Ageing – part of life and not the end of the world
Age is but a number – or so the saying goes. Getting older is not something that anyone can stop. Even with the latest skincare products and other treatments today, all of us are going to get older at some point in time. I do believe that what we say to ourselves and others regarding ageing, plays a huge role in how quickly we become old. I have met many “young” 70- / 80-year folks, and I have met “old” 60-year folks. It is a mindset indeed! Although ageing is an inevitable part of life, there are some proactive ways to follow, that will ensure that you look and feel your best, regardless of your age.
“You are what you eat” and if you want to stay healthy for longer, then limit your intake of alcohol, sugar, salt and processed foods. Add more wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, unsaturated fats, dairy and healthy carbohydrates, to your diet. This will help you maintain a healthy heart and healthy weight, as well as lower your risk for a stroke and high cholesterol. When your eating habits are balanced, it will help the body in fighting off inflammation (which can lead to artery, joint, tissue and organ damage, as well as cause arthritis).
Increasing your intake of berries, green tea, cacao, Omega-3 fatty acids (found in pilchards and salmon), walnuts, flaxseeds, calcium-rich foods like bony fish, dairy and seeds, can aid the ageing body to stay healthy and strong. Red peppers, guava, citrus foods and tomato, are also beneficial. Not only for their vitamin content, but also for collagen production. Collagen is important for skin elasticity and firmness, and declines as we get older.
A good multi-vitamin supplement, as well as added Vitamin C, Calcium & Magnesium (with Boron and Zinc), as well as Omega 3 & 6, can be added to your diet. Vitamin D is another important vitamin. No matter where you live, if you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, then make sure to take vitamin D. It is important for brain functioning and can help to keep depression and/or moodiness, at bay. Brands like Solal, Solgar, Biogen, Vital, Vitaforce and Nutrivite, are good.
Drink enough water
As we age, our sense of thirst can be inhibited due to our age. Thus, make sure to drink enough water daily to avoid dehydration this can lead to fatigue, constipation, headaches, fuzzy thinking and even an inability to cope well with heat. Drinking enough water will energize your muscles, assist with kidney and bowel function, balance the body’s fluids, keep your skin supple, as well as assist with weight maintenance. According to the latest research, women should aim for 8 – 9 cups of water and men around 13. Do remember that black tea, without added milk and sugar, can also count as water. Fizzy water (sparkling water, however, does not count, as it often contains added sugar, etc). Too many caffeinated drinks; and especially sugary drinks, can cause the skin to wrinkle and cell structures to harden.
Drinking alcohol in moderation, or staying clear of it completely, is another important habit to learn and follow (even when we are younger). Not only does excessive drinking deplete the body of nutrients needed for cell regeneration and carrying oxygen, but it can also create havoc in your life in general.
Research indicates that resveratrol (found in red wine), has anti-ageing properties. Do remember that you do not have to finish the bottle! Instead, follow the French…they have one small glass of wine every evening with their meal.
Not only does it help you to lose those extra kilo’s and maintain a healthy weight, but it is vital to keep moving to keep circulation going. After the age of 30, your body does not make bones anymore; thus, it is vital to keep doing weight-bearing exercises to help the body to build and maintain strong bones. Any exercise like walking, swimming, cycling, Pilates, Yoga and Water (Aqua) Aerobics, are good ways to maintain flexibility, strong bones, and overall health.
Time and again research have proven that exercise boosts endorphins (the happy hormones) and promotes better brain power. Walking just 10 minutes a day can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 40%, as well as reduce anxiety and stress (which have an effect on your brain’s ageing). “Movement is life;” so put on your trainers and get the blood pumping!
We all know that smoking has been linked, time and again, to lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. But did you know it can also speed up ageing? When you smoke, the carbon monoxide and nicotine displace oxygen and reduces the blood flow to your skin, leaving it dry, discoloured and dull. Many vital nutrients also get lost due to smoking and yes, even if you take supplements, the damage caused by smoking (e-cigarettes included), is long-term and permanent. Best never to start!
Stress increases the amount of cortisol and norepinephrine-hormones, whilst suppressing your immune system. When you are constantly stressing, it leads to the hardening of your arteries, not to mention the negative effect it has on your mood, energy levels and your interactions with those around you. Long-term stress can also cause an inability to learn, compromised memory capacity and premature ageing.
Therefore, how you manage your time is important. Making time for socializing, sleeping well, eating healthy, keeping active, resting / relaxing, quitting smoking and drinking moderately, can all help you live a balanced and happy life. Just being in nature, reading a book, listening to uplifting music, or meditating, will decrease your stress levels and help the body to excrete the “happy hormones” serotonin. Taking a few slow, deep breathes in and sighing it out, will not only help you to relax more, but also to release a lot of stress.
Not getting enough and / or a good night’s rest regularly, can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and looking far older and tired than what you are. Having a good night’s rest boost your memory and concentration, reduces the risk of a heart attack and stroke, and also improves your mood. It is during sleep that the human growth hormone-production (HGH) is at its highest. This hormone doesn’t only play a part in looking younger, but also helps you to have have more energy, feel revitalized and ready for the day. Taking a nap (power nap) is another good way to feel re-energized and revitalized.
Socializing is good for our physical, emotional and cognitive health. People who connect on social levels can also cope better with stress. So, whether you are sending an e-mail, WhatsApp, phoning someone or getting together, make time for your friends and family.
We cannot stop Father Clock from ticking, but we can change the way in which we change. Making changes to live a healthier, happier and balanced life, will not only add more years to your life, but will also let you age gracefully and with more peace of mind.