09 Jul The Science of Ageing & Anti-Ageing: How We Stay Young
Growing older is technically inevitable, and as we stare this troublesome fact down and ponder how to do it as gracefully (and beautifully!) as possible, there is a little nugget of scientific novelty that may provide an empowering perspective that will inspire you to up your ante.
Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean ageing at a uniform pace for everyone. You may not know this, but there is a magical thing called your biological age, which is different to your chronological age, and you have the power to twinkle a wand over that age if you so choose.
Biological age is the age of your physical body and various organs, as opposed to the time since your birthday. Your commitment to living your life well can make a huge difference to your biological age and for that, there is a wealth of body-loving wisdom in Mother Nature’s luscious longevity larder. Let’s take a peek.
Eat your Veggies
It’s hard to avoid saying you are what you eat here, but there you have it. Your body needs the best building materials possible so it can renew itself. It stands to reason that for a vibrant youthful body, we need to eat living food, food that is alive with earth love and energy for our spirit and holistically brimming with interdependent nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and phytochemicals for our body.
The closer your food is to still growing, the better. Fresh organic natural fruits and vegetable are food the way nature intended, and our bodies have evolved to recognize these foods and know what to do with them. You don’t get more alive food than still-growing sprouts for a start. Sprouts may sound a bit lentil curtain-ish but add a totally delish touch sprinkled salads, sandwiches, soups and rice dishes to name a few.
Eating healthy organic food doesn’t have to be boring, there are some super-yummy superfood options around such as cacao, avocados, berries and nuts, and even organic red wine (in moderation of course!) has its place amongst the super anti-ageing agents.
There is no need to crave deadweights such as processed food, unhealthy fats and destabilizing processed sugar, when there are so many mouthwatering, life-enhancing options. As a matter of fact, as you gradually feed your body what it really needs, your unhealthy age-inducing cravings may just go AWOL.
And those cravings for fat? There are plenty of delicious health-giving oils and nut butters your body and skin will adore. Healthy cold-pressed oils are laden with Omega fatty acids and antioxidants that revitalise and moisturise your skin, and also create a protective barrier against the elements. They are skin food for both the inside and out and can vastly improve signs of skin ageing. Healthy fats can actually help you lose weight and promote a youthful body by balancing hormones, improving metabolism and reducing cravings. They are also rich in vitamins like A, D, E and K and help your body lubricate properly.
Superfoods & Supplements
For a more targeted approach, when you really want to give your body that added youthful pizzazz, superfoods and antioxidant supplements are Mother Nature’s answer to plastic surgery.
With the array of amazing gadgets available, creating a super-juice cocktail or delicious smoothie makes it easy to add the extreme nourishment of superfoods like Maca, Hemp or Baobab powder to potent raw and fresh fruit and veggie juices. Or just take them as a supplement.
Natural good quality supplements do have their place, and are a convenient way to up your antioxidants. Vitamin C is absolutely a godsend for the immune system and skin, while grapeseed extract is a miraculous, powerful antioxidant option for combating free radicals, protecting connective tissue, keeping your heart, skin and brain healthy. Vitamin A is another one that loves skin youth by increasing cell turnover and is an essential for eye health. (Take a look at our selection of antioxidants here.).
In traditional Chinese medicine the gut is seen as the center of bodily life and social relations. Your solar plexus is also where you feel your personal power, so keeping yourself and your tummy empowered go hand in hand. Gut ecology is complex and keeping a healthy balanced ecology in your tummy can go a long way to sprucing up your entire system.
Did your mother ever tell you to chew your food properly? Digestion begins in the mouth already and wolfing down food is not the best way to make sure you get the most out of even the most nutritious bite imaginable.
Practically all cultures have some form of fermented or cultured food, whether it be sauerkraut, kombucha or yoghurt, and there is a reason for this. Properly fermented and cultured foods keep our stomach flora in balance and promote a healthy digestive system.
And of course, don’t forget all important fibre, found in the skins of fruit and vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and rolled oats and legumes like dried beans and peas. Fibre helps keep out tummy moving and also makes us feel full for longer.
It has been shown that our digestive systems act as a kind of second brain, having a huge impact on our emotional wellbeing by secreting neurochemicals in much the same way the brain does. So give your tummy some happy food for a happy mood!
Water is the essence of life – about 60% of your body is water. Water does so much in your body, cleansing, carrying and hydrating things like your skin and it’s even essential for breathing properly. Drinking pure good quality water is big on the list of staying youthful and healthy. Whether you use a good water filter or visit your local spring to collect precious living water, pure water is Mother Earth’s liquid love.
It’s a simple as turning off the lights, falling asleep and letting your body get on with it, right? While you are off in dreamland, your body is in a process of deep repair and even before your head hits the pillow your body has been receiving information that tells it to start a complex process leading into its nightly repair job. From where? Mother Nature of course. Our bodies evolved directly in tune with the rhythms of the earth and our modern electricity-based lifestyles tend to ignore this. Artificial blue-toned lighting just before bed, as well as lack of total darkness, has been found to interfere with the body’s natural sleep hormone melatonin. The hormones your body secretes during sleep are crucial to your body’s repair, immune system and mental health. Orange-toned lights such as we see at sunset or had around our campfire in the distant past signals our body to prepare for sleep. So for sleep that really recharges you, try avoid looking at your cellphone and computer just before you go to bed. You can also use warmer more orange-toned lighting in your bedroom.
Use it or lose it. Moving and using your body, tells it you need it to perform physically and so it’ll direct some focus and effort to toning and building a healthy and flexible bod you can swan about in.
Working up a sweat is a good way to help your body release built up toxins and stress, whether you do martial arts, jog, swim, shake your booty or strike some yoga poses, using your body will not only strengthen it, but feed your spirit too.
Stress is a major factor in ageing, it can throw your entire neurochemistry out of whack. Apart from exercise, de-stress by doing things that give you some down time and help you process your emotions, whether it be a walk in nature, listening to music, playing an instrument, painting or meditating. Body therapies such as a therapeutic massage can also help you release stress and “defrag” your system in a safe environment. At the center of your complex life-force, is love. Staying flexible in both your body and mind by letting go of stagnant emotions and finding ways to relieve stress, allows more loving life-force to flow through and renew you.
Spend Time in Nature
Connecting with your life-force happens naturally when you connect with the earth and walking in nature, in particular barefoot, has been found to have wonderful effects for our bodies as we connect to mother’s electromagnetic field with our sole and souls!
Our breath is the how we infuse your bodies with life-giving oxygen from minute to minute. Take a couple of nice deep full breaths regularly, using your whole diaphragm, and see how all your organs and skin respond with renewed vitality
The flow of life is about interacting and loving. Good friends and loving interactions have a beneficial effect on our bodies too. Allow yourself time to relax, share and laugh and spread the love, do a good deed, it’ll be sure to show in your radiant happy smile and face and make your life more fun. More fun and joy means a happier, youthful spirit to give your body the love it deserves.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind” – Bruce Lee
You are as young as you feel. Staying flexible in both body and spirit will keep you changing and evolving – and that means renewal – the secret to staying young.