Your grandmother is 95, but your mother just passed away at 65. What happened to the old adage, “but I have good genes?” Medical scientists say that genes account for about 20 percent of aging and much of the rest is determined by what we do to stay healthy and live longer.
FOUR KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- Telomeres—These are little caps at the end of our chromosomes that help to keep our DNA contained when cells divide in the replacement process. With each replacement (50–70) these telomeres get shorter until replication is stopped and we die. These telomeres get shorter if we do not eat a perfect diet, experience too much stress, do not get enough sleep, are exposed to toxins or do not get enough physical activity.
- Oxidation—Our cells oxidize and deteriorate if we consume too much sugar, alcohol, saturated fat or toxins. This damage occurs to our DNA, the mitochondria in our cells, as well as the proteins and lipid fats needed for healthy aging. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E can neutralize these oxidants and preserve the integrity of our cells for excessive damage.
- Glycation—Sometimes sugar and proteins do not interact properly causing advanced glycation end products (AGES). A good example is when red meat is cooked at high temperature and the molecules are disturbed and restructured. Radiation is another example of this happening. These altered molecules can begin the process of disease that accelerates aging.
- Cellular malnutrition—Every cell needs a high level of nutrients to do the jobs they are programmed to do like make the heart, brain, liver, lungs and kidneys function properly. Without excellent nutrition, cells deteriorate in five distinct stages from being stressed, weakened, dysfunctional, mutated and finally diseased. This cellular deterioration process also causes premature aging and chronic disease.
Improvements Against Premature Aging
- Reduce sources of stress
- Practice meditation or yoga
- Get regular exercise
- Get enough sleep ( 7–8 hours)
- Reduce toxins in your life
- Eat more organic vegetables and fruits, along with seeds, nuts, omega fish, olive and coconut oil
- Drink spring water (no chlorine or fluoride)
- Get good health tests from a Functional Doctor
- Consume quality nutritional supplements
Nutritional Supplements To Prevent Premature Aging ( Slow Telomere Erosion )
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B complex*
- Omega 3 fats
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin E
- Green Tea
- Vitamin C
- CoEnzyme Q10
These are general strategies and will need to be adjusted based on specific factors such as age, sex, general health, metabolism (there are five types), genetics and income. We all can only do the best that we can do given our personal circumstances. However, there is no excuse for not paying attention to the scientific facts that are included in this article. If you want to enjoy a healthier and longer life, then it is up to you do the best that you can do to make sure that happens.
Delaying the Aging Process One Meal at a Time
Genes play an important role in how long we live, but nutritional scientist feel there are other factors that are even more important, and about 80 percent of them are within our control. Nutrition is the most important factor along with a few other important health considerations. Here are my top ten.
- Organic food—Organic food has higher levels of nutrients and lower levels of pesticides, which increases the vitamins and minerals important to brain health. (Magnesium, vitamin A and C)
- Nutritional density—Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, omega fish and oils such as olive and coconut oil are the best. Avoid red meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol or processed foods.
- Chewing—Chew most foods 20–30 times or you can lose up to 50 percent of the nutrients because the food particles were too large or amylase enzymes were not released sufficiently in the saliva.
- Small meals—Eating three meals and two snacks each day will allow for better digestion and absorption of the food. It will also provide a better distribution of the calories to help control weight.
- Enzymes, acid, and bacteria—By the age of 50 we are producing 50 percent less digestive enzymes, stomach acid and intestinal bacteria. Eat raw foods and take digestive supplements to help.
- Nutritional supplements—Food has fewer nutrients than it did 50 years ago according to the USDA. This is caused by depleted soil, minerals not added, processing, and long transit. There are over 15,000 scientific studies supporting the need for supplemental vitamins, minerals, and healthy oils. Doctors like Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman, and Joseph Mercola can offer guidance online.
- Toxins—The level of toxins in the air, water, and our food has increased dramatically over the years. Toxins cause our cells to age prematurely and become diseased. Avoid tap water, which contains chlorine and fluoride; use pure spring water instead. Use an air purifier at home and at work. Exercise regularly, take a sauna and use detox programs like the one by Brenda Watson.
- Diagnostic tests—Conventional blood tests do not diagnose most disease until it is already well developed. Find a doctor who specializes in holistic or functional medicine to get the right tests.
- Sleep—Our bodies need seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to properly detoxify and balance our systems, such as the acid/alkaline balance. The hours before midnight are very important as is a diet with enough amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
- Stress—is implicated in over 80 percent of all illness and happens 30 to 40 times every day. Avoid the stress you can avoid and use meditation, yoga and deep breathing to calm you down.
A brilliant nutritional scientist, Bruce Ames, has shown that nutrients we consume are utilized on a priority basis with reproduction and germ treatment first and chronic disease and longevity last. This is why we are facing a significant health crisis in this country.
- The National Cancer Institute studied over 14,000 people aged 2 to 80 and could not find one person with a truly healthy diet. In fact, most were deficient in 11 out of 14 nutritional categories.
- Over 60 percent of adults have one or more chronic illnesses. This is up from 10 percent about 60 years ago. This is why healthcare costs are going through the roof in the United States.
- The lifespan of the average person just went down for the first time in decades and it is going to get much worse. Children born after the year 2000 will face a 40 to 50 percent risk of diabetes, which is up over 400 percent in the past 50 years.
The odds of getting healthier and growing older without disease are not good unless you get serious about it and take the steps mentioned above.
Charles K Bens, PhD
Charles K. Bens, PhD is an author, speaker and wellness consultant specializing in the prevention and reversal of chronic disease. He is the founder and president of Healthy @ Work, Inc. a wellness education and consulting company focused on improving the health of employees. The company provides workshops on a wide range of health topics. He has written nine books including Healthy at Work: Your Pocket Guide to Good Health, The Healthy Smoker: How To Quit Smoking By Becoming Healthier First and over 200 articles. Dr. Bens lectures all over the world on organizational change and improvement as well as on wellness and health improvement. And was selected by Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation as the Vail Visiting Professor for 2013.