“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” –Mark Twain
Every year, we as consumers open our wallets willingly in exchange for the latest cream or fitness craze that promises to excite and delight. But are we looking and feeling any younger?
Billions of dollars are spent in the search for the anti-aging elixir, that miracle cure that reverses the inevitable decline of our skin’s elasticity, the nimbleness of our limbs and the size of our brain mass. So after decades of searching, are we any closer to finding that fountain of youth?
Open an old-school encyclopedia and search for the brain, and it will expose the wonders of how the human brain stops growing at the age of 28. Even as a child, I remember thinking that 28 was ‘old age’, that my life would be all downhill from that birthday onwards.
In fact, I recall my mother once telling me that on my father’s 30th birthday, he was literally reduced to tears, worried that his youth was behind him.
Funny how age tends to mean so many different things to different people, depending on exactly that – our age.
When I was a youthful 20-year-old, I spent hours sunning myself on toxic sunbeds, happily ignoring people who told me I’d regret it when I was older. “Older” was so far away, I used to think.
And then suddenly “older” arrives.
Sadly there’s not much I can do about the odd skin cancer that needs to be dealt with, however thankfully for us all, we can put away our wallets and be comforted in the knowledge that we do have control over a few of mother natures cruel jokes;
– the elasticity of our skin, the efficiency of our body, as well as our so-called mental decline.
I’m on the greater side of the mid-forties barrier and yet I feel just as physically able and fit as I did in my late twenties. I am mocked all the time for the fact that I choose to keep my body physically strong, that I don’t eat sugar and have never spent more than $30 on a moisturizer from my local grocery store.
And yet, amongst a group of forty something women, I look, act and feel disparately younger. Why?
I don’t use Botox or anti-aging serums, I don’t succumb to the brain fog complaints of forgetfulness, and I never engage in a conversation where the opening line is “Age is such a pain!”
Why is it that Jennifer Aniston, Elle McPherson or Rachel Hunter seem so much more alive today than when they were in their twenties?
To get a little scientific here, cellular regeneration occurs on a molecular level within your skin and brain every 24 hours. Yes, this process slows down as we age, but only if the environment in which our brain functions is altered. Our natural diet choices, the way we move, our sleep patterns or our toxic habits such as smoking or drinking in excess; all play a part in this alteration.
The good news is that each of us has the ability to reverse this damage. We don’t need a miracle cream or a radical dietary fad. All we need is a simple understanding of how our brain and body works, and hey presto – magic!
Cellular repair originates within an area of our brain called the Hippocampus. The hippocampus is, in the simplest form, impacted heavily by stress, whether external or internal. With stress comes atrophy, and the hippocampus is impaired in its role as a cellular and neuron creator.
Over time, as the hippocampus becomes tired, the process of cellular repair and regeneration is altered. In effect, the brain stops firing on all cylinders.
When tired, the sluggishness of your hippocampus has a knock on effect on other neural and hormonal processes also, including that of our Human Growth Hormone which controls the elastin in our skin, as well as our Leptin reserves, meaning we ‘think’ we’re hungry when in reality, we’re entirely full. Thus our girth grows and our skin sags.
The hippocampus is also the area of the brain that controls the storage of new memories, so it makes sense that an otherwise healthy high performer suddenly starts complaining of being a bit forgetful after years of ongoing stress.
4 Anti-Aging Secrets That Will Turn Back The Clock For You
Is there an answer; a quick win, that will turn back the hourglass of time?
What is the secret to the perfect age-defying skin?
1. Feed the Brain with an optimal diet and plenty of water
High levels of blood glucose or inflammatory foods (such as sugar), as well as dehydration causes blood flow to become sluggish. Blood transports essential nutrients to the brain, as well as much needed Oxygen that the brain needs to survive. When the blood flow slows or is restricted (hyperfusion), so to does the transportation of these nutrients. Like a car that is devoid of oil, things start to break and neural atrophy can occur. Be sensible with your diet; reduce the amount of toxins that impair blood flow, such as sugar, nicotine or inflammatory foods. And in reverse, increase your uptake of fluids to ensure your hydration levels are at an optimal level. You’ll know how much water your body needs simply by reviewing the colour of your urine. (Note; dark urine is not good)
2. Get moving
Not only does the lack of movement and exercise increase the rate at which veins thicken and capillaries degrade, but it also reduces the level of natural endorphins in our blood stream that are essential in promoting motivation. It’s long been known that the more you move, the happier you’ll feel, and yet our lives become a rush of daily tasks where we end our working day crashing dramatically on the couch vying never to move again! This is the exact time where we should replace those high heels with walking shoes and get outside for a walk or run.
When stress settles in, we tend to forget to breathe, or when we do, we skip breathe. The brain uses 20% of all the fresh oxygen that we inhale, yet these days, much of that oxygen is either stagnant from indoor recirculation, or we breathe so inefficiently that our brain struggles to get that 20% at all.
It seems odd that in our hyperkinetic world of excessive deadlines, we need applications that remind us to inhale deeply before continuing with our task! Slow your breath, treat your breath as the most important function in your day and make it a conscious task to ensure your brain is supported in its needs.
4. Happiness is…
The receptors in our brain that are primed to create our feel-good hormones (such as Serotonin, Oxytocin and Dopamine) are turned on every time we smile or laugh. The happier we feel, the more motivated we are to move and enjoy life. The more we enjoy life, the more likely we are to eat well and reduce toxic inhibitors. As a child we laugh on average 400x a day, for silly things like farting! Why ever did we stop?!
Our brain, in all its complexity, needs only a few simple things to survive. When we create an environment in which our brain is optimally primed, age will be no barrier. Our memories will return, our skin will shine, and our general health will mirror our intention to be happy in this life.
So, put away your wallets and start looking within, as the elixir of life is within us all.
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