10 Ways to Stay Younger Longer | Body and Soul

Published May 7, 2010

(www.BlackDoctor.org) -- We have found the fountain of youth… Well the proverbial fountain of youth. As we grow older we have the tendency to worry about aging gracefully. We want to look and feel as young and vibrate as we did ten years ago. We may not be able to turn back the hands of time or slow down the clock, but we can slow down our aging process. Read the following ten tips to find out how you can stay younger longer.

1. Give yourself a break
Recent studies show that stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. Surges of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. These days, when our stressors seem unrelenting (a steady stream of job pressures, traffic jams, money problems), chronic doses of adrenaline and cortisol take a heavy toll on our physical and emotional health. The most effective way to halt this destructive chain of events is to meditate

Try it! Once or twice daily, for 10 to 20 minutes (yes, you do have the time, you just have to make it), sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, roll your head, neck, and shoulders, and breathe deeply. On each exhale, repeat your mantra. If other thoughts try to invade, "Oh, well," and return to your word or phrase. When you're done, keep your eyes closed for an extra minute and  slowly allow everyday thoughts to flow back into your mind.

Not into the idea of meditation? Do yoga, or something active and repetitive, like running, instead. Focus on your breathing and how your feet land with each stride.

2. Consume more fat
The healthy kind, that is. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, and seeds) help stabilize your mood, maintain bone strength, and help prevent visible signs of aging by reducing inflammation in the body. Omega-3s also boost the ability of the body's enzymes to pull fat out of storage, from your hips and use it as energy. Omega-3s keep you healthy and your skin radiant.

3. Get off the couch
Not only does regular exercise help you lose weight, tone muscles, build healthier bones, and boost mood, it can also help you think clearly. Walking for just 10 minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer's by 40 percent. Physical conditioning reduces stress and anxiety, which wipe out your memory bank.

4. Feel the love
Anyone who's ever fallen head over heels or discovered an activity that makes them eager to jump out of bed in the morning knows that passion is a powerful drug. The ability to embrace life boosts self-esteem, fuels the immune system, and improves cardiovascular health.

5. Drink red wine
Last fall, a groundbreaking study showed that mice on a high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of grapes, had longer average lifespans than those not given the resveratrol. According to the study's co-lead researcher Rafael de Cabo, PhD, of the National Institute on Aging, resveratrol clearly reduced the risk of diabetes and liver problems in mice, leading to a significant decline in obesity-related deaths. But here's the catch: "You'd have to drink 180 bottles of red wine a day to get the same benefits," says Dr. Roizen.

Researchers are working now to improve the potency of resveratrol in order to develop a pill that contains the optimum amount of the substance. In the meantime, there's plenty of evidence that a little red wine can offset a host of health problems. A new animal study from Johns Hopkins University suggested that red wine can diminish brain damage caused by stroke by as much as 40 percent. And research released last year showed that grape-seed procyanidins, found in red wine, helps reduce arterial clogging, resulting in lower blood-cholesterol levels and a reduction in deaths from heart disease.

6. Do yoga
More energy, better posture, greater flexibility, improved mood, and less stress are just some of the rewards of this mind-body workout. Yoga means 'union' in Sanskrit. Through conscious yoga breathing, you become aware of the connection between mind and body. That translates into major anti-aging advantages. Yogic breathing has been shown to oxygenate the cells, ridding them of toxins, helping prevent illness, and making skin radiant. Unlike other exercises, says Lee, yoga poses are designed to work the inside of your body as well as the outside, which helps rejuvenate the digestive system, the reproductive system, even the immune system.

7. Bite into a superfruit
There's a good reason we're hearing so much about pomegranates these days. Pomegranate juice has been found to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, possibly delay the onset of atherosclerosis, and potentially help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease; researchers believe it may also help prevent some forms of cancer from starting or progressing. Pomegranates can also protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays, according to a study published last March.

8. Sip green tea
The health buzz about this brew keeps getting stronger: Last year, green tea was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer and prevent remissions, and now it's being tested as a way to help prevent bladder, colorectal, and lung cancer recurrence. Green tea is an amazing compound in terms of blocking the signaling network that is linked with the progression of cancer. It's also an effective weight-management agent because it appears to rev up metabolism. A Japanese study published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking at least one cup a day can help keep your brain sharp as you get older.

9. Slather your skin with supplements
Retinol, a type of vitamin A (and a nonprescription, weaker-strength relative of Retin-A), is considered the most effective over-the-counter treatment to smooth the skin and prevent wrinkles. Retinols cause the skin to gently peel, revealing a silkier, rosier, and suppler layer. Alpha lipoic acid is a wonderful anti-aging mechanism. It has been shown to reduce fine lines, improve skin texture, tighten pores, and give skin a general radiance.

Another powerful age-defying ingredient is madecassol, or madecassoside (found in La Roche-Posay's Redermic, available at select CVS locations), an Asian plant extract that helps plump the skin, minimize fine lines, and restore a youthful glow. Madecassol has been used in France for decades to help heal scars and wounds. European studies have also found that it helps diminish wrinkles, restores firmness to skin, and hydrates skin cells.

10. Do mental aerobics
A study published in last December's Journal of the American Medical Association shows that brain exercises can prevent cognitive decline, and the benefits can last for as many as five years. In his own research, Dr. Small has found that a two-week program of mental training can actually rewire the brain. "We've seen evidence on brain scans that memory improves," he says.

Try it! Strengthen your mind every day by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or other brain games.

Written by De'Laney Rowland, BDO Staff Writers

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