WRITTEN BY Dr. Joyce Johnson- 13 June 2011
When people ask my beautiful little girls what they want to be when they grow up, they NEVER say "old". I'm certainly not in any hurry to get there either!
Scientists and get-rich-quick artists around the globe have one thing in common; both have spent a lot of time and energy trying to find (and sell) the proverbial "Fountain of Youth" - whether in a pill, cream, injection or an anti-gravity machine! After weight loss, "age loss" is number two on many people's most wanted list!
Can we slow down or counteract the physical damage done by Father Time? To some extent we can. I can definitely see the improvements in my patients who use natural products to keep their minds and bodies ‘young’. Although it is subjective proof, they have reported having more energy, softer skin, brighter eyes and even sharper wits. Changing (bad) habits and doing the obvious - eat well, go out and play, sleep lots - are more likely to extend and enhance your years than a quest for that fantastical fountain.
Best foods for a youthful body and mind include whole foods; that's another way of saying fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise and diet work together. Without weight-bearing exercise, bones can be weakened by osteoporosis, even when calcium intake is high. Exercise and reasonable amounts of good food keep weight down, reducing your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, osteoarthritis and heart disease.
Even the best diets and intentions can fall short. The "1-2-3" supplements I recommend most often as anti-aging basics are a high potency multivitamin, a potent omega-3 supplement and a daily greens drink for extra antioxidant protection. (I like All-Greens.)
Unless you've been hiding under a rock (unlikely if you're reading this), you've heard of antioxidants. Long-term studies show that antioxidants slow degeneration and disease in the body by attacking free radicals that weaken your cells and immune system. Free radicals are natural by-products of many cellular processes, but excess free radicals — from too much sun, tobacco smoke, toxins and radiation for example — can damage cells, increase disease risk and accelerate aging.
PCOs (procyanidolic oligomers) and OPCs (oligomeric procyanidins) are not police forces. They are antioxidant compounds that help stabilize collagen and maintain elastin, two important proteins in your skin and connective tissue. PCOs strengthen capillaries, improve vision, and they also extend the protective effects of other antioxidants, like vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.
Your skin likes lots of antioxidants. Give it fruit and veggies or take some supplements as well as slathering on those beautifully packaged expensive creams.
As for maintaining a healthy brain - that's a whole other story and deserves its own article. After all, what good is a long life if you can't remember it? Live well.