If You Want to Age Gracefully – Don't Eat This

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You can slow
down your aging process and help stave off heart disease, cancer,
and diabetes. U.S. News & World Report offers some
tips on how to do it:

  1. Free
    radicals. Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules
    that attack your cells and damage your DNA. You can limit
    your exposure to them by avoiding cigarettes, trans fats,
    charred meats, and other sources.

    Organic
    fruits and vegetables will also limit your exposure to pesticides
    and herbicides, which contain the harmful molecules.

  2. Inflammation.
    Inflammation is a major player in many diseases of aging,
    including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
    One way to avoid it is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet.

    Other
    great anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, dark chocolate,
    and the anti-aging chemical resveratrol. Exercise is another
    great way to lower inflammation.

  3. Glycation.
    Glycation is what happens when sugar mixes with proteins and
    fats to form molecules that promote aging. Advanced glycation
    end products, or AGEs, are thought to accelerate your aging
    process by churning out free radicals and promoting inflammation.
    One way to avoid ingesting AGEs is to turn down the heat when
    you cook. The browning effect of high-heat cooking causes
    these molecules to form. Limiting your intake of sugar-filled
    foods in general will also help.

  4. Stress.
    Stress initiates the release of a variety of hormones that
    make your pulse race and cause your blood pressure to rise.
    The hormone cortisol, released to lessen these effects, also
    creates problems when it remains chronically elevated. Try
    practicing relaxation techniques to help manage stress, and
    get enough sleep every night.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

Death is
surely inevitable, but I do believe you can live far longer than
the
average life expectancy
, which, in the US, is around 78. Genetics
may play a role, but is NOT the final determining factor for whether
you’ll live a long healthy life.

Barring an
accident, your lifestyle has everything to do with your longevity.
It’s already been established that diet
can override genetic predispositions for disease
, for example,
so don’t fall into the trap of believing your health and longevity
is somehow the inevitable result of what’s in your gene pool.

Please understand
that the list in the summary above is from US News and World Report
and it is THEIR concept of what contributes to aging. Of course
you don’t get the newsletter for their views so I am going to
use their list as a springboard to provide you with my thoughts
on the topic.

The Leading
Cause of Premature Aging and Premature Death

Increased
insulin
and leptin receptor sensitivity
has clearly become the leading
candidate for premature death. This results from two primary conditions:
too much sugar and processed foods, combined with insufficient
exercise.

Interestingly,
controlling these two factors could likely eliminate more than
90 percent of:

  • High blood
    pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Of all the
molecules capable of inflicting damage in your body, probably
the most damaging of all are sugar molecules. Fructose
in particular
is an extremely potent pro-inflammatory agent
that speeds up the aging process.

This is mostly
an artifact of the postindustrial agricultural revolution that
we live in as over thirty years ago scientists learned how to
cheaply produce sugar from corn and now it is loaded in nearly
all processed foods and has become the number one source of calories
in most all developed countries.

Fructose
is a major contributor to:

  • Insulin
    resistance and obesity
  • Elevated
    blood pressure
  • Elevated
    triglycerides and elevated LDL
  • Cardiovascular
    disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout

How does
it do all this?

Fructose
adversely affects your body in a number of ways
, but one of
the mechanisms that causes significant damage is glycation; a
process in which the sugar bonds with proteins and form so-called
advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. It’s a fitting acronym
because — along with oxidation — it’s one of the major molecular
mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to
disease, aging, and eventually, death.

When sugar
glycates it creates inflammation, which activates your immune
system in a defensive maneuver. Macrophages are scavenger cells
that are part of your immune defense system, and as such they
have special receptors for AGEs, aptly called RAGEs (think: raging
inflammation). These RAGEs bind to the AGEs and get rid of them.

Unfortunately,
this process can leave its fair share of battle scars. Inside
your arteries, for example, the scar tissue created from this
process is called plaque. This also explains why there’s such
a strong connection between diabetes and heart disease.

As a standard
recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose
consumption below 25 grams per day.

However,
most people would be wise to limit their fructose to 15 grams
or less, particularly if you have elevated uric acid levels, which
can be used as a predictor for fructose toxicity. (For more information
on this, please see
this recent article
.)

This includes
keeping track of your fructose intake from whole fruits. For a
helpful
chart showing the fructose content of many common fruits
,
please see
this link
.

I recommend
this lower level simply because if you consume processed foods
or sweet beverages at all, you’re virtually guaranteed to consume
“hidden” sources of fructose.

How to Prevent
Free-Radical Damage

The most
widely accepted idea for life extension is the free-radical theory,
which says that as you age, you begin to “self destruct,” courtesy
of free radicals — aggressive chemical compounds created as a
byproduct of your natural metabolism that damage your DNA.

Lifestyle
choices such as smoking, consuming processed foods laden with
trans fats and other harmful chemical additives, along with pesticide
and other chemical exposures further add to your body’s free radical
burden.

With time,
your DNA eventually becomes damaged beyond your body’s ability
to repair, and once your biological processed fail, you die.

Antioxidants
continually combat these free radicals — which is why a diet high
in natural antioxidants is so important for your health and longevity.
Antioxidants are abundant in a number of foods, and your BEST
bet to get high-quality antioxidants is to consume raw fresh organic
vegetables and fruits.

Supplementation
can also be useful and resveratrol
appears to be particularly potent
and is often referred to
as a “fountain of youth” that can extend lifespan. It is unique
among antioxidants because it can cross the blood-brain barrier
to help protect your brain and nervous system.

Another important
but often-overlooked antioxidant is coenzyme Q-10, but more specifically
the reduced version, called ubiquinol.

Your liver
produces CoQ10 and it is actually an essential nutrient for health
and longevity because it provides energy to every single cell
in your body. Unfortunately, after age 25, your natural levels
of this critical compound begin to decline, which is why I personally
take the reduced
form, ubiquinol
, every day.

CoQ10 is
also an absolute necessity if you’re on statin drugs as they can
quickly deplete your body of coQ10. This is in part why statins
are so harmful to your heart.

Glutathione
(GSH) is another important and underutilized antioxidant. This
is one antioxidant though I believe you can optimize with proper
diet and if you are leading a healthy lifestyle it is probably
unnecessary to supplement. However if you are sick and disabled
and recovering, you certainly could consider supplementation.

Interestingly,
increased glutathione levels may actually play a role in stopping
telomere shortening, which is one of the most exciting anti-aging
discoveries in recent years. If you missed my article on this
fascinating new theory, you can read
it here
.

Now, I’m
not a fan of taking fistfuls of supplements in lieu of altering
your diet to get the nutrients you need, and I have reservations
against using glutathione supplements in particular. When it comes
to glutathione, one of your best sources is high quality whey
protein
. Other food sources include free-range animal foods
and eggs.

Just remember
that there are vast differences between whey products. You’ll
want to make sure your whey protein is derived from grass-fed
cows and very carefully processed to preserve the fragile amino
acid precursors. Many whey proteins on the market are highly processed
and may also contain undesirable additives.

I am so convinced
by the research on telomeres
and glutathione that I take our Miracle
Whey protein
every morning, and a second dose before my twice-weekly
strength training days.

Additionally,
I use Peak 8 – specific “anti-aging”
exercises that boost human growth hormone production
.

Learning
from Those Who’ve Lived the Longest

Longevity
researchers have long searched for the magic common denominators
that might explain the extended life spans of centenarians. What
they found is that the people who’ve lived the longest tend to
eat a natural, plant-based diet and live in areas that promote
regular physical activity, such as daily walking.

They also
tend to have effective strategies for coping with the inevitable
stresses of life, such as prayer, meditation, and having strong
social networks. In fact, being able to effectively cope with
stress, it turns out, is one of the MAJOR common denominators
for those who live long, healthy lives.

One of the
proposed reasons for this strong link is that stress, just like
fructose, promotes inflammation in your body.

Indeed, most
of the research indicates that longevity hinges on preventing
chronic inflammation, and avoiding sugar/fructose while consuming
an antioxidant-rich diet of whole, fresh foods, along with physical
exercise and effective stress reduction methods work hand-in-hand
to do just that.

The Anti-Aging
Lifestyle

Going back
to where I started, of all the healthy lifestyle strategies I
know of that can have a significant impact on your longevity,
normalizing your insulin and leptin levels is probably the most
important.

There is
no question that optimizing
your insulin levels
is an absolute necessity if you want to
slow down your aging process, and that means modifying your diet
to avoid excessive amounts of fructose, grains, and other pro-inflammatory
ingredients like trans fats.

Here are
the rest of my top “anti-aging” recommendations:

  • Learn
    how to effectively cope with stress — As discussed
    earlier, stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which
    in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people
    prematurely every day, so developing effective coping mechanisms
    is a major longevity-promoting factor.

    Meditation,
    prayer, physical activity and exercise are all viable options
    that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium.
    I also strongly believe in using energy psychology tools such
    as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to address deeper,
    oftentimes hidden emotional problems.

  • Eat
    a healthy diet based on your nutritional type — My
    nutrition plan, based on natural whole foods, is your first
    step toward increasing your chances of living a longer, healthier
    life. This is so important, I now offer the full nutritional
    typing program for FREE.

  • Optimize
    Your Vitamin D Levels. This is another very powerful
    and inexpensive intervention that can have profound benefits
    on your health. In the summer you can do this for free by
    careful and safe sun exposure but even in the winter with
    a therapeutic level of oral vitamin D (typically 5–10,000
    units of vitamin D3 for most adults).

  • Animal-based
    omega-3 fats — Correcting the ratio of omega-3 to
    healthful omega-6 fats is a strong factor in helping people
    live longer. This typically means increasing your intake of
    animal based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil, while decreasing
    your intake of damaged omega-6 fats (think trans fats).

    I do
    not, however, recommend the new prescription-strength fish
    oil medication, sold under the name Lovaza. Don’t be fooled
    by their “all-natural” PR campaign. This is actually a drug
    to treat very high triglyceride levels.

    However,
    as with most other drugs, Lovaza comes with potentially dangerous
    side effects that you would not experience with a natural
    fish oil or krill oil supplement. Side effects include flu-like
    symptoms, infections, back pain, skin rashes, upset stomach,
    taste changes, digestive issues, chest pain, migraines and
    respiratory problems!

    Additionally,
    new research strongly suggests that 500 mg of krill oil is
    more potent and far less expensive.

  • Get
    your antioxidants from foods –Good sources include
    blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries,
    cherries, beans, and artichokes.

  • Use
    coconut oil — Another excellent anti-aging food is
    coconut oil, known to reduce your risk of heart disease and
    lower your cholesterol, among other things. In fact, it’s
    doubly beneficial because it can be both eaten and applied
    directly to your skin. Coconut oil can be used in place of
    other oils, margarine, butter, or shortening, and can be used
    for all your cooking needs.

  • Get
    your resveratrol naturally — Resveratrol is one of
    the forerunners in the anti-aging pill race, but more than
    likely, by the time they’ve manipulated it into a synthetic
    pill (like the fish oil discussed above), it won’t be healthy
    for you.

    Although
    resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red wine, I can’t
    recommend drinking wine in the hopes of extending your life
    because alcohol is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain
    and harm your body’s delicate hormonal balance. Instead, get
    your resveratrol from natural sources, such as whole grape
    skins and seeds, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts.

  • Exercise
    regularly, and correctly – Studies repeatedly
    show that regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can help
    prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity, heart
    disease, osteoporosis, and the falls that lead to hip fracture.
    Although a lifetime of regular exercise is ideal, it’s never
    too late to start. It’s been shown that even individuals in
    their 70′s can substantially increase both strength and endurance
    with exercise.

    I’m also
    excited about the research showing how high-intensity interval
    training can increase longevity as this specific style of
    training promotes human growth hormone production — yet another
    aspect of the longevity puzzle.

  • Avoid
    as many chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as possible
    — This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners,
    soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays,
    lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and
    replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.

  • Avoid
    pharmaceutical drugs — Pharmaceutical drugs kill
    thousands of people prematurely every year — as an expected
    side effect of the action of the drug. And, if you adhere
    to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any
    of them in the first place.

Incorporating
these healthy lifestyle guidelines will help set you squarely
on the path to optimal health and give you the best shot at living
a much longer life.

August
18, 2010

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