The latest anti-ageing advice, from your head to your toes.
In order to look and feel younger you need to focus on your body as a whole. Here’s the latest scientific anti-ageing advice that’ll keep you youthful from your brain to your feet.
Learning to meditate and practising regularly is a one-way ticket to a younger brain, an international team of researchers recently discovered. Their study of 100 adults published in the journal Neurolmage last year found long-term meditators had brains that were 7.5 years younger than those who didn’t get their om on. The kitchen is also a good place to find anti-ageing weapons for the brain. Coffee, blueberries and red wine have all been shown to ward off cognitive decline.
Keep your peepers going strong by loading up on red capsicum the next time you hit the farmer’s markets – and anything else that’s high in vitamin C or yellow, orange or red. Getting enough vitamin C can lower your risk of cataracts by 33 per cent, a King’s College London study found last year. While scientists from Harvard’s School of Public Health believe caratenoids, which give orange, yellow and red fruit and veg their vibrant hue, helps to prevent macular degeneration.
Being young at heart is only a fox trot away – hooray! Regularly dancing until you’re out of breath or sweaty can lower your risk of death by heart disease by 46 per cent, a team of researchers at the University of Western Sydney revealed last year. They say it’s not just the physical components of busting a move that slow the ageing process but also the playful, social nature of dancing.
Dips and crackers are saltier than seawater and too much salt is bad for your health.
Maintaining a healthy weight is the most effective way to keep your joints creak-free. Sitting less and moving more is a big part of that, a research review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons revealed. “A lot of the deterioration we see with ageing can be attributed to a more sedentary lifestyle instead of ageing itself,” lead author Dr Bryan G. Vopat says. Stretching is also key, researchers at Harvard Medical School believe. It not only fights stiffness but also protects from wear and tear. Another tip: get creative in the kitchen with broccoli. Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK discovered a compound in the green veg that blocks the enzymes that cause osteoarthritis.
Want your tootsies to stay bunion-free? Then wear shoes that fit properly. That means making sure they’re the right size and you have enough room to move your toes freely. Ladies, it’s the perfect excuse to shun heels and pointy shoes – both can increase your risk of developing the nasty bumps.
The best thing you can do to avoid hearing loss is protect your ears from loud noises. Professor David Ryugo from Sydney’s Garvan Institute is an expert. He carries earplugs in his pocket in case he’s stuck in a noisy environment, covers his ears when an ambulance goes by and has farewelled his concert-going days. Try taking a page out of his book. Or up your intake of resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and red wine. A 2013 study from the Henry Ford Hospital in the US suggests a good dose before being exposed to a loud noise can reduce its negative impact on hearing.
It’s sad but true that as we age our sense of taste diminishes. That’s because the number of taste buds we have can halve over the course of a lifetime. Sugary and salty foods as well as anything that’s so hot it burns will speed up this process. So will smoking. Research on the best ways to preserve your taste is scarce but some experts recommend adding spices to your food, chewing thoroughly when eating and making sure there’s a different flavour on every forkful. Sadly, that means ditching the good ol’ habit of saving the best part of dinner until last.
It’s believed our basal metabolic rate – that’s how much energy we burn when resting – can drop by 10 per cent every decade after we turn 40. Thankfully, a switch from refined grains to wholegrains can turbocharge it back into a younger gear. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people who ate a diet packed with wholegrains lost an extra 420kj per day due to an increased resting metabolic rate.
Sun protection ranks number one when it comes to age-proofing your skin. People who use an SPF15 sunscreen or higher every day show 24 per cent less skin ageing than those who don’t, research published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine shows. Not only does sunscreen protect the skin, research in the journal Dermatologic Surgery found a daily application of moisturiser with SPF30 for a year reduced sun spots by 52 per cent, upped skin clarity by 41 per cent and improved skin texture by 40 per cent. Now as you pull your sunscreen out of your bag, put your phone back in it and leave it there. Dermatologists now believe regularly exposing the face to the light and electromagnetic radiation from smartphones can speed up the ageing process and promote wrinkles.
There’s no fancy tricks when it comes to taking good care of your bladder but it’s something to be mindful of every day – up to 10 times a day, if all is well, to be exact. Start by only going to the toilet when you really need to and once you’re there, take your time so your bladder can empty completely. Not doing this can lead to infection. Only hitting the toot when you’re really ready should also mean there’s no need to strain when emptying your bowels. Straining can damage your bladder-controlling pelvic floor muscles.
Fibre is the bowel’s best friend and most Australians aren’t getting enough of it. Men should aim for 30g of dietary fibre every day, while women need 25g daily. A diet high in fibre keeps the digestive system healthy and makes sure our bowel movements are comfortable and regular. Our digestive systems slow with age so the older you get the more important it becomes to make friends with fibre. To hit your target, tuck into wholegrains, vegetables, legumes and two serves of fruit every day. Fibre alone is not enough, though. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily and try to spend at least 30 minutes moving most days of the week. Do all this and your risk of bowel cancer can drop by 75 per cent.