How old are you?
How old are you really?
In this blog post I will be covering some but not all the key areas of lifestyle and nutrition that can have a huge impact on the way your body ages.
Your biological age can be very different to your chronological age. Your biological age is a measure of how much damage has occurred inside your body over the course of your lifetime. The cells in your body if exposed to damaging substances over time are like rusting parts of a car-eventually they drop off!
Two of the main factors determining your biological age are genetics (the characteristics you inherit from your parents) and your lifestyle choices.
If you are predisposed to certain genetic conditions HOW you chose to live your life may well determine if these genetic conditions manifest. It is not however written in stone that as you age you become less fit, less active'less flexible, carry more weight, ache more, and succumb to more illness and disease. You really do have a choice!
Take type 2 diabetes for example. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes then you have a genetic predisposition to becoming diabetic. If you chose to eat a highly processed diet, drink sugary or sweetened drinks, carry extra weight and have a sedentary lifestyle then the chances are the diabetic genes will be triggered and you become diabetic. The opposite is also true. If you live an active life, and manage your weight and consume natural foods with an emphasis on lower carbohydrates and sugars then you reduce your chances of becoming diabetic.
The lifestyles that many people lead are leading them down a path of chronic illness in later life or longer term to recover from illness or surgery should they require it. Impacting on their biological age and becoming much older than their chronological age. Many adults spend the last 20-25 years in poor health and rely on pharmaceutical medications to control the symptoms of these conditions as well as additional medications to treat the side effects of the initial medications!
This can be seen by looking at this vitality graph which depicts that youth is excellent at disguising poor lifestyle choices however,as we age these amazing machines called out human bodies can start to break down and if they have not been cared for over the long term can take much longer (if ever) to recover. We still may live to be 85 years of age but the quality of the life we live in older age is often based on the foundations of what we chose to do for the 40 or so years before. However it is never too late.
Treat the cause NOT the symptoms
I am currently working with a client who had terrible joint pain and inflammation as well as gastrointestinal problems. She was also excessively overweight. Her Doctor had prescribed her strong pain killers and anti inflammatory medications which caused her gastrointestinal issues and constipation. She was then prescribed laxatives for her constipation and told to take antacids for her digestive upset. During all of her consultations with her GP the elephant in the room was not addressed - Her obesity and her diet and lifestyle choices.
GP's are very busy and are unable to spend long periods of time with their patients. They are trained to treat the symptoms often by prescribing medications, rather than find the underlying cause. They also have very little training in nutrition. The grim reality was her excessive weight and poor nutrition was causing gut issues and joint pain and degeneration and leading to even more inflammation and immobilisation. This lady was in her mid 40's and yet she was so much older! We have started to work together and she still has a long journey ahead however the investment she has made is reaping rewards not only for her but for the rest of her family too.
What can you do to optimize your health so that as you age you can truly celebrate a life well lived and embark on taking part in activities that you love?
Food and nutrients play a vital role - not just for your physical health but for you psychological health.
Making the best food choices for what your body needs - Many of us are over fed but undernourished and spend a lot of time taking in what we want rather than what we need!
These choices can have a huge impact on
All areas that as we age can degenerate but can be supported to ensure that they age well
A young Gut!
It has been documented regularly that beneficial bacteria not only support optimal gut health but also brain health! Ensuring your gut is working correctly and that you are digesting, absorbing and eliminating optimally is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. Eating foods that are beneficial to your gut - prebiotics - enable the beneficial bacteria to thrive. Foods such as oats, soft vegetables, and fruits - soluble fibre can also reduce constipation and the harbouring of toxins.
Taking beneficial bacteria- probiotics is also deemed essential in supporting optimal gut health. Please don't take the liquid drinks from the supermarket- these in my opinion are a waste of money! If you are going to take supplement probiotics ensure that you purchase from a reputable source.
Eat a rainbow
By having a varied diet that is brightly coloured you are ensuring that you are providing your amazing body with key vitamins, minerals and essential phytonutrients for it to thrive. Ask yourself. "Is my diet beige?" If the answer is yes, start adding more colour in the form of fruit and vegetables
Look at the amount of food you eat as well as its quality
Evidence suggests that those individuals who maintain a healthy weight as they age are less likely to succumb to the diseases of ageing - diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis, to name a few. Remember the Ayurveda principle of a meal should be the size of your cupped hands. The stomach needs room to ensure digestion is optimized.
Over eating is the norm for many people. Even if you are physically active and you can eat whatever you like without gaining weight - It is the quality of what you are giving your body that over the long term is essential. If you do lots of exercise but are constantly picking up injuries, or feel fatigued or don't sleep well or pick up illnesses such as colds easily, this is your body telling you something ! Take a look at your nutritional input and the chances are it has been neglected. I work with many people who are runners or regular gym attenders. They are often slim but have spent years eating what they like because they "have been for a run", then they start picking up niggling injuries or feel absolutely exhausted. We have some amazing light bulb moments!
If you are overweight -Dieting is a NO NO - It puts far too much stress on your body. I work with many people who have spent years yo yo dieting to the detriment of their health - both physical and psychological. STOP counting calories and giving yourself a weight loss goal. Speak to someone who can help educate you and support you over a long behaviour change journey. And whatever you do DO NOT make a new year resolution to lose weight!
Balancing blood sugar
Giving your digestive system a rest, reducing the constant grazing and consumption of snack drinks and foods can be beneficial. It not only supports a better balanced blood glucose, allowing your pancreas to rest. but also has an impact on maintaining healthy cells and reducing abnormal cell behaviour.
Support your sleep
lifestyle choices such as spending hours in front of the TV or on devices rather than resting the mind and body and having regular good nights sleep can have a massive impact on vitality as we age. B vitamins which are easily depleted or lacking in a beige diet impact the hormones for sleep. Therefore as well as ensuring you have a restful nights sleep you need to optimize your diet. Additional information can be found here.
I know you don't have time! I would totally disagree and say we all have the same amount of hours in a day. Its how you spend them that is crucial.
Getting up 10 minutes earlier a day, or reducing your viewing time by 10 minutes in an evening is all it takes. Start slow and low. Don't set yourself up to fail by telling yourself you will do an hour every morning before work, you wont! 10 minutes a day is 70 minutes over a week and then you may increase to 15 or 20 minutes a day. There is now mounting evidence to suggest that people need to focus on muscle tone and flexibility just as much as cardiovascular fitness.You don't need lots of space or really expensive clothing. Just a mindset to look after your body. However if you can dedicate 15-20 minutes of your day out of 24 hours that you are given. For the mathematicians this is a measly 1.3%! Focus on strengthening, toning and stretching your body. You really will reap the rewards. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there- whilst the kettle is boiling, Check this out.
You will be amazed at how easy it is. If you do need additional support and motivation I have a fabulous yoga and fitness membership on my web site for only £2.50 per class. Where I have pre recorded sessions of yoga and fitness that you can view to help you not only exercise and practise yoga but do it correctly!!!
Click on the link below for additional information
A good idea is to carry out the following observation:
Look at all your daily activities from when you get up in the morning to when you go to bed at night. What you are doing on a daily basis NOW will have an impact on you in 10 years time. How many minutes do you spend on social media?, How long do you spend reading bad news, Do you go outside for fresh air? are you stationary or do you move around? Then look at these times and think about what benefit they are giving to your amazing body and mind. You may be surprised and be able to change some of the time you spend on yourself supporting you mind and body in order to age well.
Reduce your exposure to toxins and help your body remove those you are exposed to by eating foods and nutrients that help your liver do the job it is designed to- eliminate poisons from the body. Your liver can not work optimally if you are undernourished. More information on this article here
-Love your liver.
Here again are some key behaviours can be employed- removing your smart watch at night, moving your phone away from your bed,
Avoid using microwaves - In Ayurveda microwave cooking is not only looked upon as toxic for the microwaves but it destroys the life force of the food that is being "cooked" If you can, get rid of your microwave.
Finally look at your stress!
Chronic stress can and does have an impact on premature aging. It has been shown to have a detrimental effect on cell structure, the immune system and increase the chances of the body succumbing to illness and degenerative diseases.
You may not be able to remove the stresses from your life but you may be able to support your body both nutritionally and mindfully by having strategies in place to tap in to should stressful episodes occur. For example, practising yoga, breathwork and meditation. Ensuring you are optimally nourished with food and nutrients to support your gut, thyroid and adrenal glands. In my programmes with my clients I often teach them yoga techniques, meditation, breathwork, mindfulness as well as nutrition.
In conclusion I would say that age IS just a number - Do not let your chronological age define you and if you do want to lead a full, healthy joyful life focussing on supporting a young and vibrant biological age, then only you can make that decision by gaining knowledge about your amazing body and using the tools to help and support you.
If you would like to know how Helen may support you health and wellbeing why not book a discovery call.