“Are You Aging Well” was also featured in New York Lifestyles Magazine.
People often wonder how at the age of 66 I manage to have the physical health and appearance of someone at least twenty years younger. It is not something I attribute to luck or simply good genes. Our habits, food intake, the way we exercise, handle stress, and our professional life can cause our genes to be turned on or stay dormant. The science of epigenetics explains this and can be the result of good health or potentially illness depending on the choices we make. Turning on and off gene expression in some ways is a state of controlled aging. You’re not just rolling the dice, nor should you leave your health in someone else’s hands with acceptance. Let’s first examine the work that needs to be done regarding mental health and attitude when it comes to aging.
A positive attitude is undoubtedly a reason why people look better and tend to live longer. When you are in a good mental state, you are more conscious about the decisions you make. You are less likely to look for food or alcohol for comfort. You will sleep better at night because you are not upset or worried. Caring for your body will help strengthen your immune system, energy levels, and physical capabilities.
Think about the flipside when you’re not in a great mental place and can’t seem to maintain balance. Often we see those struggling with obesity from not watching their diet or lacking the motivation to exercise. They are not sleeping well because the mind is clogged with negative thoughts. Additionally smoking, drinking or abusing drugs (even prescription) are being used to deal with life’s curveballs. Walking around unhappy also leads to looking older because of frowning, thinning of hair from stress and many more unwanted aesthetic issues. The other factors that lead to aging correlate to what is happening on a cellular level.
GLYCATION AND AGE’S
When glucose sugar binds to and inhibits DNA proteins and lipids, this process creates inflammation and forms Advanced Glycation End products. These (AGE’s) leave us at risk for diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular problems, and premature aging. The Western diet is full of AGE’s ranging from foods high in sugar to anything that is barbecued, charred or browned. Dark soft drinks like Coca Cola (even if artificially sweetened or other sugar alternatives) are problematic for this reason.
It’s everywhere: Radiation, cigarette smoke, air toxins, sun damage, processed foods and unclean water can lead to oxidation and free radical damage. Luckily some foods and supplements help to reduce these dangerous forms of oxygen. By adding more foods high in sulfur, you will be able to better detoxify. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage are a great addition to your diet. Additionally, supplements such as N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), B-12, Selenium as well as anti-oxidants like vitamins C and E should be considered.
Telomeres are a part of our cells that affect how our cells age. They protect our DNA, make it possible for cells to divide, and can even determine if we will get diseases like cancer. Ideally, we want them to be longer to defend us. Over time, telomeres decrease as we age and make it worse with stress, poor diet, smoking and lack of exercise.
When you think about aging, it’s much more than just a reflection of your physical appearance (such as fine lines or gray hair). Making the right lifestyle changes will dictate the quality of your days and your potential to have a very long lifespan.