. Many of them speed up the aging process. And some even make you look older as soon as you eat them. For example, eating high sodium foods causes water retention and gives your face a more ‘puffy’ look.
So if you want to look and feel younger, here’s what you SHOULD eat…
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E are incredibly powerful for slowing the aging process. They are instrumental in maintaining the integrity of your DNA (preserving telomere length).
- The best way to get Vitamin C is to eat colorful foods like organs, peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, and guava. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale also have quite a bit of Vitamin C.
- For Vitamin E, you can eat almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, sunflower seeds or butternut squash.
- Anti-oxidant-rich teas. Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea, and black tea contain antioxidants called polyphenols that protect your cells from free radical damage.
- Grass-fed proteins and wild-caught fish – These foods provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats to slow the aging process. They also provide high doses of Vitamin D and astaxanthin. These are both powerful antioxidants that help fight the signs of aging.
- Green Leafy Vegetables like Kale, swiss chard, beet greens, and spinach provide important nutrients to support bone health, eye health and even prevent cancer. Spirulina (a sea vegetable) provides high levels of antioxidants including polyphenols. This super anti-oxidant is a powerhouse weapon against pre-mature aging.
- Berries are full of powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins which help maintain muscle and may prevent cancer.
- Herbs like turmeric and garlic contain antioxidants and cleansing nutrients that can slow the aging process.
Strategy 2: Intermittent fasting
This is a pattern of eating that has been used for thousands of years. Rather than limiting calories, fasting limits the amount of time during the day that you eat. It is worth more your while to also change what you are eating, for example switching to no grains, sugars, and removing bad fats (see above).
Intermittent fasting includes the benefits of increasing your muscle mass while becoming leaner. It allows your hormones to become more sensitive and work for you, not against you.
The reason it makes you look and feel younger is that during this period every day in which you don’t eat, your body has time and energy to clear out toxins (rather than focusing on digestion). After a while, you will even enter a state called autophagy in which you start eating away and shedding old and damaged cells to make room for fresh, young cells. And yes, that includes your skin!
A typical intermittent fasting daily schedule would be that you consume all of your meals between 12pm and 6pm every day. It means that you will skip breakfast and only consume unsweetened coffee or tea during the fast. It is recommended to start out slow and do it once or twice per week and add one day every week to work your body up to it. The goal is to have 18 hours during a 24 hour period where you are not eating and your body is healing.
This allows your body to spend more energy on healing than digesting food multiple times a day. Within a matter of a few days, you should notice a huge difference in your energy levels and weight loss. Intermittent fasting is much easier than dieting and increases your life expectancy and reduces the risk of cancer!
Strategy 3: Stress management
Stress ages you. Look at photographs of Barack Obama in 2008, then just two years later. He had gone almost completely grey in just two years!
But it is also a well-studied phenomenon. A 2012 study published in the journal PLoS One found that stress related to work actually aged your DNA. A University of California at San Francisco study found that even thinking about things that stress you out over time is linked to premature aging. Stress has even been linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
So you’ve got to manage stress. This is an individual and unique process for every person, but some tips from the American Psychological Association are:
- Take a break from the stressor. This does not mean to shirk your obligations or just give up on whatever is stressful in your life. Things always need to be dealt with. But there are very few problems in life that won’t allow you a 20-minute break to do something else, get clarity, take some breaths and give yourself some perspective.
- Exercise. This is perhaps the most immediate stress reliever available. Just get your heart rate up, do something active and physical and you will absolutely feel better.
- Smile and laugh. This is proof of the “fake it ’till you make it” mantra. If you smile and laugh, even in the toughest times, you will find that you do feel better.
- Get social support. Talking and spending time with people who care about you is a fantastic way to reduce stress. Many of us are hesitant–out of pride or a feeling that we don’t want to bother others with our problems. But you would be surprised at how people in your life are more than willing to help when needed.
- Meditation and yoga. These are a matter of practice and consistency. But many studies confirm the major benefits of meditation and yoga for stress and many other areas of health and life.
Now, just as a bonus, I’m going to give you a secret anti-aging secret. If you do this, you will feel younger, look younger and be getting comments from friends and family within a matter of days.
Drink bone broth – One of the biggest contributors to that “old look” is a lack of collagen in the skin. Studies investigating the age-defending properties of collagen have found that 2.5–5 grams of collagen used among women aged 35–55 once daily for eight weeks supports skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness. At the end of only four weeks, those using collagen showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to those using a placebo with regard to skin moisture and skin evaporation, plus noticeable decreases in signs of accelerated aging, all with little to no side effects.
And you might be asking, “why not just take a collagen supplement? Why should I drink bone broth?”
The answer is that not only will you get collagen, but you’ll also get it quickly and directly. But more importantly, you will get a healthy dose of Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. If you remember from earlier, these are anti-inflammatories that fight the aging process.
Bone broth is very helpful in alleviating joint pain and promoting joint health—one of the biggest complaints about “getting older.”
Bone broth also helps detox you, which will slow the aging process, make you feel younger and look great. Not only does bone broth contain potassium and glycine—both instrumental in detoxifying the liver—it promotes the movement of waste through the intestines. It also coats the inner walls of your small intestine, which helps heal a leaky gut and lower inflammation and the risk of “Age-related” diseases. It’s really an anti-aging silver bullet.
Now get out there and get younger!