People today are more and more concerned about their health and the rate at which they’re aging. Many eat a diet they consider healthy, follow some sort of exercise routine, and even take vitamin supplements in an attempt to improve or maintain their health. Unfortunately, most do not realize that the very things they’re doing to be healthy and look good are actually hurting their health and accelerating the aging process. We’ve been told lies for years about the proper ways to eat, exercise, and live in order to stay vital, and yet we’re sicker and fatter than ever. Take back your health by focusing on decreasing inflammation, which is at the root of all modern disease. If you’re following any of these common practices, you’re promoting inflammation and paving the way for premature aging and, worse yet, chronic disease.
Do you think that your morning bowl of shredded wheat topped with sliced banana is doing you any favors? Think again. If you want to age faster than anybody in your neighborhood, all you need to do is raise your blood sugar (glucose) by eating plenty of grains, including whole “healthy” grains. You may not think you’re eating much sugar, but most sugar is consumed in the form of grains. Many so-called healthy grain products, like packaged granola bars and oatmeal, contain added sugar which further compounds the issue. A major key to anti-aging lies in hormone regulation. When we eat grains our body quickly turns them into sugar, which spikes our glucose and negatively affects the hormones involved in aging. The three hormones most affected by grain intake are insulin, glucagon, and leptin. To illustrate, someone who is diabetic has high levels of blood glucose. Raised glucose causes dysregulation of these three hormones which in turn causes diabetics to age rapidly from the inside out, leading to premature aging and other diseases. But many Americans, not just diabetics, have elevated glucose due to a steady diet of grains, fruits, and processed sugary foods. When sugar and proteins meet at the cellular level the process of glycation occurs. In a chemical reaction called A.G.E.S. (Advanced Glycation End Products), glucose combines with the skin protein collagen and the degeneration and aging process occurs in the form of wrinkles, age spots, and eventual disease. It’s a very appropriate acronym. Glycation slowly eats away at the body like rust on a car bumper, and contributes to oxidative stress, inflammation and makes you look older than you are. If this isn’t enough, most grains in America today are genetically modified which causes the denaturing of proteins and carbohydrates to the point that the body no longer recognizes them as foods. Eating GMO grains triggers an inflammatory reaction by our immune system and, therefore, an ideal environment for illness to arise and premature aging to occur. I recommend following my Cellular Healing Diet, a true anti-aging way of eating that eliminates grains and sugar to decrease cellular inflammation, regulate hormones and detoxify the body.
Americans fear of fat since the low-fat craze began in the 1980s has had grave consequences. Low-fat, high carbohydrate diets raise triglycerides 1, lower good (HDL) cholesterol 2, actually increase risk of cardiovascular disease 3, and leave you constantly hungry and not looking your best. Low-fat diets also tend to be full of processed diet “foods,” which are not real foods at all but concoctions of sugar, preservatives and chemicals crafted by scientists in a laboratory. Low-fat diets are devoid of the life-giving foods necessary for ideal health and slowed aging, including high-quality animal protein, eggs (with yolks), nuts, oils, and full-fat dairy products. Eating fat actually helps your body burn fat more efficiently. But before you race off to down a plate of fries, understand that there are two kinds of fats: good fats (or “God” fats) and bad fats (link to toxic foods). Common fats found in the form of vegetable oils (i.e. canola and soybean oils) are bad fats, and increase inflammation and contribute to disease and accelerated aging. But the good news is that good fats work to counteract the damage of bad fats and other toxic foods by healing our bodies from the cellular level. Good fats are found in grass-fed animal protein, full-fat cultured dairy and healthy oils such as virgin coconut oil and raw olive oil. Saturated fats and cholesterol have the worst reputation of all the fats, but are absolutely essential in regulating hormones, decreasing inflammation, stabilizing the cell membrane, and preventing disease. Without a doubt, our bodies require good fat for good health. I’m encouraged to observe that Americans are increasingly incorporating fat into their diets again. The recent cover of TIME magazine declaring “Eat Butter” 4 was a step in the right direction. Cutting out grains and sugar and increasing the amount of good fat in your diet are ways to decrease underlying inflammation and, as a result, slow down aging.
Excessive cardio is actually useless for weight-loss 5 and can make you age at a faster rate. The idea that you must spend hours running or on the elliptical machine to achieve optimal fitness is entirely outdated and inaccurate. Excessive cardio actually promotes inflammation in the body 6 and can even cause long-term heart damage 7, thereby doing more harm than good. This is because the body recognizes exercise as a stressor and increases the production of the hormone cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.” Although cortisol production is a normal response to exercise, chronic elevation of the hormone due to excessive cardio leads to oxidative stress and inflammation which eventually causes premature aging and disease. It’s simply too much of a good thing. Of course you should not stop exercising. Most Americans do not get nearly enough physical activity on a regular basis to maintain good health, and it’s crucial to keeping that youthful glow. Just start exercising the smarter way. We recommend burst training, also called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which has been proven to be the most effective exercise to slow down the effects of aging 8 and is also excellent for fat burning 9. Burst training is done in short, intense “bursts” and works by pushing the hormones for weight loss and anti-aging in the right direction by raising human growth hormone 10 and testosterone levels. Human growth hormone is truly our “fountain of youth” and burst training is the most effective exercise to increase it. Rest between workouts is crucial, so burst training should be done every other day or every two days to enjoy the benefits. Burst training in conjunction with weight-lifting are an unbeatable combination to get you into top shape. Considering our jam-packed schedules today, burst training is the ideal way to reap the benefits of exercise
Eating food continually throughout the day has become the norm. Many people eat without realizing the amount of food they’re mindlessly consuming at their desk or in front of the TV. Over-consumption of food, especially processed junk food, contributes to obesity and may also encourage insulin resistance 11, a strong predictor of diabetes 12.
When food consumption is restricted, as in the practice of fasting, human growth hormone is increased 13 and inflammation is decreased. This in turn slows the rate at which cells age. We even observe fasting in nature, when animals fast during times of food scarcity to survive and continue to reproduce. A recent study suggested 14 fasting for three consecutive days actually “flips a switch” to ignite regeneration of the immune system. Dr. Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California, stated “There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial.” Another study suggests fasting may even help as a tool in cancer prevention 15. Fasting is an ancient method for healing and I’ve observed its power with many of my patients. It heals a damaged gut, brings nutrition to a depleted body, boosts fat burning 16, and the decrease in inflammation promotes anti-aging.
What’s more, the benefits are not limited to fasting for many days at a time. Intermittent fasting involves timing your meals so that you eat within a particular window of time each day, which allows you to restrict caloric intake between 500 and 800 calories each day. For example, you could choose to eat between the hours of 12PM and 8PM each day and fast for the remaining 16 hours. This simply requires skipping breakfast. Another approach is fasting for one or two days per week on liquid only. I suggest fasting on cultured whey water to reap the benefits of fasting while ingesting probiotic bacteria to restore the gut. Fasting is truly the quickest way to reboot your system, activate the body’s natural healing capacity, and keep you looking and feeling young. I practice intermittent fasting on a daily basis and feel better than ever.
Our recommendations to help slow down the aging process:
Increase your dietary antioxidant intake in the form of low-glycemic berries, raw organic nuts and even moderate amounts of high quality coffee.
Relax. Stress has hugely detrimental effects on the body and markedly speeds up the rate of aging. Try daily prayer, walks in nature, deep breathing, a hobby, and spending time with your loved ones.
Do not believe your DNA is your destiny. Cutting edge research on genetics and aging have shown that we are not completely at the mercy of our genes, and a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle has a massive impact on whether diseases of our genetic weakness are expressed.
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