Your chronological age is your age in years, whereas your “real age” is how old your body cells are in terms of their physical and functional state. Your real age is also known as your “biological age”.
In some people, the biological age can be as much as 30 years less or “younger” than the chronological age — yes it would be great to function like a 50 year old when you are chronologically 80 years old!
Of course, the vanity aspect is important too — we all want to look young and many people spend a fortune on plastic surgery – but if you feel ancient on the inside or cannot remember who you are, what’s the point of looking gorgeous? We can control the rate at which we age to a significant degree, if we adopt some strategic anti-ageing habits as soon as possible before the hands of the clock have ticked too far down our genetic telomeres and shortened our life span.
Take care of your brain
Your brain cells are somewhat fragile and this is not surprising as your brain is 60% by weight made of fat and fat is easily damaged (oxidised) by free radicals. The fats that comprise your brain consist of essential fatty acids (mostly omega3), phospholipids and cholesterol and you need to get the essential fatty acids in your diet. Your body cannot make its own essential fatty acids and it is easy to become deficient in these essential fats. If you are deficient in these fats your brain will age more rapidly and you will experience such things as cognitive decline and perhaps depression and anxiety. Many people do not realize just how vital it is to get these fats in your diet and this is something you really need to address.
So how can you slow the ageing of your brain? I recommend the following –
- Eat a can of oily fish everyday such as tuna, salmon, trout, sardines or mackerel
- Take supplements of a good quality fish oil and krill oil
- Include walnuts, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds in your diet
- Increase your intake of vitamin E as this protects your brain cells from free radical damage – you can Take a supplement of natural vitamin E and eat avocados as these contain more vitamin E than any other foods
- Eat plenty of eggs as these contain natural cholesterol and phospholipids which your brain requires
- Control your blood sugar levels as diabetes is associated with a much higher risk of dementia.
Even if you have a family history of dementia you can prevent various forms of dementia such as vascular, alcoholic or Alzheimer’s disease from damaging your brain by following these strategies.
Nurture and protect your immune system
Your immune system protects you against inflammatory and degenerative diseases and cancer; for this reason your immune system is your greatest health asset. The immune system can be strengthened with anti-oxidants such as vitamins C, E, D and the minerals iodine, zinc and selenium.
Raw juicing can boost your intake of antioxidants to improve skin health.
Quit smoking and avoid passive smoking, as this will damage the immune system severely.
Super foods for your immune system consist of –
- Garlic- raw and cooked
- Turmeric and curry powder
- Foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, berries, capsicums, tomatoes, rosehips and kiwi fruits
- Broccoli sprouts powder
- Acai berries
Take care of your thyroid gland
Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone which controls your metabolic rate by stimulating your cells to turn food into physical energy. As we get older we can become more fatigued so we need to check our thyroid function annually with a blood test as thyroid problems are very common. It is well known that an underactive thyroid gland will increase the rate of ageing and cause dry skin and hair, hair loss, high cholesterol, weight gain and slow thinking – indeed all the things we put down to “normal ageing”.
This is wrong – ageing is not a disease!
To optimise the function of your thyroid gland you need to take selenium, iodine and zinc supplements unless you have a perfect diet. Even so the soils are often deficient in these anti-ageing minerals so you do not want to be complacent.
Your blood tests should show a TSH level of under 3; if your TSH is higher than this, you are not firing on all cylinders and will be prone to more rapid ageing of all your cells. You made need a small dose of natural thyroid hormone as well, if your thyroid function does not respond to these supplements. I recommend the porcine thyroid extract which requires a doctor’s prescription.
Balance your Hormones
Women who take natural bio-identical hormone replacement, given in tailor-made doses to match their individual needs, can have a biological age as much as 10 years younger than their chronological age.
As we get older various glands such as the pituitary, ovaries, testicles and adrenals slow down and do not produce the abundant hormone levels of youth. This can accelerate physical and mental ageing and cause us to slow down in many ways, including sexually.
Thankfully all the bodily hormones can now be replaced with natural replicas of themselves – these are known as “bio-identical hormones” and the body cannot tell the difference between them and its own natural hormones. Replacement with natural hormones can slow ageing of the skin, hair and sexual organs. It can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Natural hormone replacement can also improve the mental state and restore youthful libido and energy levels.
Vitamin D is really a hormone, as like all sex hormones and steroid hormones, vitamin D is made from cholesterol. Vitamin D maintains strong youthful bones, nails and connective tissues and prevents osteoporosis. The majority of Australians are deficient in this most anti-ageing hormone and studies put 70% of us at risk.
Do you know your blood vitamin D levels? They should be over 100 to prevent the ageing disease of osteoporosis, which will cause poor posture especially the ageing stooping thoracic hump and bone fractures.
You can take all the calcium in the world and it will be useless, perhaps even dangerous, if you ae low in vitamin D as the calcium cannot get into your bones. Luckily supplements of vitamin D 3 are most inexpensive and many people need to take 5000 iu daily during the winter months and/or if they avoid the sun.
Take care of your liver
The liver is a large filter that is continually cleansing your blood stream by removing dead cells, cancer cells, toxic chemicals, drugs, and micro-organisms from your blood. This is a vitally important function because it prevents these dangerous things from returning to our heart and thus circulating throughout the body.
In this day and age where many forms of pollution have become part of our everyday environment the liver is working harder than ever before in the history of planet earth.
The healthy liver is also vital for controlling fat metabolism and is a fat burning organ. If it fails to control fat metabolism, problems such as fatty liver, weight excess and high blood cholesterol can easily occur. These are common symptoms we often attribute to ageing.
However, if you keep your liver healthy you can prevent these problems from occurring. This is why the state of your liver has a lot to do with how long you will live and how well you will live. Indeed that is why we call it the liver!
The use of a liver tonic is very effective in supporting the cleansing and fat burning functions of the liver. Effective ingredients for a liver tonic are Milk Thistle, Turmeric, B group vitamins, the amino acid taurine and selenium. These things will help the liver to manufacture its own powerful anti-ageing antioxidant called glutathione.
Keep a positive state of mind and reduce stress
No matter how difficult problems may seem, try to trust in the process of life and love and approve of yourself. You can love yourself back to health. Do not live with depression, as modern day medicine has effective treatments for this common malady.
Chronic stress will cause exhaustion of the adrenal glands and this may manifest as post traumatic stress disorder. Taking extra magnesium and tyrosine can reduce the physically damaging effects of chronic stress. The herb Kava can help to reduce anxiety.
To reduce stress cultivate good social and family relationships, and utilise stress-reduction techniques such as hobbies, meditation, yoga or tai chi. Become a life long learner because those who remain intellectually active throughout their lives have a younger biological brain age.
This is one of the best ways to reduce your biological age. Even a small amount of exercise – for example a 30-minute walk every day — can reduce your biological age by as much as 5 years.
It is ideal to have an exercise program which uses all muscle groups such as swimming, weight lifting, some aerobics, some recreational sport and yoga. Exercise will reduce cardiovascular disease, weight excess and osteoporosis. Regular exercise will also stimulate the production of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, which will increase muscle bulk, reduce body fat and exert anti-ageing benefits.
Ensure adequate sleep
During deep sleep the immune system and the pituitary gland and the pineal gland are reprogrammed to produce different hormones that are necessary for repair and regeneration of body cells.
To enhance deep and restful sleep –
- Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and keep an in door green healthy plant in the bedroom or nearby. This plant will make fresh oxygen from the carbon dioxide that you exhale all night, and will help to keep your blood oxygen levels high.
- Use natural sleep enhancers such as the sleep hormone Melatonin (3 to 6mg at sunset) or a magnesium supplement on retiring – magnesium powders work quicker than tablets. Herbal teas such as chamomile, sage or hops sweetened with a little honey on retiring can be relaxing and reduce hot flushes.
- Do not watch violent or action packed movies just before retiring and avoid eating large amounts of food within 3 hours of retiring.
- Avoid stimulants such as sugary foods and coffee just before retiring.
Take charge of your own Health
People who are pro-active about seeking good quality medical care can have a real age many years less than their chronological age. Have a thorough annual medical check up to detect functional problems before they manifest themselves as diseases. You should do this even if you feel extremely well.
For example a slightly high fasting blood sugar level can detect the very early stages of diabetes, before full-blown diabetes with all its complications sets in. Similarly slightly elevated blood pressure levels can be intercepted before your blood pressure becomes permanently elevated and causes hardening of the arteries or a stroke. This enables you to change your diet and lifestyle before permanent damage to the blood vessels and bodily organs has been sustained.
Know your blood pressure as a person with low blood pressure (around 120/70 mm Hg) is as much as 25 years younger than a person with high blood pressure (over 160/95 mm Hg). Knowing your blood pressure is more important than knowing the amount of money in your bank account, as it buys you time in the investment of life on this planet.
Always get several expert opinions before committing yourself to major surgery or long-term drug use – do not panic, do your research and get several expert opinions. Many people age prematurely from the use of excessive medications known as poly-pharmacy.
Consult a doctor who practises holistic medicine and you may find that nutritional medicine can solve your problems. Take charge of your own health and ask your doctor plenty of questions about alternative treatments. If they are not open to this, see a naturopath as well.
By adopting these general habits you can make your biological or real age more than 20 years younger than your chronological age. This will not only give you more years to live but also give you a much greater quality of life to enjoy.
In this 21st century we have achieved large increases in the average human life span. It is incredible to think that at the beginning of the 20th century the average life span of a woman was only 48 years – it is now over 80 years.
Notwithstanding this gift of extra years, when we examine the health of our older population, we find that degenerative disease such as diabetes, cancer and dementia has increased. We must ask ourselves is it worth having these extra years for many people who are institutionalised or disabled by these degenerative diseases? This is a very hard question to answer because people will usually hang on to life even under great hardship and suffering. But it does not have to be this way if we have the knowledge on anti-ageing tools.
This century will be better, because not only do we have genetic engineering and genetic testing to help prevent many diseases, health care professionals will adopt the principles of nutritional and epigenetic medicine to stave off the diseases that we once accepted as a normal part of ageing.