Time marches on . . . but what about anti-ageing?

Anti-ageing creams are everywhere, anti-ageing foods are now more widely understood but what is ageing? Is it just the process of getting older or is something else going on? From a scientific point of view, ageing is the result of accumulating damage to the molecules that make up the body’s cells. If enough molecules are damaged, cells function less, tissues and organs deteriorate and our health declines. Much evidence suggests that oxidative damage from free radicals cause cells to age. Free radicals are rogue cells which travel around the body causing damage to the healthy cells. Let me put it another way . . .

Are you rusting from the inside out?
Oxidative stress from free radicals leads to high levels of inflammation in the body which is exactly the same process as when you cut open an apple and leave it on the side. The apple turns brown due to the chemical reaction called oxidation. Inflammation in the body is best in short bursts for when we cut or hurt ourselves or if there are bacteria/viruses attacking our body. Short bursts of inflammation are good but long term or chronic inflammation causes premature ageing and the wearing down of structure and function. It has also been shown to be one of the major risk factors for age related chronic diseases such as diabetes, matter. These all produce free radicals in the body. The body is an amazing piece of design and does not function at an optimum level when given this type of low grade fuel. Just like a high performance car would not function with the wrong type of fuel so our bodies require the best fuel possible. In providing the best fuel we set ourselves up for good quality sleep, weight loss, a clear focused brain, less aches and pains, and younger looking skin. We also protect ourselves from the onset of chronic disease which ages and debilitates.

  • Do you suffer from ‘brain fog’?
  • Do you wake up still tired?
  • Find it difficult to lose weight or you put it back on too easily?
  • Do you suffer from random aches or pains which you put down to getting older?
  • Do you suffer from the afternoon energy slump?

These may all be signs of oxidative stress in the body.

If we add alcohol, smoking, perfumes, heavy metals and stress into the mix, we greatly increase the presence of free radicals in the body. Each cell takes up to 10,000 free radical hits per day and our bodies consist of 30 trillion cells. That’s a lot of oxidative damage.

Is there anything we can do to minimise this damage and protect ourselves from chronic disease? Yes, there are many ways to begin the mopping up process.

1. Reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet and replace with whole foods (foods which are in their natural state)
2. Reduce sugar and trans fats (do not replace with sweeteners as they come with their own problems!)
3. Increase the amount of antioxidants in the diet (found in plant based foods-eat a rainbow of vegetables every day: 5-7 portions)
4. Increase the amount of omega 3 in your diet as it is anti-inflammatory (eat 3 portions of oily fish a week: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring or take a good quality fish oil supplement)
5. Keep hydrated: aim for 8 glasses of good quality water per day (herbal teas count but black tea & coffee don’t!)
6. Include protein, a good fat and fibre with every meal
7. Reduce stress through deep breathing/meditation
8. Walk 20 minutes every day to reduce inflammation
9. Reduce your exposure to toxins eg tobacco, alcohol, heavy metals, moulds
10. Do the above 80% of the time and for the other 20% have fun!

Life is to be celebrated and enjoyed! Let’s all make a few changes this year to prevent our lives from being cut short through chronic disease. Here’s to a long healthy life!

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