July 2, 2012

Manic Monday-In Search of the Fountain of Youth

It has been 6 days since my last blog.  I am having slight withdrawl but now that I am back from California and back to work my blogging habbit will return to it's usual daily routine.

Most men and women do not want to see and feel the signs of aging, but before you think about going under the knife or paying too much money on a new fad that claims to be the fountain of youth, think again.  Getting older does not require a high-priced trainer and a bucket o' Botox. You can stay young by exercising, eating healthy, and trying to live your life with as little stress as possible.

Here are a few tips to help you start living a low stress, healthy lifestyle

1.  Go Easy on Yourself

Recent studies show that stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. Surges of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. These days, when our stressors seem unrelenting (a steady stream of job pressures, traffic jams, money problems), chronic doses of adrenaline and cortisol take a heavy toll on our physical and emotional health. "Sixty to 90 percent of all doctors' visits each year are related to anxiety, depression, obsessive anger and hostility, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart attacks -- all problems caused by stress. The most effective way to halt this destructive chain of events is to use the relaxation response.  This technique only needs to be done for as little as 10 minutes a day and it has been known to help prevent age-related changes in the brain. Once or twice daily, for 10 to 20 minutes (yes, you do have the time -- you just have to make it), sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, roll your head, neck, and shoulders, and breathe deeply.  Imagine all your worries and stresses are gone and think about something that makes you happy.  When you're done, keep your eyes closed for an extra minute; slowly allow everyday thoughts to flow back into your mind.  Another way to help with stress and anxiety is to practice yoga, or something active and repetitive, like running. Focus on your breathing and how your feet land with each stride. Get your to-do list out of your head.

2.   Increase your Intake of Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, and seeds) help stabilize your mood, maintain bone strength, and help prevent visible signs of aging by reducing inflammation in the body. Omega-3s also boost the ability of the body's enzymes to pull fat out of storage and use it as energy. Omega-3s keep you healthy and your skin radiant. Virtually every expert agrees that you need two grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day. Eat plenty of fatty fish such as wild salmon (a 3-ounce serving has 6.9 grams), as well as walnuts (one-half ounce has 9.2 grams). If you aren't getting enough omega-3s from your diet, consider taking fish-oil supplements.

3.  Don't be a Couch Potato

Regular exercise helps you lose weight, tone muscles, build healthier bones, and boost mood, and help you think clearly. Studies cited by the National Institute on Aging demonstrate a connection between physical exercise and better brain power. Walking for just 10 minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer's by 40 percent. Physical conditioning reduces stress and anxiety, which wipe out your memory bank.  Make time for three 20-minute workouts a week. Run, bike, swim, dance, walk, just stay active and enjoy yourself.

4.  Feel the love

Anyone who's ever fallen head over heels or discovered an activity that makes them eager to jump out of bed in the morning knows that passion is a powerful drug. It's the central motivation of all human activity. The ability to embrace life boosts self-esteem, fuels the immune system, and improves cardiovascular health. Passion in bed can be particularly beneficial because loving touches release hormones, including oxytocin, that reduce stress and anxiety. If sex is a purely hedonistic process, it won't have the same results. Banish boredom and isolationand rekindle the flame with your partner if needed. Or discover a new love in the form of a mental or physical pursuit: Take up painting, join a book club, start a running program, volunteer.  Do whatever it is that makes you feel energized, happy, and alive.

5.  Drink red wine

Last fall, a groundbreaking study showed that mice on a high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol,  a substance found in the skin of grapes, had longer average lifespans than those not given the resveratrol. According to the study, resveratrol clearly reduced the risk of diabetes and liver problems in mice, leading to a significant decline in obesity-related deaths. But here's the catch: You'd have to drink 180 bottles of red wine a day to get the same benefits.
Researchers are working now to improve the potency of resveratrol in order to develop a pill that contains the optimum amount of the substance. In the meantime, there's plenty of evidence that a little red wine can offset a host of health problems. A new animal study from Johns Hopkins University suggested that red wine can diminish brain damage caused by stroke by as much as 40 percent. And research released last year showed that grape-seed procyanidins, found in red wine, helps reduce arterial clogging, resulting in lower blood-cholesterol levels and a reduction in deaths from heart disease. Until an optimally potent resveratrol pill is available, enjoy red wine, but in moderation . 1 glass a day.

6. Strike a Pose

More energy, better posture, greater flexibility, improved mood, and less stress are just some of the rewards of this mind-body workout. Yoga means 'union' in Sanskrit, through conscious yoga breathing, you become aware of the connection between mind and body. That translates into major anti-aging advantages. Yogic breathing has been shown to oxygenate the cells, ridding them of toxins, helping prevent illness, and making skin radiant. Unlike other exrecises, yoga poses are designed to work the inside of your body as well as the outside, which helps rejuvenate the digestive system, the reproductive system, even the immune system. Yoga is like wringing your body out like a washcloth, It's one of the best ways to keep things moving. Not a fan of Yoga

7. Eat More Super Fruit

There's a good reason we're hearing so much about pomegranates these days. Current studies show that they are more beneficial than other fruits. Pomegranate juice has been found to lower cholesteral and blood pressure, possibly delay the onset of atherosclerosis, and potentially help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease; researchers believe it may also help prevent some forms of cancer from starting or progressing. Pomegranates can also protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays, according to a study published last March.
Another promising anti-ager is the goji berry, a fruit native to Tibet that boasts 500 times more vitamin C by weight than an orange and is considered to be the most abundant source of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, on earth. This little nutritional powerhouse -- which tastes like a denser, sweeter cranberry -- also contains more iron than spinach, 18 amino acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E. The goji berry stimulates the release of human growth hormone, a natural substance in the body that improves our ability to sleep, helps us look younger, reduces fat, improves memory, boosts libido, and enhances the immune system.

 8. Drink Green Tea

The health buzz about this brew keeps getting stronger: Last year, green tea was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer and prevent remissions, and now it's being tested as a way to help prevent bladder, colorectal, and lung cancer recurrence. Green tea is an amazing compound in terms of blocking the signaling network that is linked with the progression of cancer. It's also an effective weight-management agent because it appears to rev up metabolism. Preliminary research indicates that green tea may even help prevent Alzheimer's disease. A Japanese study published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking at least one cup a day can help keep your brain sharp as you get older.

9. Slather your skin with supplements

Retinol, a type of vitamin A is considered the most effective over-the-counter treatment to smooth the skin and prevent wrinkles. Retinols cause the skin to gently peel, revealing a silkier, rosier, and more supple layer. Another anti ager is Alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant that naturally occurs in the body. Alpha lipoic acid is a wonderful anti-aging mechanism. It has been shown to reduce fine lines, improve skin texture, tighten pores, and give skin a general radiance.
Another powerful age-defying ingredient is madecassol, or madecassoside, an Asian plant extract that helps plump the skin, minimize fine lines, and restore a youthful glow. Madecassol has been used in France for decades to help heal scars and wounds. European studies have also found that it helps diminish wrinkles, restores firmness to skin, and hydrates skin cells.

10. Exercise Your Brain

Brain exercises can prevent cognitive decline, and the benefits can last for as many as five years. Just a two-week program of mental training can actually rewire the brain.  Strengthen your mind every day by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or Brain Games  that uses numbers, sequences, and word play to condition the left and right spheres of the brain

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