There are many of us out there who spend our time trying to find the best methods in which to slow down or reverse the ageing process. There’s a number of suitable, safe methods on the market however I want to pose a question to you…
How often do you stop and truly reflect upon what within your day to day is expediting the ageing process?
Do you think there are traits, habits or behaviours you could adjust to make your anti-ageing methods even more effective?
Today I want to enlighten you with the key lifestyle adjustments you can implement in order to turn back the clock on your biological age…
- Testosterone for women
Once we hit our early thirties, testosterone levels (in men and would you believe women) start to decrease!
Studies show that it’s not a decrease in the actual production of testosterone but it’s the quantity of ‘free circulating testosterone that tails off.
Although testosterone is considered a ‘male hormone’, women, are surprisingly more vulnerable to testosterone fluctuations changes than men. This is because women have so much less testosterone in the first place, meaning if a small amount of their available testosterone is lost, the results are profoundly disruptive.
The reduction of testosterone within the female body leads to energy and motivation loss, reduced libido and related sexual issues which can severely impact the enjoyment of sex.
Low testosterone is associated with a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer – as testosterone is not able to ‘lock up’ excessive oestrogens. However, one of the best ways to boost your free testosterone levels is to lift weights: do at least three 30 minutes of weight-lifting workouts per week, but no more than six.
Research shows that the best testosterone boosting exercise includes multi-joint compound exercises, such as squats, dead-lifts and bench presses as your nervous system will perceive these types of exercise as ‘stress’ and will produce testosterone to deal with it.
2. Oxytocin – our own built-in aphrodisiac
The benefits of sex aren’t just limited to “young people”; satisfying, enjoyable sex can add up to a decade of life expectancy!
Researchers From Stein Institute for Research on Ageing at the University of California, San Diego, found that sexual satisfaction for elderly women was highly correlated to successful ageing as well as high quality of life.
The study indicates that quality of life; successful ageing and sexual satisfaction were strongly correlated even in the 60 to 89 age group where women traditionally seem to experience a decline in physical health.
Regular sex enhances our hormone profiles whilst improving cognitive function. Orgasms, in particular, have a beneficial effect on our immune system and can strengthen our infection-fighting cells by approximately 20%.
With sex comes a high likelihood of cuddling which instantly works in releasing the ‘love hormone’, Oxytocin. Research reports, cuddling can increase life expectancy by as much as seven years and reduces the risk of depression and chronic diseases.
3. Lifestyle changes to beat inflammation
Most chronic degenerative diseases within ageing women are underpinned by inflammation. This includes cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes (poorly controlled Type 1), arthritis, neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), a number of cancers and many, many more.
The encouraging news is that chronic inflammation responds rapidly and positively to a range of interventions such as following an anti-inflammatory diet – a good example of this is the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet that I cover in-depth in my book “The Survivor’s Guide to Swine Flu – The Complementary Medical Approach”.
Additionally, herbs such as garlic, rosemary, ginger and curcumin (an extract of turmeric) all have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Lifestyle changes too can have a profound effect on our inflammatory levels. Gentle exercise such as aqua-aerobics or swimming really does help to flush out the toxins related to the exacerbating inflammation and are low in impact upon the joints and nervous system.
4. Cooking at high heat can further exacerbate inflammation
Foods cooked at high temperatures have increased levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are compounds in our blood that stimulate cells to produce inflammation.
We naturally produce AGEs at a slow rate – these are ‘endogenous AGEs’, however, when food is heated to high temperatures and we eat it, we are taking in ‘exogenous AGEs’ in high amounts and these are very harmful to the body.
A Mount Sinai study demonstrated lower levels of AGEs in people who consumed foods cooked at lower temperatures than people who consumed the same foods cooked at higher temperatures.
Cool foods such as salads, or dishes cooked at relatively low temperatures, can further assist to reduce your inflammatory response.
5. Large doses of alcohol will shorten life expectancy … small amounts can lengthen it
Whilst on the subject of inflammation and how food intake can affect this, it would be remiss not to mention an astonishing breakthrough in anti-ageing research!
The report I refer to revealed that minuscule amounts of alcohol can more than double the life span of a tiny worm that scientists frequently use in ageing studies. The amounts used are tiny – 1:20,000 – which is roughly the equivalent of a single small beer being diluted in 100 gallons of water.
The UCLA scientists who undertook the study say that the anti-ageing effect could have implications for human health as we share about 50% of our genes with these worms.
Interestingly, when the worms were given larger doses of alcohol, it proved to be harmful to them.
It has long been thought that a small glass of wine a day may help heart disease and a range of other conditions however, this is highly controversial and there are numerous studies that contradict this hypothesis.
There might be value in drinking red wine – (aside from its alcohol content) as it contains a small amount of resveratrol – a powerful anti-oxidant that is extremely beneficial to a whole range of body systems and processes.
6. Optimism increases lifespan
You can improve your coping responses to daily stress through a positive mental attitude; Embrace the philosophy that “It’s not what happens to me, it’s what I make of it.”
Researchers in the Netherlands found that older people judged to have optimistic personalities were less likely to die young over a nine-year study period than those with pessimistic outlooks.
Optimism seems to be particularly protective against heart disease, heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular causes than the most pessimistic group – regardless of factors such as age, weight, smoking and whether they had cardiovascular or other chronic diseases at the study’s start.
In a study of people aged 50 and older who were followed for an average of 23 years, those who believed that they had a positive attitude toward ageing lived an average of more than 7 years longer than those who had a more dismal view of getting older.
Additionally, a 50-year long study suggests that longevity is improved in individuals who are active, emotionally calm, and organised. This can be extended by continuing to work for longer (provided the job is fulfilling and stimulating you and not causing undue stress!)
According to a report in the British Medical Journal, the long-term survival of people who retire early at age 55 or 60 is no better than that of those who retire at 65. And, interestingly, survival rates appear to improve with increasing age at retirement.
7. Stress shortens life expectancy
I wrote about this in a recent blog but to reiterate – we are now starting to understand the mechanisms behind optimism and longevity – and conversely stress and early death.
Chronic psychological stress is associated with accelerated shortening of telomeres, which sit on the ends of our chromosomes in white blood cells (a bit like the plastic bit on the end of a shoelace (the aglet) which stops it from unravelling), and this shortening of the telomeres causes the chromosomes to ‘die’ faster.
This is because telomeres promote chromosome stability and they shorten with each replication of the cell, and cells cease dividing when telomeres shorten sufficiently.
I refer you back to a study where 39 healthy, premenopausal women looked after a child with a chronic illness and were compared with 19 age-matched mothers of healthy children who served as a “control” group.
The women completed a questionnaire about their stress levels and their telomere length was measured in their blood samples. The ‘carer’ mothers had much shorter telomeres and the women reporting the highest levels of stress had an average of a 550-unit shortening as compared to the low-stress group which translates to 9 to 17 additional years of ageing for the stressed mothers.
So if you really want to impact your biological age, take a good look at what is going on around you.
Consider what you’re eating and drinking – can this improve?
What types of pressure are you under – can this be better managed?
How are you reacting to situations – is it time to take a more relaxed approach and embrace what life throws at us a little bit more?
All my love,
Jayney xTags: ageing, anti-ageing, Biological Age, lifestyle