10 Secrets to Staying Young

We live in a culture obsessed with staying young, and we are always on the search for the fountain of youth. We spend hours at the gym or in yoga class and make sure we get the right vitamins and nutrients to live longer and look younger. However, it’s not always what’s on your plate that can increase your longevity, but what is not on your plate that may add years to your life. Continue reading the following tips to learn easy swaps that will keep your clock ticking loudly for years to come!

1. Finding the Fountain of Youth

Scientists in search of the Fountain of Youth share their findings. You can try these tricks today.

"With aging, we've always studied things that decline," says Changiz Geula, PhD, research professor of neurology at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. But now she and other experts are looking instead to unlock the secrets of the "superaged," those lucky individuals who seem to stay vital well into their 80s and beyond. Here's some of their latest research, with advice on how you can add years to your life.

2. Stop eating so much

In Okinawa, Japan—home to some of the world's oldest people—centenarians stop eating when they're 80 percent full, says The Blue Zones author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity all over the planet.

They're onto something: Scientists at St. Louis University found that, while both exercising and eating less led to weight loss in the study's volunteers, cutting calories also lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism. The researchers believe that lower T3 levels may also slow the aging process.

3. Please Don’t Pass the Salt

Just about everything that comes in a can, box, or other packaged item in the grocery store contains sodium. Sodium is an essential positive ion and an essential electrolyte required for our body to function. It helps to conduct electric signals throughout the body and without it the body would suffer. Many foods like kelp, seaweed, seafood, and greens contain natural amounts of sodium. However, we are overdosing on salt with the amounts of commercially-prepared foods we consume today. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of daily sodium because anything greater can lead to the development of the “silent killer”—hypertension, or high blood pressure. Too much sodium can increase fluid retention, which can contribute to looking bloated. Excess sodium may also weaken blood vessel walls and affect the way our skin looks.

Smart Swap: If you crave salt, try using more dried and fresh herbs in your dishes. After a while your taste buds will adjust. Stay away from processed meats like cold cuts and smoked fish, canned foods, frozen meals, and most commercially-prepared foods—choose fresh instead. Be careful when dining out because most chefs tend to over season food with salt. Always ask for any dressings or sauces on the side and shop for sodium-free items. When reading the back of the nutrition facts label make sure the sodium percentage isn’t greater than 5 percent per serving.

Bonus Tip: For young and vibrant-looking skin give my herbal Exquisite Skin formula a try.

4. Make love

Women who enjoy sex live longer, says Mehmet Oz, MD, professor and vice chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian–Columbia University and co-author of YOU: Being Beautiful. In fact, doubling your amount of satisfying sex can add up to three years to your life, he says. "Sex gives you the Zen moment you can't find throughout the day otherwise."

5. Use your brain

Dr. Geula, who has studied 80-year-olds who perform at the same level as people in their 50s on neuro­psychological tests, has found that the superaged have fewer brain tangles—deposits of protein linked to Alzheimer's—suggesting that their brains have some sort of protection that normal brains don't. While scientists puzzle this out, there's a lot you can do to keep your own synapses firing. Learn Italian, take up the cello—even driving a new route to work can wake up sleepy brain cells.

6. In Vino Es Wrinkles

You may have heard that sipping on some wine is healthy and may even improve cardiovascular health. While drinking red wine in moderation may be okay for some individuals, the truth is that you can increase your health and longevity in multiple other ways. Alcohol can increase your appetite, especially for salty, sugary snack foods—a triple whammy! In addition, alcohol can dehydrate you while it increases bloating. Drinking can also cause puffy, under-eye circles, not the best way to stay fresh and young-looking. If you choose to have some wine, limit yourself to no more than four fluid ounces and make sure to drink a glass of water right after. It is important to be aware of your limits to prevent alcohol intoxication and binge drinking. Excess alcohol intake can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, cardiovascular disease, cancer and, of course, accelerated aging.

7. Pour yourself some merlot

You've probably heard a lot about resveratrol, a compound in red wine and grape juice that seems to slow aging. One recent study found that resveratrol-fed mice had stronger bones and better motor coordination, and showed fewer "old age" problems like heart disease, inflammation, and cataracts. The jury is still out on whether resveratrol has the same effect on humans, but nutritionists say drinking red wine in moderation does have heart-healthy benefits.

8. Lose the muffin top

In one large study published in 2009, researchers who tracked 6,583 people for more than 30 years found that having significant belly fat in midlife can nearly triple your risk of dementia.

9. Eat more plants

In his study of centenarians, Buettner found the longest-living people tend to eat less meat and more beans, soy, and nuts.

10. Don’t Take the Sweet Poison

While our bodies require carbohydrates for energy, it is important that we acquire them from the right sources. While sugar can fuel our engines, too much of the wrong kind can zap our energy and make our skin sag—not a prescription for staying forever young! If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to reconsider grabbing that sugar-glazed cookie. Commercially produced cakes, muffins, juices, candies, sweet cereals, sweetened yogurts, and all other refined carbohydrates can overload insulin pathways. This can in turn affect your blood vessels and accelerate aging. Excess sugar intake can also cause your skin to break out and increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can eventually increase risk for developing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Disease can cause rapid aging; to make sure your skin stays vibrant and clear and your blood vessels are elastic, limit your intake of added sugar to no more than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. That means if you consume 1500 calories each day, no more than 150 calories should come from added sugars.

Smart Swap: When that sweet craving hits, don’t turn to confections. Instead freeze your favorite fruit like a banana or grapes ahead of time. Eat as is or blend with some almond milk and unsweetened cocoa powder for a healthy and delicious smoothie!


Until then,

Happy Reading!


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