1. Aging Cause: Eating Sweets
The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar each year! The health implications of eating too much sugar are serious and since sugar turns to fat once absorbed into the bloodstream, cutting out sweets is very effective when it comes to weight loss. Sugar also wreaks havoc on the skin. It can also be as much of a wrinkle-causing culprit as over exposure to the sun and too much smoking. It's due to a process called glycation causes sugars to attach to proteins in collagen and elastin, which can make skin look older.
Youth Boosters: Your best bet is to cut out processed foods. Women should limit their sugar intake to 6 1⁄4 teaspoons (or 25 grams) a day. Fiber also slows sugar absorption, so opt for whole foods like an orange over its juices. When a sugar craving hits, it’s often because you’re thirsty. So go for a tall glass of water. If that doesn’t help, have a piece of dark chocolate or fresh berries. Opt for sweeteners like Body Ecology or Sweet Leaf brands of stevia or ribose (corvalen), a healthy sugar that, in a recent study, increased subjects’ energy 61 percent and improved heart function.
2. Aging Error: Working Too Hard
Research has found that a bad job - whether it’s a career you don’t like or working long hours, can increase the risk of heart disease and speed up cell aging, as well as minimize the time you spend getting exercise, healthy meals and sleep. Long-term chronic stress, a common problem for the overworked, also impairs age-related brain function. “It shrinks the hippocampus, where memories are formed, and impairs frontal lobe function - planning, coordinating, prioritizing and executing complex activities,” says Phoenix-based neurologist Paul Bendheim, M.D.
Youth Boosters: If you can’t change your stressors outright (think: a difficult boss, travel schedule or workload), draw up a list of things that make you happy! Then add them into your day, advises Jennifer Garza, M.S., a life coach in Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y. She also suggests a no-complaint challenge: “for one week, resist the urge to gripe, and replace complaints with thoughts of gratitude.” Garza also notes that work is most fulfilling if it gives you a sense of purpose, so she recommends enlisting the help of a therapist, life coach or book to help you move toward recognizing and fulfilling your dreams.
3. Aging Error: Eating through the AGEs
Advanced glycation end products (ages) form when sugars and fats react with a protein, causing a structure to change irreversibly, and then attach to many things in the body and cause damage, says Michelle Davenport, nutritionist and research scientist at the new York University School of Medicine in New York City. While we can create ages in our body after eating sugar, we can also straight-up consume these ages via foods that are processed and/or heated. “AGEs can increase inflammation and oxidation that cause aging and age-related diseases affecting the heart, brain, bones and joints, kidneys, insulin resistance, anemia and skin,” says Davenport.
Youth Boosters: Browning, caramelizing, grilling, roasting, broiling and frying create ages, so limit these cooking methods. Highly processed and canned foods heated during processing, as well as high-fat dairy products like cheese, are also culprits. Your best bets to reduce the consumption of ages are to eat raw when possible, eat foods in their whole form and cook them with a water-based method (like steaming, poaching or boiling) or marinate in an acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) before cooking. eating a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods can also help reduce the inflammation and oxidation that ages cause, so go for berries, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.
4. Aging Error: Dropping the Weights
Women Lose approximately 5 percent of their muscle mass every decade after the age of 30. “Resistance training is the only thing that reverses this,” says Brad Schoenfeld, adjunct professor in the exercise science department at Lehman College in the Bronx, N.Y. “Strength training is also great for bone density and increasing energy and strength,” adds New York City-based Kristin McGee, a celebrity yoga and fitness expert. “It keeps the metabolism running, helps with balance and stamina and is good for the heart. More muscle tone also means less saggy skin.” It can help improve flexibility as well, contributing to better posture, looser joints and a more limber body, which all equal a more active lifestyle as you age, notes Schoenfeld.
Youth Boosters: McGee recommends aiming for 20 minutes of resistance training three times a week, using weights or bands for curls, presses, rows, squats and lunges - or your own body weight in the form of (yoga) for push-ups, chair dips, squats, lunges and planks. Try Seane Corn: Vinyasa Flow Yoga - The Body And Beyond. It's a great vinyasa flow yoga for beginners and beyond. Aim for at least 25-30 minutes every other day. You'll get the amazing benefits of calming and de-stressing yoga as well as the physical aspect with cardio and strength training in one workout.
5. Aging Error: Not Enough Sleep
Getting regular sleep isn’t a luxury - it’s essential! “Lack of sleep releases cortisol, which can age us internally and externally.” Consistency is key, too: a 2011 study in the journal Sleep found that changes in how much or how little test subjects slept over a five-year period in late middle age were associated with an accelerated cognitive decline equivalent to four to seven years of aging!
Youth Boosters: Try to get a solid 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. This will allow you to cycle through several REM patterns; it’s in this stage of sleep that the body is able to repair itself, and is important for healing, memory, skin elasticity, normal cortisol levels and metabolism, notes Mark Anderson, M.D. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, keep your room at 65 degrees, maintaining the same sleep and wake hours, and night time rituals like taking a warm bath. If tension keeps you up at night, Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., Maui, Hawaii-based medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, recommends taking 1 to 2 teaspoons of magnesium citrate powder mixed with water or juice to relax your muscles.
6. Aging Error: Cutting Too Much Fat
“Women typically cut fats from their diet as they age, because they’re trying to cut calories,” says Ashley Koff, R.D. But good, healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids help to keep skin supple, and young looking, boost brain health, keep the heart strong, fight diabetes and can increase lifespan. “Cutting omega-3s increases cellular inflammation that accelerates the aging process, and eventually leads to organ dysfunction and loss of function,” says Barry Sears, Ph.d., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead, Mass. It also makes your skin look more irritated, less radiant and simply older.
Youth Boosters: Since the science on omega-3s is relatively new, so she suggests eating whole foods containing an array of nutrients, including omega-3s. Research from Oregon Health and Science University found people with healthier diets, rich in a variety of vitamins including B, C, D, E and omega-3s, had bigger brains and better cognitive function. Dr. Sears says to avoid vegetable oils rich in omega-6s (corn, soy, sunflower, safflower), limit saturated fats found in butter and cheese, and consume more extra virgin olive oil, almonds, avocados and fatty fish like wild salmon. Try a daily fish oil supplement like New Chapter Wholemega. It's chalk full of seventeen Omegas - 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9’s, to help promote overall health by benefiting several areas of health including cardiovascular, immune, digestive, and mood.
7. Aging Error: Over Exposure to Sun
We now know limited daily sun exposure is actually good for us. The sun is healing and all life forms could not live or grow without it. But over exposure can cause pre-mature wrinkles, sun spots, broken capillaries and a dry, dull complexion. According Neal Schultz, M.D., a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist, include reflected light from sand, water and snow; mirrored rooms with large windows; high altitudes; and the ultraviolet radiation responsible for the UV index on a cloudy day. Debra Jaliman, M.D., New York City-based dermatologist says sun can also age our bodies on the inside, decreasing immunity.
Youth Boosters: If you're going to be in the sun for more then half an hour, apply a daily moisturizer containing an SPF 30 or higher (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide ingredients are chemical-free). Try Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40. This natural formula physically deflects UVA rays that can cause up to 80 percent of premature aging. It also shields from the harmful UVB rays that we encounter on sunny days or at the beach. It's also infused with Josie's signature ingredient, Argan oil. And don't forget to wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses with UV protection of 400 or higher.
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