A growing number of studies have found that what you eat, how frequently, and how much may have an effect on the quality and years of life. Of particular interest has been calorie restriction.
Researches have shown that around 40 percent fewer calories than the usual diet have a positive effect on diseases, age markers, and even life span.1 So what seems clear is that the quality and quantity of the food we eat has a large impact not only on our health but also on our aging.
Take up these simple steps to naturally slow aging. You can also check out our ayurvedic guideline to prevent premature aging.
Diet To Naturally Slow Aging
1. Vitamins B6/B12
Take 100–200 milligrams each of vitamins B6 and B12 daily to reduce cortisol and increase the levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps ease depression and anxiety.2
Broccoli contains a high amount of isothiocyanates, a cancer-fighting compound. Isothiocynates work by turning on cancer-fighting genes and turning off others that feed on the disease.
You don’t need to eat large amounts of these veggies to take advantage of their health benefits either. Studies have shown that men who eat more than one portion of cruciferous vegetables a week are at lower risk of prostate cancer.3
Lavender, a natural relaxant, helps keep cortisol levels stable and smells amazing. Use this essential oil in the bath or rub it on to your face and body, or tuck a sachet of the dried flower under your pillow.4
5. Wild-Caught Fish
These provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats to slow the aging process. The wild Alaskan salmon contains high levels of vitamin D and astaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that help fight signs of aging.6
6. Whey Protein
The best way to increase and maintain your GSH levels is to make sure your diet includes foods (such as animal foods and eggs) rich in the sulfur amino acids that your cells need to synthesize glutathione.
This has been shown to increase your body’s antioxidant glutathione, or GSH, content. Glutathione is known to increase the integrity of telomeres, which are bundles of DNA found in every cell that shorten with age. Researchers suspect that this is due to the damage by free radicals.
Free radicals play a role in DNA mutations, and there is evidence that mutations in your telomeres can cause larger than normal chunks to be lost during cell division.
7. Green Leafy Vegetables
Kale, swiss chard, beet greens, and spinach provide important nutrients to support bone health, eye health, and even prevent cancer. Spirulina provides high levels of antioxidants, including polythenols. This super antioxidant is a powerhouse weapon against premature aging.7
Take 2 drops of frankincense internally daily in water to slow the aging process; you can also use a homemade natural anti-aging serum before bedtime. But make sure to consult with your doctor before doing this.
Blueberries are low in sugar, but it’s still best to eat them in moderation to keep your insulin levels from spiking.
A study published by Tufts University showed that anthocyanins (the pigments that give them their deep color) in blueberries appear to combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of aging. Anthocyanins also aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.
And as with all fruits and vegetables, try to buy organic. Other varieties of berries like cherries, acai, black raspberries, strawberry, and cranberry also have powerful healing and disease-prevention properties.
Steps To Avoid Aging
1. Stop Drinking Sodas
All colas, whether diet or regular, contain phosphates, or phosphoric acid, a weak acid that can lead to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis. It could also trigger accelerated aging.
A study published in the FASEB journal found that the excessive phosphate levels found in sodas causes lab rats to die a full five weeks earlier than the rats whose diets had more normal phosphate levels.
2. Wear Less Makeup
A 2013 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that paraben chemicals, commonly used in personal care products and pharmaceuticals, act as estrogenic hormone disruptors, throwing normal female fertility into a premature aging process.
Women with higher urine levels of parabens experienced changes in ovarian functioning on par with accelerated aging of eggs. To find safer personal care products and rate the ones you already use, visit Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
3. Stop Sugar
A lifetime of over indulgence in sugar may eventual show up on your face in the form of early wrinkles. The culprit is the natural process called glycation, where sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, known in short, ironically, as AGEs.
Eating more sugar—straight-up added sugars like the tablespoons you dump into your coffee every morning, or the sugars hiding in your “healthy” salad dressing and bar yogurt—causes AGEs to build up and beat up nearby proteins.
The most vulnerable to damage are the protein fibers collagen and elastin, which keep your skin firm and elastic. Once they’re damaged, these fibers go from springy and resilient to dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, these age-related changes to the skin start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that.
4. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoke is one of the most potent aging products out there, thanks to its 4,000 potentical toxicants. Chronic exposure is linked to a slew of age-related diseases, including hardening of the arteries, pulmonary fibrosis, and other diseases.
5. Don’t Swap With e-Cigarettes
Resist the temptation to ease off of traditional cigarettes using electronic cigarettes. The aerosol devices are under Food and Drug Administration scrutiny for various health threats.
E-cigerettes often spew benzene, the same aging compound emitted from most scented candles. Carcinogens and reproductive toxins like formaldehyde, lead, cadmium, and nickel have also been detected in e-cig aerosols.
6. Stop Burning Scented Candles
Researchers from Trends in Molecular Medicine have discovered several probable “gerontogens,” environmental factors that speed up the aging process. And your favorite scented candle could be making you age faster than normal.
By burning paraffin wax or scented soy wax candles indoors, various cancer-causing, age-accelerating chemicals like benzene (dubbed a gerontogen) and toluene are released.
Most scented candles are made using paraffin wax and scented with synthetic fragrances, both of which are derived from petroleum. Toxic candle soot can linger for extended periods of time all around your house, even accumulating in your air filter. To avoid this, skip candles and simply open windows to fill your home with fresh air. When you do burn candles, make sure they are made of 100 percent beeswax with cotton wicks for much cleaner burning.
|↑1||Bordone, Laura, and Leonard Guarente. “Calorie restriction, SIRT1 and metabolism: understanding longevity.” Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 6, no. 4 (2005): 298-305.|
|↑2||Skarupski, Kimberly A., Christine Tangney, Hong Li, Bichun Ouyang, Denis A. Evans, and Martha Clare Morris. “Longitudinal association of vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12 with depressive symptoms among older adults over time.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 92, no. 2 (2010): 330-335.|
|↑3||Giovannucci, Edward, Eric B. Rimm, Yan Liu, Meir J. Stampfer, and Walter C. Willett. “A prospective study of cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 12, no. 12 (2003): 1403-1409.|
|↑4||Atsumi, Toshiko, and Keiichi Tonosaki. “Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva.” Psychiatry Research 150, no. 1 (2007): 89-96.|
|↑5||Nakagawa, Takako, Takako Yokozawa, Katsutoshi Terasawa, Seiji Shu, and Lekh Raj Juneja. “Protective activity of green tea against free radical-and glucose-mediated protein damage.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50, no. 8 (2002): 2418-2422.|
|↑6||MacLean, Catherine H., Amalia M. Issa, Sydne J. Newberry, Walter A. Mojica, Sally C. Morton, Rena Hasenfeld Garland, Lara G. Hilton, S. B. Traina, and Paul G. Shekelle. “Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary.” (2005).|
|↑7||Gupta, Sheetal, and Jamuna Prakash. “Studies on Indian green leafy vegetables for their antioxidant activity.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 64, no. 1 (2009): 39-45.|
|↑8||Choi, Oi-Sook, Mi-Hwa Kwon, Min-Kyu Kong, Soon-Hee Lee, Sung-Rye Gang, Pil-Sun Kim, and Young-Chul Kim. “Inhibition Effects of Frankincense Oil on Skin Aging (II): Focussed on Histological Observation.” Journal Environmental Toxicolog 23, no. 2 (1986): 129-138.|