The Science behind Healthy Aging

There are lots and lots of people ready to give you advice on how to age well. The problem with most of it is that there’s no real scientific basis for what they’re saying. Most people are simply repeating the things they read on social media about the topic. If you really want to know how to age well then you have to look at things that can be objectively proven. That’s what you can get from a recent article on WebMD. They go into detail about real, scientific things that you can do to meet the aging process head on. Here’s what they have to say about it.

Get on Top of your Health

The very first thing you have to do is figure out where you are with your health. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor and get a full physical. It’s also a good idea to get checked by a dentist and an eye doctor as well. Here are the things you want to get checked:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Osteoporosis

Once you get those results, you’ll know what you have to focus on fixing first.

Change the Way You Eat

A diet is a way of eating, not what you eat. If you want to eat a balanced diet that focuses on whole foods then you have to load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy while eating less fatty meats, butter, sugar, salt, and packaged foods. Many studies have found that this diet can help you live longer and protects against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe one way it works is by physically changing parts of your chromosomes linked to age-related diseases and other things.

Get Out and Walk

It’s also very important that you get outside and exercise your body. You don’t have to go overboard here. All it takes is a 30 minute walk a day and you’ll be in a pretty good place. If that’s too much, break it up into shorter strolls. Regular exercise, especially if you do it briskly enough to feel a little breathless, delivers huge health benefits. It helps keep brain cells healthy by delivering more blood and oxygen. In fact, research suggests aerobic exercise may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The more you can control your weight, the easier aging well will be.

Get the Right Supplements

Supplements are things that you don’t want to live without. It’s better to get what you need from your food, but sometimes that’s just impossible to do. The things you really want to make sure you get are:

  • Calcium to keep your bones strong
  • Vitamin D if you can’t get enough of it from the sun
  • Vitamin B12 is great in pill form because seniors have a tough time absorbing it from food.
  • Vitamin B6 keeps your red blood cells strong to carry oxygen throughout your body

Add Fiber

Adding fiber is an easy way to eat your way to better health with every meal and snack. Swap out your white bread for whole grain. Add kidney beans to your soup or apple slices to your salad. Fiber fills you up and for longer. It cuts your cholesterol levels and lowers your chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. It will also help you avoid constipation. You’re going to have to deal with that much more often as you age, and men should be getting 30 grams of fiber a day. Women should be going for 21 grams a day.

Stay Positive

Finally, positive thinking can be a powerful ally. When you choose to be optimistic and grateful, your mind and body respond in kind. People with a positive outlook live longer and have fewer heart attacks and depression than more negative people. One study found that thinking positively about getting older can extend your lifespan by 7.5 years. And that’s after accounting for things such as gender, wealth, and overall health. It’s really one of the most important aspects of your health, as long as you’re still taking care of everything else. Here are some easy ways to improve your outlook on life:

  • Smile, even fake smile. It can help lower stress.
  • Reframe. Spin your thoughts to the good things instead of dwelling on the bad.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Do good things for others.
  • Surround yourself with people who boost your spirits.
  • Accept things you can’t change.

So, free your mind and your body will follow!