Ageing is something that human beings have been trying to delay for centuries. The search for the fountain of youth is an ongoing battle; however, nature has provided us with many tools to help in the fight against the unwanted signs of ageing, whilst still allowing us to grow old gracefully.
This is at the top of the list for a reason. Anti-Oxidants protect us from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
In scientific terms, free radicals are uncharged, highly reactive molecules, that thieve electrons from other molecules in order to gain stability. When this happens, the ‘victim’ molecule turns into a free radical itself because it has lost the attached electron and the process starts again. This chain reaction can cascade until it disrupts your cells – causing signs of aging and many other health issues.
Antioxidants are kind of superheroes in the body; donating an electron to the free radical to neutralise it, and thus ending the cycle of oxidative stress that causes physical ailments, ageing and disease.
Antioxidants are found abundantly in nature, especially in our food. Eat plenty of colourful vegetables every day, especially blues, purples and reds, to gain as many antioxidants in your diet as possible.
Obviously your lifestyle choices are going to contribute to how well you age. Smoking and drug or alcohol abuse is a sure-fire way to promote biological aging.
Smoking and substance abuse (including alcohol) increases free radical damage in your body, puts excessive strain on your organs, and causes many other issues which affect your youthful appearance.
Exercise and living an active lifestyle is also a vital component of healthy aging. The benefits of exercise are endless; it promotes a happy mood, balances hormones, keeps us looking (and feeling) fit and healthy, encourages us to eat a healthy diet, and keeps our body strong and our minds sharp – all things which help us to keep looking and feeling youthful.
Covering all the internal bases is crucial, but you also really need to take good care of your skin externally. Moisturise and nourish from the outside, as well as the inside.
It is no secret that the Australian sun packs a punch, and the Aussie lifestyle is perfect for trips to the beach, bush walks and hiking, especially during summer.
Strong wind and Coastal breezes can also dry out your skin, so having a great skin product to help rejuvenate your complexion is always a good idea.
Finding a great moisturiser and skincare range completely void of artificial ingredients, and jam-packed full of natural elements and tonifying nutrients will be one of your greatest assets.
If you find ingredients such as Vitamin E, jojoba, aloe vera, olive oil or coconut oil in your moisturiser or anti-aging cream you’re onto a winner!
Stress is evil! I can’t stress this enough (pun intended). Stress is a natural part of life and experience a small amount of stress is actually healthy! Unfortunately, many people stress way too much and this is when damage occurs to our body. Studies have actually concluded that work-related stress and exhaustion can accelerate the rate of biological aging as it has harmful effects on the DNA in our cells. Chronic stress has shown to also contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Put processes in place now to lower your daily stress by:
1. Asking for help! Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, you aren’t superman – ask someone to help you out!
2. Actually sit down and enjoy your lunch break. Never eat lunch at your desk or on the run, honour your body enough to sit down and be present.
3. Schedule in half an hour every evening or morning to meditate, walk along the beach barefoot, or do some yoga or Tai Chi, something that calms you. Have a weekly ‘self-date night’ where you run yourself a bath, light some candles or snuggle up to a book without interruption.
4. Make herbal tea your best friend. Chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm tea are some herbal tea favourites of mine for stress.
5. Lay flat 10 minutes daily to signal to your adrenal glands (your stress glands) that you are not in a state of stress or panic. Better yet, lay with your legs up a wall. Put the phone down and just chill out for 10 minutes.
Hopefully some of these tips will assist in you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle, and to slow the effects of ageing, another reason I have been an avid practitioner of Kung Fu for the past 20 years, as it provides many facets that promote a healthy mind and body!