The fountain of youth proves continually elusive, despite a growing desire in America to look and feel younger. This is especially so, as the baby boomers begin to enter their golden years. However, Dr. John Hibbs, a naturopathic medicine provider at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, says anti-aging remedies for health and longevity aren’t as hard to attain as some people might think. Mainly, he says, lifestyle changes related to nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management/happiness, and satisfactions are key to a longer and healthier life.
“Each of these play an important role in determining how the whole body works together,” explains Dr. Hibbs, a family practitioner who takes a special interest in environmental illness and detoxification.
Food that will keep you young
Although most people think of fish oil as the best source of healthy oils, raw nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts actually have higher concentrations of these nutrients. These are crucial to help encourage cell turnover throughout your body.
“You’re literally giving your body a better chance to repair aging and injured cells in the liver, brain, muscles, and everywhere just by eating these fatty acids,” Dr. Hibbs says. In addition to benefiting your body internally, these fatty acids also have anti-aging properties for your body’s biggest membrane externally: your skin. Vegetables also contain high concentrations of these fatty acids, minerals, and antioxidants. So, if we, stop eating processed foods, and get half of our diet from fruits and vegetables of multiple colors, it would only benefit us.
Along with your daily dose of these fatty acids, Dr. Hibbs recommends eating anti-inflammatory nutrients such as catechin, found in green tea and other plants, and curcumin, found in turmeric. It is believed that turmeric gives your brain and immune system a boost of youth. It is also known to ward off autoimmune diseases and brain degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition to vitamins, the body also needs these nutrients to run its marvelous machinery.
Behavior is part of the balancing act
Creating a diet that will provide you with these crucial nutrients is just one part of the balancing act. Getting too little sleep each night can be equally as detrimental to your body as eating a poor diet, resulting in undernourishment. Sleep deprivation is hard on the brain and other cell types, These cells have a tendency to die earlier, which can lead to earlier dementia or osteoporosis as the body breaks down muscle and bone.
People who get enough rest and exercise frequently can avoid losing both muscle and bone mass, which can make their risk of getting osteoporosis much less. Think you’re too old to begin an exercise regimen? Think again, Dr. Hibbs says that we can start exercising at any age, and our bodies will respond with stronger muscle mass and thicker bones. Even at 80 or 90 years old we can tell the body to grow bigger and stronger, if we start lifting weights or doing cardio.
Getting a full night’s rest and exercising regularly will also have the benefit of regulating your mood. According to multiple studies, happiness is yet another key to living a healthy and long life.
Check out our new article “Striving for Immortality“: We look at Sarah Knauss’ long life of 119 years to the potential of human immortality, and explore the limits of human longevity.