Here, experts explain how to maintain a youthful appearance and state of health while enhancing cognitive function, reducing stress, and maintaining healthy skin.
People respond differently when they see new occurrences like grey hairs or a few tiny wrinkles. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with feeling or appearing a little older, and it may be satisfying to celebrate those changes—after all, those smile lines are evidence that you are leading a happy life. But if you want to live longer and remain mentally fresh for years to come, follow these methods recommended by experts for appearing and feeling young.
Take a Self-Care Break
According to studies, stress alters the physical makeup of the body and speeds up aging. The chemical surges of cortisol and adrenaline raise blood pressure and quicken the heartbeat. Chronic levels of adrenaline and cortisol may have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health today, when stresses appear to be persistent (a constant stream of work demands, traffic jams, and financial troubles).
According to Herbert Benson, M.D., author of The Relaxation Response and founder and former director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Boston, “sixty to ninety percent of all doctors’ visits each year are related to anxiety, depression, obsessive anger and hostility, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart attacks—aall problems caused by stress.”
Meditation, which activates what Dr. Benson refers to as “the relaxation response,” is the most efficient approach to stopping this harmful cycle of events. The method involves repeating a mantra for as little as 10 minutes each day. A mantra might be a word, sound, phrase, or prayer.
What to do: Sit quietly for 10 to 20 minutes, once or twice a day, and take deep breaths while rolling your head, neck, and shoulders and relaxing your muscles. Say your slogan out loud as you exhale. Dr. Benson advises telling yourself, “Oh, well,” when other ideas attempt to take over and going back to your word or phrase. Keep your eyes closed for one more minute once you’re finished, then gradually let regular ideas return to your head. Still have reservations about meditation? Instead, do yoga or an energetic, repetitive activity (like mindful running). Get your to-do list out of your thoughts, advises Dr. Benson, and concentrate on your breathing and how your feet land with each step.
Take in more fat.
the wholesome variety, that is. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, and seeds), according to Nicholas Perricone, M.D., a renowned expert on healthy ageing and the author of 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity, help stabilize your mood, maintain bone strength, and help prevent visible signs of ageing by reducing inflammation in the body.”Omega-3s also increase the body’s enzymes’ capacity to release stored fat (for example, from your hips) and use it as energy.” “Omega-3s keep you healthy and give you beautiful skin,” he claims.
What to do: According to Michael Roizen, M.D., head of the anesthesiology section at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, “almost every expert believes that you need two grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day.” He advises eating a lot of nuts and fatty seafood, particularly wild salmon (3 ounces provides 6.9 grams of fat per meal). Consider taking fish oil supplements if your diet doesn’t provide you with enough omega-3s. (See also: 11 high-fat foods you should include in your diet.)
Get to it!
Regular exercise may improve your mood, tone your muscles, create stronger bones, and help you think more clearly. The National Institute on Aging cites studies showing a link between physical activity and increased mental capacity. According to Gary Small, M.D., former head of the UCLA Longevity Center on Aging, “walking for only 10 minutes a day decreases your risk of Alzheimer’s by 40%.” Physical fitness, he claims, “reduces stress and worry, which destroy your memory bank.”
What to do: Schedule three 20-minute workouts per week. You may also dance, swim, ride, run, or do whatever it is that you find most enjoyable. (Read more: 2-Day Strength Training Workout)
Passion is a potent drug, as anybody who has ever experienced love at first sight or found a hobby that gets them out of bed in the morning can attest. It is the primary driver of all human behavior, according to Gail Sheehy, who said this in her book Sex and the Seasoned Woman. The capacity to embrace life promotes cardiovascular health, immunological function, and self-esteem. Since getting it on causes the production of oxytocin, sometimes known as the “love hormone,” which has been found to lessen feelings of tension and anxiety, passion in bed may be especially advantageous.
What to do: Strive to avoid solitude and boredom at all costs. With your companion, rekindle the fires. Or fall in love with something new via a mental or physical endeavor: Start a jogging program, join a reading group, or take up painting. Do whatever gives you a sense of vigor and joy.
Consume red wine in moderation.
According to ground-breaking research, mice fed a high-fat diet and supplemented with the antioxidant resveratrol, which is contained in grape skin, lived longer on average than mice who weren’t given the resveratrol. Resveratrol, according to the study’s co-author, Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging, decreased the risk of diabetes and liver issues in mice, which resulted in a substantial drop in fatalities attributed to obesity. The only problem is that, according to Dr. Roizen, “you’d have to consume 180 bottles of red wine a day to obtain the same advantages.”
That’s obviously an unreasonable quantity to drink, but there is plenty of proof that a little bit of red wine may help with a variety of health issues. According to Johns Hopkins University animal research, red wine may reduce the brain damage brought on by stroke by as much as 40%. According to another study, red wine’s grape-seed procyanidins assist in preventing artery blockage, which lowers blood cholesterol levels and lowers the number of heart-related fatalities. Just keep in mind that just because researchers discovered these effects in mice doesn’t always guarantee that they will occur in people.
Steps to take: Pour yourself a glass of red wine, but for your health, stick to the most recent American Medical Association alcohol consumption recommendations and limit yourself to one glass (5 ounces) each day.
The benefits of this mind-body exercise include increased energy, better posture, more flexibility, an improved mood, and less stress. The OM yoga method’s founder, Cyndi Lee, explains that the Sanskrit word for yoga is “unity.” “You become aware of the link between mind and body via mindful yoga breathing,” she continues. That results in significant bodily benefits: Research that was published in the International Journal of Yoga suggests that yoga breathing might aid in reducing tension and anxiety. Another study showed that elite swimmers’ lungs performed better when they regularly practiced yogic breathing.
What makes this method distinctive? According to Lee, yoga positions are designed to work the inside of the body as well as the exterior, which revitalizes the reproductive system, the immune system, and even the digestive system. “It’s like wringing out a washcloth with yoga.” “One of the most effective methods to keep things going,” she claims
What to do: Lee advises practicing yoga or other mind-body exercises at least twice a week to raise your energy levels, support bone growth, and reduce stress.
Consume a super fruit.
The excitement around pomegranates is legitimate. Pomegranate juice has been shown to decrease cholesterol and blood pressure, perhaps postpone the beginnings of atherosclerosis, and possibly help lessen the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, certain types of cancer may be prevented from beginning or advancing, according to the study. Pomegranates may help protect the skin from UV rays.
The goji berry, a fruit that is indigenous to Asia and is thought to be a rich source of carotenoids, an advantageous form of antioxidant, is another possible superfruit. According to Dr. Perricone, this little nutritional powerhouse also includes more iron than spinach, 18 amino acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E. According to him, the goji berry encourages the production of human growth hormone, a hormone produced naturally by the body that helps you appear younger, sleep better, lose weight, improve memory, increase libido, and strengthen the immune system.
What to do: Snack on some dried goji berries all day long. Dr. Perricone suggests purchasing Tibetan products if at all feasible since they have high serum levels. Moreover, sip pomegranate juice. Don’t like the flavor? Dr. Perricone advises purchasing it as a concentrate and adding a tablespoonful each day to kefir (or plain yoghurt).
Sip Green Tea
The health appeal of this beverage continues to grow.The possibility of green tea lowering the risk of cancer has been the subject of dozens of studies, with varied but encouraging outcomes. According to Amy Yee, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at Tufts University, “green tea is a remarkable molecule in terms of inhibiting the signalling network that is related to the spread of cancer.” A Japanese study indicated that consuming at least one cup of coffee daily may help keep your brain sharp as you age, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
What to do: Yee advises drinking two or three glasses per day for the best health results.
Include Supplements in Your Skin Care Routine
If your major concern is how to maintain a youthful appearance, here is a brief response: The skin, the biggest organ in the body, is the body portion that displays ageing symptoms the most. Building up your antioxidant levels and maintaining proper levels of vitamins A, C, D, and E are the most crucial sun protection measures you can take, according to Jennifer Landa, M.D., chief medical officer of BodyLogicMD. “Consuming a lot of organic produce with vibrant colors helps increase levels of these vitamins.” “These powerful vitamins act as the body’s natural sunscreen, preventing skin ageing and skin cancer,” she explains.
According to David Colbert, M.D., founder of the New York Dermatology Group in New York City, retinol, a kind of vitamin A (and a nonprescription, less potent cousin of Retin-A), is thought to be the most efficient over-the-counter therapy to smooth the skin and prevent wrinkles. A silkier, rosier, and more supple layer of skin is revealed as a result of retinols’ gentle skin-peeling effect. Alpha-lipoic acid, a strong antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body, is a further advantageous component, according to Dr. Perricone. He claims that alpha-lipoic acid is an excellent anti-aging mechanism. It has been shown to lessen fine wrinkles, enhance skin luminosity, tighten pores, and improve skin texture.
Madecassol (or madecassoside), an Asian plant extract that helps plump the skin, reduce fine wrinkles, and restore a youthful glow, is another potent component, according to Dr. Colbert. In France, madecassol has been used for many years to aid in the wound and scar healing process. Additionally, it helps to reduce wrinkles, restore skin firmness, and hydrate skin cells, according to European research.
What to do: Look for retinol-containing skin products. Applying vitamin C serum beneath moisturiser and makeup is another effective strategy to assure cell turnover, safeguard your skin from free radicals, and promote collagen formation, according to Dr. Colbert. Finally, to protect yourself from UVA and UVB radiation, which may lead to photoaging and skin cancer, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.
Use mental exercises.
According to research that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, brain workouts may delay cognitive deterioration for up to five years. A two-week programmed of mental training may really reorganise the brain, according to Dr. Small’s own studies. According to brain imaging studies, “memory improves,” he claims.
What to do: Exercise your brain every day by doing crossword puzzles and sudoku using a smartphone app or a paper version.
Putting sleep first
Consistently obtaining bad sleep has a negative influence on your health in addition to making you feel weary. Inadequate sleep increases your chance of acquiring diabetes and cardiovascular illness, according to research from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. More crucially, though, it may shorten your life expectancy. One example: According to the Harvard study, sleeping five or fewer hours each night may raise mortality risk by as much as 15%. This was discovered when data from three studies was analyzed.
For the demographic in their middle years, this is especially crucial. Those who reported sleeping seven to eight and a half hours per night on average may anticipate living 19.1 years “in excellent health” between the ages of 50 and 75, according to a 2019 survey of more than 55,000 participants. In contrast, people who slept for more than nine hours should anticipate 16.6 healthy years at that time, while those who slept for fewer than seven hours may expect to live for 18. Yes, sleeping for 8 to 9 hours or more is associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, according to research.
What to do: Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. (And pick up one of these sleep books, or all of them, to learn how to get peaceful zzzs.)
Investigate the Mediterranean diet.
According to 2014 research published in the BMJ, the Mediterranean diet may help safeguard your telomeres, DNA sequences that reside at the ends of chromosomes and guard them from harm, in addition to boosting heart health, lowering the risk of cancer, and delaying cognitive decline. Telomere length is regarded as an ageing biomarker: shorter telomeres are associated with a lower life expectancy and a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.While telomere length generally shortens with age, the researchers found that oxidative stress and inflammation may accelerate this shortening.
But adhering to a Mediterranean diet might mitigate such harm. According to a BMJ study of over 4,600 healthy, middle-aged, and older women, longer telomeres were “substantially related” to higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet.One possible explanation is that the main components of the Mediterranean diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which means they may guard against oxidative stress and inflammation, which may shorten telomeres. (FYI, exercising may also extend your telomeres.)
Fill up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, unrefined grains, and seafood. Cook using olive oil rather than butter or vegetable oil. Limit your intake of dairy and meat. You may ease into the eating pattern with the aid of this Mediterranean diet meal plan, and if you’re still hungry, add these delicious Mediterranean diet dishes to your weekly menu.