By Dr. Ben Silver Mbata
Causes of Aging
You can control how quickly you age.
Benjamin Franklin once declared that “we get old too soon and wise too late”. Applying a little wisdom may keep you from aging before your time. “Only about 5-20 percent of the aging process has to do with our genes” Says Jonny Bowden, a nutritionist and best – selling author of many books including “the most effective ways to live longer”. The rest has to do with low we treat our bodies which determines whether like a light switch. we turn the good genes on and the bad genes off. His book identifies the four horsemen of aging which are taught to be dangerous processes that age our bodies and are triggered by the foods we eat and the lifestyles we lead. Conquer these four horsemen Bowden contends, and you can slow down the aging process and help stave off heart disease, cancer and diabetes (An added bonus. Looking younger than your peers at your high school reunion)
1. Free Radicals: Similar to the way rust attacks car, free radicals–chemically unstable molecules – attack our cells and damage our DNA, a process that many experts believe accelerates aging. Free radicals are also known to increase the risk of cancer. You can’t, unfortunately, completely avoid these molecules – they are present in the air you breathe – but you can limit your exposure to them by avoiding things like cigarettes, trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils which have been banned from many foods.) excess sun exposure, charred meats, and other sources.
Bowden also recommends buying organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible to limit your exposure to pesticides and herbicides which also contain harmful molecules. If you can’t afford to go completely organic, peaches, apples, blueberries, bel peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, imported grapes, spinach, kale, and potatoes. Those with the highest amount of antioxidants include prances raisings blueberries, blackberries and lace.
2. Inflammation: Normally part of a healthy immune response to foreign invaders, inflammation is now considered to be a major player in many diseases of aging including cancers, diabetes, heart diseases and Alzheimer’s – that is when it becomes chronic. This happens when the immune system begging’s targeting healthy cells and tissues for attack.
How to keep inflammation at bay: One trick is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet, based on whole grain, Fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fats (nuts avocado and olives) with little meat.
Studies have shown that heart patients who follow this diet have much lower rate of heart attack even if they still have higher cholesterol. Other great anti-inflammatory foods include spices like a tunic, dark chocolates with 70percent or higher cocoa content and red wine which contain the anti aging chemical resveratrol.
Exercise is other great way to lower inflammation by boosting anti inflammatory chemicals and helping you avoid weight gain through the years (Having too much belly fat, defined as a waist measurement of more than 35inches for a woman and 40inches for a man, means you probably have high inflammation since abdominal fat produces inflammatory chemicals) Aim for a moderate amount of steady exercise like brisk walking, or swimming or biking for 30-45 minutes five days a week – the amount most experts recommend. But don’t overdo it to the point of soreness and extreme fatigue. Since too much exercise actually increase inflammation at least temporarily.
3. Glycation: This is a fancy word for too much sugar or rather what happens when the sugar mixes with proteins and fats to form molecules that promote aging. Advanced glycation end products or AGEs are taught to accelerate the aging process by driving out free radicals and promoting inflammation.
Limiting your intake of sugar-filled foods will also help since excess sugar often binds to protein in your body to form AGEs
4. Stress: Notice American pendent’s age twice as rapidly when in office than when not because of too much stress. Being under pressure starts the release of a variety of stress hormones that makes your pulse race and causes your blood pressure to rise. But the hormone cortisol released to lessen these effects creates problems when it remains chronically elevated. It has been shown to shrinks part of the brain called hypo campus which is essential for long term memory. It can also lead to the accumulation of belly fat-causing inflammation and insulin resistance.
A good health expert would recommend practicing relaxation techniques like medication or yoga to help manage stress but even he admits that he has trouble devoting 30 minutes a day to do so. It is advisable to usually just take 5minutes so often throughout the day to close one’s eyes and focus on your breathing. Getting too little sleep is akin to feeling too much stress in terms of your body’s increased production of cortisol so make sure to sleep for 7- 8 hours a night.