From the Holy Grail to the Fountain of Youth, the obsession with aging more slowly and living longer has been around for millennia. As we entered the 20th century, scientific breakthroughs have increased the lifespan of an average individual by several decades and has given us new insights into how to protect both our bodies and our skin. As these two types of ‘health’ are intertwined, it is necessary to understand how they work together to be able to reverse aging naturally.
We can reverse aging (to some degree) naturally by choosing healthy foods, taking care of our skin, exercising regularly, and taking certain supplements.
Before we proceed with the specifics, it is necessary to understand that there is the ‘intrinsic’ aging (biological aging, or internal-clock aging) and ‘extrinsic’ aging (or aging caused by different environmental factors).
While intrinsic aging cannot be reversed, it can be slowed down by controlling aging factors coming from the environment. This is where your power lies: you can control what you do on an average day, what you eat and how you exercise.
Biological aging is an unstoppable process that starts at the moment we are born. Aging cannot be reversed per se, but added damage coming from the environment can. Smoking, pollution, too much light and bad exercise and eating regime can all cause inflammation and premature aging.
As this happens, your body loses its ability to produce collagen and elastin by up to 75%, as well as maintain proper blood flow. Signs of aging, such as bone density loss, skin signs of aging and higher likelihood of catching diseases, including chronic diseases all set in. This is what we have come to call aging.
Skin is a very good indicator of what happens in the rest of the body as you age. As skin is there to protect us from the sun, it is the first one to show signs of aging – sometimes as early as in late 20s and early 30s. Skin loses its elasticity, complexion, and firmness – indicators of what is happening in the rest of the body. Let’s consider how exactly this happens.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It is that protein that gives scaffolding to your body and internal organs, giving them their characteristic shape and providing a place for individual cells to grow in. Sometime in your early 30s, your body loses its ability to produce as much collagen as it needs – leading to a decrease in skin thickness and firmness. It’s why some seniors pursue skin tightening treatments. Similar things happen in the body as well.
Elastin is a type of connective tissue that is found around the body. It connects the skin to the underlying muscle tissues the same way it keeps your organs in place. Highly elastic, it is also produced in lower quantities as we age. Elastin is vital in keeping your body in tip-top shape and your skin elastic, with little signs of aging.
As we age and the production of collagen and elastin drop, so does the ability of the body to repair and maintain blood vessels. Combined with other factors, such as smoking and bad dietary habits, this can result in less blood flow to the skin and the organs. Less blood flow in turn means lower oxygenation of the tissues and oxidant buildup – both of which lead to an increase in the speed at which you age.
Hyperpigmentation is the result of cumulative damage that all these factors can pose. The thing is that hyperpigmentation happens on the skin only. As the skin repairs itself over and over again, it sometimes loses its ability to control the pigment production speed and location. This results in easy-to-spot sun spots or liver spots. This may be an indicator that there are too any environmental stressors causing not only your skin, but your entire body, to age faster than they should.
How to Reverse Aging Naturally
Reversing the aging process naturally means relying on the things that you can control, without paying a visit to a plastic surgeon or relying on injectables to mask or soothe the damage that has already been done to your skin. Aging naturally does not mean aging fast, the same way that reversing aging by natural methods does not mean switching to a diet of exotic smoothies. Let’s consider what methods you can use to reverse aging naturally:
Besides stress and job-related stressors, the food you eat has the biggest say in how you age and how fast you age. The food you eat should be nurturing to the body and only occasionally to the pallet. Some of the foods that are good for the pallet but can speed up aging include:
- Too much meat, especially industrially processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, and different kinds of cured meats,
- Too much dairy, as it is known to be an inflammatory food,
- Deep fried and fried food, as it contains too much oils that degrade at high temperatures, are difficult to digest and can clog your blood vessels,
- Too much alcohol, as it dehydrates your body, making it store more liquid in fats, obstructing hormonal balance and increasing the chances of cardiovascular disease,
- Smoking in any amount, and
- Having a diet low in fibers, as they slow down metabolism, release more toxins into the body and make it work extra hard just to detoxify itself.
Good dietary habits on the other hand, are there to nurture the body and increase your longevity. A good, well-balanced diet provides your body with few calories. That same diet provides your body with plenty of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and is high in the biological nutrities, unlike fast food, which is rich in calories, but low in everything else your body needs to work well.
A lot of research has been done over decades, especially in researching dietary habits of people living in blue zones, to discover that the best antiaging diet includes:
- Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables,
- Very little meat, usually no more than once a week and in very moderate portions,
- Little fish and seafood, contrary to the popular belief,
- Little dairy, and mostly in the form of cheeses and yogurts, as they are low in lactose,
- A lot of leafy vegetables and salads with little to no dressing,
- A lot of fermented foods,
- Plenty of high-quality oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil and other oils rich in antioxidants,
- At least half a cup a day of various kinds of beans,
- At least two handfuls of nuts every day,
- A moderate amount of food at every meal – most people living in blue zones eat until they are about 80% full.
Skin is there to protect your body from environmental factors, such as toxins and sunlight, which can be very damaging to the skin and the underlying organs. A part of reversing aging means taking case of your skin and providing it with the nutrients it needs. Your skin will glow and look at least several years younger if you:
- Use SPF daily – at least SPF 30,
- Use moisturizer daily – it helps lock in the moisture and prevent buildup of oxidants and other toxins,
- Stay indoors between 10 AM and 2 PM, even when wearing sunscreen,
- Wearing protective clothing and limiting sun exposure through all means necessary.
Another important factor in reversing aging is the exercise you get. While it is not necessary to hit the gym every morning at 5AM to keep your body healthy, providing yourself with moderate exercise and plenty of movement during the day will keep your muscles happy and your joints lubed up – decreasing the chances of injury and premature aging. Some good guidelines on using exercise to reverse aging include:
- Increasing the daily steps to at least 6,000 steps a day – it is much better to make these steps every day that to make d20,000 steps twice a week,
- Exercising lightly for a few times a day – a simple physical activity such as walking to the grocery store can improve your heart health and decrease premature aging and premature death likelihood,
- Implementing exercise into your daily activities – folding laundry, mowing the lawn, dry and wet-mopping the floors as well as walking to the supermarket and back every day are exactly the types of physical activity that have the most benefit on the body.
Irrelevant of how good your diet is, it can still lack essential nutrients that your body may need to function properly. This is where supplements kick in. Vitamins, minerals, collagen and plant extracts are all great ways to provide your body with plenty of nutrition of high biological value. They are also cost-effective and can be bought without prescription.
Besides these, they can also supplement for naturally occuring substances that your body has difficulties producing, such as collagen supplementation, which can even help restore some of the cartilage and joint function in a mature body. Fibers are another great way to supplement your diet and ensure easy detox every day.
How Can I Stop Aging Naturally?
To stop aging naturally, you should pay attention to your diet and exercise regime. A lot of fibers, oils and fats of high quality and little meat will ensure that your body is as healthy and as it can be and will provide it with all the necessary building blocks. Plenty of exercise will ensure good blood flow and healthy joints that will support you for years to come.
How Do You Reverse Rapid Aging?
Focusing on a good diet and absence of stress is the best way to reverse rapid aging. This approach has good results and is the perfect way to reduce the signs of rapid aging, especially in times of high stress, such as during sickness or post-surgery. Focus on supplementing what you cannot get through food and improve overall health by moderate exercise.
How Can I Look 20 Years Younger?
Looking 20 years younger is not impossible to achieve. What you need is good care for the body and the skin, especially care that starts early in life. Plenty of exercise, good dietary habits and building up healthy mechanisms to deal with stress are all key factors in aging more slowly.
Is It Possible to Stop Aging?
It is impossible to stop aging. What you can do, on the other hand, is to introduce healthy habits and take good care of the body: this alone will result in aging more slowly. Improving your lifestyle, reducing stress and practicing mindfulness will further decrease your aging rate.
Aging is inevitable and is something we all face in life. However, what we do have control over is the speed at which we age and how healthy we stay during the aging process. This, in turn, results in a healthier body that ages more slowly. Simple changes in the lifestyle, as well as changes to the dietary habits and exercise regime can significantly improve your well-being and reverse aging in a more mature part of life.