Once believed to be mainly down to our genes, scientists now know that 75% of ageing is down to our lifestyles, with only 25% determined by genetics. This is good news, as it empowers us! It means that we have much more influence over the ageing process than previously thought. Lets have a look at the measures you can take to help yourself grow old more gracefully.
Stress along with smoking and being overweight are the top three factors that affect how quickly we age. Avoiding stress altogether is not realistic, but anything that can help us deal with it better will have anti-ageing benefits. Meditation is proven to lower stress hormone levels, while increasing production of happy chemical serotonin and sleep hormone melatonin, leading to happier days and more restful nights. Regular meditation brings the body into a beneficial state of balance and harmony. In this state cellular healing and repair can take place and the harmful effects of stress on the body will dissipate. For more information on the benefits of meditation click here.
Think As If You’re Still 20 Years Old
In the 1980s scientist Ellen Langer carried out some interesting research involving a group of 75-year-old men who were asked to dress, talk and act like they were 20 years younger. Amazing things happened! After just one week there were improvements in their strength, flexibility, posture, memory and even eyesight and hearing. Tell yourself every morning in front of the mirror that you are young and full of vitality and see the benefits for yourself.
Try New Things
We tend to fall into routines as we get older and get ‘set in our ways’. Trying new things, taking risks and pushing boundaries are proven to keep the mind working and to increase well being. Learning a new skill actually changes the structure of the brain, helping it to form new connections between cells and resulting in better functioning. Learning a musical instrument or a language are particularly good at stimulating new brain connections.
This also applies to your diet as eating the same foods every day means you are more likely to miss out on key nutrients; variety is one of the cornerstones of a balanced diet. Try picking up one new healthy food (fruit, vegetable, pulse, nut, seed or wholegrain) each week in your weekly shop.
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind healthy and to prevent weight gain and muscle loss. Muscle mass reduces as we age – the muscles literally shrink from the age of 30 onwards and are replaced by fat. Dancing is one of the best ways to reduce this effect and way more fun than the gym! Dancing also improves flexibility and balance, both important factors to maintain as we get older. Yoga is also fantastic as it increases strength, agility and balance as well as reducing stress and having anti-ageing effects on a cellular level.
Exercise also keeps the mind healthy; people over 65 who take regular moderate exercise reduce their risk of dementia by a third. From the age of 40 onwards there is a natural shrinkage of the brain, and by the age of 70 it has reduced by whopping 20%. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to help slow this down. Daily walking has been shown to increase neurone survival and growth of new neurones in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain related to memory and learning. So dig those trainers out and get outside!
One of the most anti-ageing things you can do is to get a good night’s sleep. Collagen production takes place when we are asleep, rebuilding and repairing body tissues such as skin, muscle and bones. In fact, the majority of cellular healing and repair in general takes place while we are sleeping, so is vital for good health. Sleep deprivation is known to impair insulin sensitivity and increase blood sugar levels leading to the formation of AGE (advanced glycation end products) in the body, which are substances that accelerate cellular ageing. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! For more information and tips on getting a good night’s sleep, click here.
Look after your Telomeres
Telomeres are the end caps of DNA, which get shorter as we age leading to cellular ageing. A 2014 study found that curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric may help prevent telomere shortening and could even promote their elongation. Turmeric can be added to curries, soups and even smoothies or taken as a supplement. Other factors that preserve telomere length are physical activity, meditation and getting plenty of vitamin D. Stress and inflammation on the other hand are known to cause telomere shortening. For information on inflammation and how to reduce it through your diet click here.
Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
Animal protein stimulates a hormone in the body, which is needed for growth. However, this same hormone accelerates ageing as we get older, so the less animal products eaten the less this hormone will have its ageing effects. You don’t have to go full vegan or veggie to get the benefits, cutting down on meat will give some benefit and making simple swaps like almond milk for cow’s milk all help. The less animal products you eat the more benefits you’ll gain. Nuts have been shown to have especially good anti-ageing powers, so include a handful a day as a healthy snack or as a porridge or muesli topping. For more on how to anti-age your diet, click here.
Top Anti-Ageing Foods
Sunflower Seeds – contain even more vitamin E than avocadoes and almonds (although these are great too!). Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which neutralises free radicals that cause damage to collagen, leading to wrinkles and dry skin.
Brazil Nuts – the best source of anti-ageing selenium, which is needed for the body’s antioxidant defence systems. Also supports thyroid and immune functions.
Sweet Potatoes – purple sweet potatoes contain anti-ageing anthocyanins, which protect blood vessels. If you can’t find these other purple foods such as blueberries, black grapes, blackberries, red cabbage and aubergines also contain anthocyanins.
Green Tea – potent source of antioxidants, also increases metabolism and protects the brain and memory
Drink Beauty & Go Skin Revive
Beauty & Go Skin Revive contains key anti-ageing ingredients collagen and hyaluronic acid to help compensate for the natural losses that occur as we age. MacroAntioxidants provide powerful protection against free radical damage and other anti-ageing ingredients include pomegranate, raspberries, resveratrol, selenium and vitamin E.