Throughout history, people have sought to increase their lifespan and maintain a more youthful appearance. Stories have been told for millennia about a mythical “Fountain of Youth” and adventurous entrepreneurs have scoured the globe searching for an herb, pill or formula that will keep people young, energetic and attractive. This obsession with youth has given birth to lucrative industries offering numerous treatments to keep us young and beautiful. Around the world people spend billions of dollars annually on everything from plastic surgery and diet fads to specialized skin care products and exotic herbal remedies. Many of these solutions are not only expensive but often times dangerous. So is there a safe and natural way to stay looking and feeling young? Can we really turn back the hands of time. The truth is that old age, sickness and ultimately death are part of what it means to be human but the good news is that there is much we can do to slow down this process and improve our quality of life. Modern clinical research has shown that diet and exercise have the most profound effect on staying healthy and energetic. Foods high in bio available vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and oils ward off disease and keep the body looking and feeling young. Regular exercise and activities like yoga, pilates and tai chi reduce stress and increase vigor. Many herbal remedies and supplements used for centuries in Asia have also been shown in clinical studies to increase anti-aging hormones and longevity.
– Minerals are a key component to increase energy, balance hormones, improve skin tone and even stimulate the libido. Foods rich in absorbable minerals are whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, almonds, leafy green vegetables and sea weed. Mineral supplements can be useful but are often difficult for the body to absorb and assimilate.
– Antioxidants are well known to ward off cancer but also prevent cells from premature aging. Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, acai berries and raspberries are loaded with antioxidants. Research conducted into blueberry extract showed improvements in short-term memory loss and reversed some loss of balance and coordination in aging rats. A diet rich in antioxidant packed spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, cumin and sage will also prevent disease and keep you looking and feeling young. Green tea, known to contain several antioxidants, has long been used in Asia to benefit digestion, increase vitality and lengthen life spans.
– Omega 3 fatty acids are an important ingredient in staying young. Deficiency in these oils has been linked to many diseases as well as premature aging of the skin. Fatty, cold water fish, nuts and seeds are all are rich in these oils that will prevent inflammation at the cellular level and in turn prevent aging. Omega 3 oils also improve brain function and may even prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Adequate consumption of these fats will produce a radiant glow, reduce puffiness and your skin will look more toned.
– Meditation is becoming a popular activity in the west and studies have suggested that meditators have age related hormone levels of someone 5 to 10 years younger. Clinical research has shown increases in melatonin, DHEA and serotonin as well as a reduction in cortisol (the “stress hormone”) in people who make meditation a regular part of their life. Levels of Human Growth Hormone, one of the reasons children have endless energy, were also increased naturally by meditators.
– Herbs, supplements and herbal remedies from around the globe are increasingly being embraced by those searching for ways to look and feel young. Many of these substances, and the companies trying to cash in on them, are all hype and of poor quality. Some anti-aging herbal supplements do stand out though and are backed up by serious clinical research. Before using any herb or natural health supplement always consult your doctor or health care professional. (By Billy S. Horner)