As we grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever. While it may seem like good a reasons to slow down and take it easy, there are actually a lot of good reasons and research for why you should get moving and become more conscious of our health and lifestyle.
Here are four of the most prominent causes of old age that you should be aware if you’re looking to increase your longevity and improve your quality of life.
Declining levels of sex hormones contribute to elevated inflammation in older age. In addition, a number of diseases, especially age-related diseases such as atherosclerosis and dementia, have strong inflammatory components. One of our long-term goals should be to engage in therapies or specific diets that could dampen the excessive inflammation process as a means to prevent chronic diseases. One of the main hormonal communicators of the repair process in the body is testosterone whilst excessive amounts of oestrogen can shorten your lifespan substantially. Unbalanced hormones speed up the ageing process.
#2 Oxidative Damage
Oxidative stress and energy dysregulation play a key role in immunosenescence, the gradual decline of the immune system with age. Immunosenescence results from the accumulation of molecular and cellular defects due to oxidative damage and thymic involution, the age-related reduction in thymus size and activity, and hyperstimulation of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. The net result of these processes is increased susceptibility to diseases and increased morbidity and mortality due to infections and other age-associated diseases. A principle player in that risk of oxidation is higher levels of glucose.
A life filled with constant stress, breaks the body down little by little. Chronic stress has been shown to have a number of negative health impacts, from insomnia to weight gain to an increased risk for heart disease, not to mention impairing the immune and digestive systems as well as the central nervous system. Work-related stress can can have a harmful effect on critical DNA in the cells called telomeres. When telomeres become too short, the cells can die or become damaged adding to the ageing process.
#4 Glycation Caused By Sugar
Limiting sugar in your diet is a well-known key to longevity, because of all the molecules capable of inflicting damage in your body, sugar molecules are probably the most damaging of all. Not only is sugar converted in to fat, sugar molecules also attach to proteins eg. collagen in the skin and form more cross links making skin become less elastic. Fructose in particular is an extremely potent pro-inflammatory agent that creates AGEs and speeds up the aging process. It also promotes the kind of dangerous growth of fat cells around your vital organs that are the hallmark of diabetes and heart disease.
What To Do…
Regular physical activity and healthy diet are associated with decreased risk of many diseases and increased likelihood of a longer and higher quality of life. Physical activity also lowers the risk of functional and cognitive impairment, and lower levels of inflammatory markers in older adults. Exercise has also been reported to favourably impact immune function. To increase your lifespan avoid sugar as much as possible.
Do your best to keep your fructose consumption low, this is especially important if you are overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Avoid simple/refined sugars, which are found in processed foods or added to your teas/coffee. Eat your 5 a day focusing on green vegetables and make sure you get enough vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that promotes healthy ageing, found in nuts such as Almonds (unsalted).
Cultivate a stress free lifestyle to set the foundation for other habits that are crucial to successful aging. Improve relationships with friends and family, meditate, practice mindfulness and eat nutrient dense foods to effectively reduce stress and live a more prosperous life.