TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH AND REVERSE THE AGING PROCESS
While no one has figured out a way for humans to travel back in time, it is possible to help slow down and in some cases, reverse the aging process. The old adage, “you’re only as old as you feel” has never held more truth. Here are the best ways to hold onto your youth for life.
Working out just 30 minutes a day can help boost memory and keep your brain young.
Be Proactive with your Health Care
More than ever, people are realizing they shouldn’t blindly trust their healthcare provider when it comes to anti-aging and disease prevention. If you want forward-thinking care and prevention you have to do your own research. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, at least three-quarters of all Internet users look for health information online. And, one in nine people with a high-speed connection do some form of health research on most days. Just like there are good doctors, there are good ways to search the Net for information.
Unfortunately, most of us resort to “paging Dr. Google.” The Google search engine can sometimes find the best information, but it often defaults to Wikipedia and information from drug companies and major hospitals. If you’re going to get the best health information from the Internet, you have to know where to look. Talk to friends, your doctor and anyone you know who is looking for similar information to find out the sites they frequent. Or, you can take things one step further and try out PatientsLikeMe.com. The site has close to 120,000 members suffering from over 500 inflictions. It’s basically social networking for the sick. Patients Like Me allows you to document your condition and compare notes with other patients. It’s a great way to share health information.
Exercise Reverses the Aging Clock
We know that exercise is good for the brain. In the past few years, numerous studies have found that working out on a regular basis can actually create new brain cells. But can exercise actually reverse the aging clock? According to a new study from the University of South Carolina, the answer is yes! The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, looked at mice. (It’s reasonable to assume that the results would be the same for human brains.) Researchers placed one group of mice on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day. The other group of mice simply lounged in their cages. Unlike past studies, the researchers were not looking for new cells in the exercising mice.
Instead, they looked at existing brain cells to see if exercise strengthened those cells, similar to the way it strengthens muscles. The report found that after just two months of exercising, existing brain cells became stronger. The revitalized brain cells are more durable and resistant to mental fatigue. Working out just 30 minutes a day can help boost memory and keep your brain young. According to results, the added brain boost from regular exercise also plays a role the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Keep your Skin Youthful
If you’ve ever looked at the skin of a newborn baby and then analyzed your own pores, you’ll know exactly how dramatically the skin ages. “The sun is the biggest factor when it comes to aging skin,” says Dr. Lisa Kellet, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. If you want to stay youthful, you need to protect your skin from the sun. The best way to keep a youthful glow is to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside for longer than 15 minutes. Choosing a sunscreen, however, isn’t that easy.
All sunscreens are not created equally. Most sunscreens fare well when it comes to blocking UVB rays – the most superficially penetrating rays, responsible for giving us a suntan (or burn). UVB rays also contribute to skin cancer and aging. UVB protection is measured by Sun Protection Factor (SPF). “If you have a sunscreen with an SPF15, you can stay out in the sun for 15 times longer than you could without that sunscreen and not get a sun burn,” says Dr. Paul Cohen, a Toronto- based dermatologist. But SPF doesn’t protect you from UVA rays. “UVA rays penetrate deeper than UVB,” says Dr. Cohen.
Although they don’t physically tan or burn your skin, they are the primary rays responsible for premature aging and skin cancer. “There are only four approved ingredients known to block UVA rays,” says Sean Gray, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). These include: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, and mexoryl. The bad news is avobenzone and mexoryl are highly unstable and break down quickly in sunlight. “Many companies use avobenzone as a UVA blocker,” says Gray. “And on its own, it just doesn’t cut it.” Some companies, including Neutrogena, La Roche-Posay, Vichy and Ombrelle, add ingredients to increase the photostability of avobenzone. “At the time, however, there’s no third-party verification,” says Gray. “If you’re relying on avobenzone to block UVA, it’s a trust issue.”
To be safe, look for a sunscreen with at least a seven percent concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are stable ingredients that will protect against UVA rays for at least two hours. As far as reversing damage already done by the sun, antioxidants are the way to go. Antioxidants are popular anti-aging ingredients found in skin creams. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry leaf buds from poplar trees are one of the newest and most cutting-edge ingredients for youthful, healthy skin.
When it comes to anti-aging and disease prevention, nothing can take the place of eating well, exercising and leading an overall healthy life. A recent study published in Cancer Biomarkers, Epidemiology, and Prevention of more than 100,000 men and women over 14 years found that nonsmokers who had a healthy body mass index, did regular physical activity, ate well and did not abuse alcohol had significantly lower risks of death from all diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study, which was led by American Cancer Society epidemiologists, found that men and women who followed the above healthy living markers had a 42 percent lower risk of death compared to those with low scores. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 48 percent lower among men and 58 percent lower among women, while the risk of cancer death was 30 percent lower in men and 24 percent lower in women.
When it comes to turning back the clock there aren’t any short cuts.
Eating well is a big part of turning back the clock.
The US National Library of Medicine houses more than 21 million medical journal citations. It’s the best place to find scientific research on any health subject.
2. Mayo Clinic Health Information
This is one of the best places to find easy-to-interpret information and basic advice about a host of diseases and conditions.
3. Science Daily
Cutting-edge news on all things related to health and well-being. Articles are short, informative and to the point.
4. New York Times Health
Health and wellbeing are page-turning, fun-to-read news items that will urge you to look differently at the way you live and how you approach disease prevention.
5. Your Disease Risk
A site by the Washington University School of Medicine, that helps determine your risk of developing “the big five” diseases. It then provides personalized tips for preventing them.
6. 23 and Me
This site is an online genetics testing company that lets you learn more about your health and ancestry by decoding your DNA via a vile of spit. After a simple test, you can discover your health risks for a host of illnesses and learn to personally adapt your antiaging program.
7. Web MD
A general health website that covers the basics for anti-aging, such as immunity booster and skincare tips, but also includes a host of disease prevention tips for specific illnesses.
8. Health Discovery
Television lovers will adore this wellness site by the Discovery Channel. In addition to loads of anti-aging tips online, it also offers a schedule of all the best health shows on TV.
By Nancy Ripton