• Frequent illness or chronic disease
• Weight loss
• Painful conditions and stiffness
• Decreased sex drive
• Memory loss or impairment
• Poor skin and/or muscle tone
• Digestive problems
• Free-radical damage
• Poor digestion and detoxification
• Poor diet and nutritional deficiencies
• Lack of exercise
• Hormone imbalance
• Elevated blood sugar levels
• Environmental toxins
• Stress and isolation
• DNA damage
The following tests can give you an assessment of how well you’re aging:
Oxidative stress analysis—urine or blood
Antioxidant testing—urine, blood
Blood profile for cardiovascular, immune, and blood sugar markers (glucose, hemoglobin A1C, and insulin)
Hormone analysis by saliva, urine, or blood (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, melatonin, IGF-1, thyroid panel)
A 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with greater telomere length, a biomarker of aging. Key components of this diet include vegetabeles, fruits, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, unrefined grains, and a low intake of dairy, meat, and poultry.
Make sure you get enough fiber. Whole grains, oats, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and raw vegetables can prevent constipation and will reduce toxins in the digestive tract.
Yogurt and other fermented sour products (sauerkraut, kefir) encourage healthful bacteria in the digestive system.
Deeply colored fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants such as carotenoids, the substances that neutralize free radicals.
Vitamin E and selenium work together to prevent many different diseases. To lower your risk of diseases that affect aging, such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis, eat plenty of seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils.
Be sure to incorporate sufficient high-quality protein into your diet. Beans, soy products, nuts and seeds, fish, and lean chicken and turkey will give you energy.
Vitamin C helps fight free-radical damage, reduces cancer risk, and strengthens the immune system. Good dietary sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, red peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus, and avocados.
Garlic and onions also have antioxidant properties and improve circulation, so enjoy them freely.
Whether you’re thirsty or not, drink a glass of clean, quality water every two waking hours. Dehydration is linked to kidney malfunction, malabsorption of nutrients, chronic constipation, weight gain, high cholesterol, fatigue, and headaches. It can also cause disorientation and memory loss.
The skins of red grapes reduce plaque in the walls of arteries. They also have antioxidant properties, so drink a glass of red grape juice or an occasional glass of red wine. Keeping the digestive tract clean is essential for preventing disease, especially if you’ve spent a lifetime consuming and breathing toxins. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices and “super green foods,” such as chlorella and spirulina, are excellent. Supplements such as milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and many of the antioxidants support proper detoxification.
Cardiologists at the University of California–San Francisco have found that heart disease patients with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a slower rate of shortening of telomeres, the tips of chromosomes, than patients with low intake of omega- 3s. Telomeres usually shorten with age, and heart disease speeds this process. Omega-3 fatty acids have the unique effect of protecting telomeres.
Tea consumption has been associated with better telomere length. The highest intakes, three cups or 750 millilitres per day, was associated with significantly longer telomere lengths suggesting an anti-aging effect.
Food to Avoid
Reduce your total caloric intake while maintaining good nutrition. As you get older, your metabolism slows down, and you require fewer calories to support your activities. Also, studies on laboratory mice have shown that a reduced-calorie diet significantly extended their lives. You can reduce calories by cutting out processed and junk foods, alcohol, sugar, and white flour—but don’t skimp on nutritious foods that will keep you healthy.
In addition to the previous suggestions, avoid red meat and processed foods, as well as any food made with additives and preservatives. These foods are all high in free radicals. What’s more, they clog up your digestive tract and inhibit proper functioning. Avoid the trans fat that is often contained in packaged and fried foods and that damages cell DNA.