Recent research into biological aging clearly indicates that the aging process is malleable. While we may not be able to do anything about our chronological age we can impact our biological age. Both epidemiological studies and randomised studies indicate that certain lifestyle and dietary factors can improve health and lifespan.
It goes without saying that for health you want a diet that is rich in whole, natural foods ideally local and in season. You also need to take steps to get quality sleep and manage stress. I have discussed these in other blogs on the website. The focus of this article is to highlight some key additional strategies that may help improve our health span.
Here are five strategies to consider:
Hardly surprising this is one of the first on my list. The trouble is that as we get older not only is there a tendency to move less but muscle mass declines significantly A Meta analysis of 14 studies showed significant reductions in all cause motality, cardiovascular linked deaths and fewer cancer related deaths. So get moving daily and include weight training regularly through the week to maintain a healthy body composition
Fasting is not new. Fasting is also not the same as being malnourished either. There are many studies highlighting the benefits of intermittent fasting and the fasting mimicking diet for healthy aging. Fasting helps lower glucose, body fat, insulin like growth factor IGF1 and inflammatory markers. No matter which form you try including a little fasting can be very beneficial for health. I have written about fasting in other blogs. I also personally like the Fasting mimicking diet (FMD) and have produced a 5 day PROLON style programme which is available to the Lean & Nourish Members
Eat Plenty of Antioxidant Rich Plants
It has been known for a long time that when plants are stressed they produce a higher abundance of beneficial health promoting compounds. Resveratrol from grapes, epigallocatechin gallate from green tea, quercetin from apples and allicin from garlic. Xenohormesis is the term often given to how plants respond to stress by producing chemicals that aid their survival. So you ideally want stressed plants – organic, local and homegrown food where possible no plump overfed fruits. Look for bright colourful fruits and vegetables and as much variety as possible.
Take a Cold Shower
So I will admit it I don’t like the cold. However being cold can activate the mitochondria in your brown fat and improve metabolism. Keeping the body mildy cold is another way to stress the body or activate hormesis that can then switch on longevity defences. So take a cold shower, get outside, leave the window open at night, turn off heating may help support metabolism and make you feel more energised.
Take SIRT AND AMPK Activating supplements
Two of my favourite healthy aging supplements are NAD (NMN) and Resveratrol. There are a number of systems in the body are being studied into their effects on aging. – mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin) for regulating protein synthesis and cell growth; AMPK (activated protein kinase) which serves as the bodys master regulating switch” that fends off degenerative factors by revitalizing aging cells and sirtuins, a family of seven proteins critical to DNA expression and aging, which can only function in conjunction with NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a coenzyme present in all living cells.
There is now research for the anti-aging and health enhancing effects of NMN which is rapidly converted to NAD+. By middle age our NAD+ levels have plummeted to half that of our youth. Numerous studies have demonstrated that boosting NAD+ levels increases insulin sensitivity, reverses mitochondrial dysfunction, and extends lifespan.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol most commonly found in red wine and grapes. It is also found in peanuts, certain berries, some pines, and the roots and stalks of Japanese knotweed. Resveratrol is attracting attention for its unique ability to mimic the gene expression effects of caloric restriction. Resveratrol also helps protect the cardiovascular system.
There are other AMPK enzyme activity nutrients and nutrients that support SIRT1 as well as exercise and calorie restriction but NMN and Resveratrol are two I take.
While the above strategies are important for a healthy lifespan don’t forget the importance of getting the foundations right in your life – overall diet, social connections, purpose in life, mental stimulation are all important factors to consider.