If you want to look and feel young, it is essential to have an anti-aging strategy. I'm not talking about harsh facelifts or exotic drug cocktails. Exciting research has revealed natural and effective ways to stay physically active, mentally sharp and younger looking well into your golden years. Here, I will review my top strategies to fight aging in every aspect of your life, from the food you eat to the ingredients that may help keep you young.
If you already take a multi vitamin, it may be time to upgrade your supplement to better target your anti-aging concerns. One new ingredient receiving much attention lately is ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG). Made from the amino acids, ornithine and glutamine, OKG can stimulate tissue and muscle growth in the body. In times of trauma or stress, the body may not make enough of these amino acids on its own. Taking OKG as a supplement may help preserve muscle and regenerate aging tissue.
Another star ingredient is mucuna pruriens. This plant has several bioactive compounds as well as L-dopa, which is essential for the production of dopamine in the body. Dopamine works with the nervous system and is vital for optimal brain function. It also prevents muscle tremors. In addition to helping your body make dopamine, L-dopa may also support the body's ability to release growth hormone. As a tool for healthy aging, the brain, muscle and growth support from mucuna pruriens is highly promising.
Eat to Reach 100
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as an anti-aging diet. Plus, you don't have to spend a fortune on exotic foods to get big benefits. Many diseases that strike as you age are caused by oxidative stress, or the accumulation of too many free radicals in the body. Free radicals are oxygen particles that can damage tissues and cause inflammation on the cellular level. To prevent oxidative stress, research points to the power of antioxidants.
One class of antioxidants called phytonutrients scrub free radicals from your body so cells stay healthy and disease free. To get an ample supply of antioxidants, eat a diet loaded with colorful fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens, bright orange veggies and fresh or frozen berries are just a few choices that studies prove are particularly high in antioxidants. Virtually all types of fruit and vegetables have benefits. Other antioxidant-rich foods include nuts, legumes and whole grains.
We all want to stay fit and active as we age, but for most of us, looking young is important too. Just as antioxidants can fight aging from the inside, they can also smooth lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone on the outside. The skincare industry has identified the most powerful antioxidants for topical use, and you can find them in creams and serums designed to target every individual need. Look for products with pomegranate, coffeeberry, idebenone and green tea.
Antioxidants may help repair aging skin, but even more important is protecting your skin with sunscreen. Look for sun products labeled "broad spectrum," which means they protect you from both UVB and UVA rays. UVB is primarily responsible for skin cancer and UVA causes the photo-aging that we know in the form of wrinkles and sun spots. Wear sunscreen everyday, rain or shine, and reapply before going out for lunch or driving home from work.
Age-Proof Your Brain
Along with a healthy body and younger-looking appearance, you'll need to keep your brain sharp and agile as you age. Research shows one of the best ways to do this is by playing games. Almost anything goes. Crosswords and sudoku have been touted as mental boosters, but scrabble, card games and computer games may also exercise your brain. When new neural pathways and connections are formed on a regular basis, your brain stays quick and flexible.
Certain foods can help your brain too. Studies have shown that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reduce the risk of dementia in aging people. The ability of these nutrients to fight inflammation is thought to be the reason for this benefit. To get plenty of these nutrients, eat fatty fish like wild salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines at least two times a week and add walnuts and flax seeds to your diet. Following a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes less red meat and more plant foods, has also been shown to lower risk of dementia.
Now that you've read up on the latest anti-aging news, it's time to put your own plan into action. Talk to your doctor about your personal goals and concerns and use my strategies as a starting point. It is possible to look, feel and think like a young person as you age if you take these positive steps today!
Mark Rosenberg, MD
Institute For Healthy Aging