How to Slow the Aging Process-in 7 Days
By taking just a few small anti-aging steps every day, you’ll soon be cutting your risk for the diseases that speed the aging process, and also reversing-or at least minimizing-damage from health conditions you may already have. Here’s a seven day plan to slash your risk of age-related ailments.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 1
In a small notebook, starting this morning, write down everything you eat and drink this week. Studies find that people who keep detailed food diaries are more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who don’t. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, a one-week food diary will help you to see where your diet is lacking in terms of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, fibre, and other good-for-you nutrients.
Sort through your kitchen cabinet and pantry and toss anything that has trans-fatty acids. (Hint: If you see the word “hydrogenated” in the list, it has ’em.) Also get rid of any corn, cotton-seed, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oil. If you don’t have olive or canola oil, put them on your shopping list.
Go to your favourite health food store or pharmacy and stock up on a quality multivitamin, a B complex supplement, a C vitamin supplement, a calcium-magnesium-vitamin D supplement, and fish oil. When you get home, put them in a basket on your kitchen counter next to the coffee maker so you remember to take them daily.
Plan a meatless dinner tonight. Try a bean dish, a tofu dish, or whole grain pasta topped with soy crumbles, canned or fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and grated carrots. Remember to eat a salad before you start dining-you’ll eat less overall.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 2
Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1 banana, and 1 scoop of soy protein powder along with 1 cup skim milk or soy milk.
Look up the closest yoga, Pilates or t’ai chi centre. Call and sign up for the first class that fits your schedule.
Go for a lunchtime walk around your neighbourhood or your office complex for 20 to 30 minutes. If the weather is bad, find an indoor mall or walk the halls (and stairs) of your office building if it’s large enough.
Dinner tonight is iron-rich shrimp sautéed in olive oil and garlic with sliced red, yellow, and orange peppers served over brown rice with a side salad. There, you’ve just added a layer of protection against the six contributors to aging: Chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, immune stress, elevated stress hormones and toxin exposure.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 3
Scramble up two omega-3 fatty acid-enriched eggs and serve atop a piece of whole grain toast with a side of cantaloupe for breakfast.
Do the grocery shopping for the week and choose organic produce (especially when buying strawberries, apples, grapes, and pears), free-range chicken, and naturally raised meats (no hormones or antibiotics). Also pick up two types of fish to fix for dinner. Put one package in the freezer and use the other for dinner tonight.
Pull out the bike that’s been gathering dust in the garage and go for a ride through the neighbourhood. If the weather’s bad, clear the detritus off the stationary bike or treadmill and fire it up.
Turn off the television and computer, put the pile of work away, and sit quietly for 10 minutes to meditate as you begin unwinding for bed. Make your bedroom more sleep-friendly by:
- * Adding room-darkening shades
* Buying a white-noise machine
* Clearing out clutter to leave a soothing environment
* Paint the walls a soothing colour (such as sage green)
* Adding a small night-light so you don’t have to turn on the light if you get up to go to the bathroom
* Buy new, quality pillows
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 4
Have a cup of tea this morning instead of coffee (caffeinated is fine), and use honey to sweeten it to get a good dose of antioxidants to start your day.
Call your doctor and schedule a physical. It will include blood work to measure your glucose/insulin levels, liver and kidney function, etc.
Have an afternoon snack. Remember, you’re trying to eat six times (small portions) a day to reduce blood sugar swings. A good option: A bowl of cut-up fruit and a handful of walnuts (antioxidants, fibre, protein, and healthy fats all rolled up into one).
Go see a comic movie with your partner or friend. Laugh heartily to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 5
Make an appointment for a dental cleaning and examination to make sure you don’t have the beginnings of gum disease.
Drink a glass of pomegranate juice with your morning snack for a huge dose of antioxidants.
Have a cup of yogurt with live cultures for your afternoon snack with a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds sprinkled on top. The probiotics in the yogurt enhance your immune system and reduce toxin absorption. The flaxseeds provide blood sugar-reducing fibre and omega-3 fatty acids that quell inflammation.
To reach the goal of 25 grams of fibre per day, reach for these high-fibre foods:
- * An apple (4 grams of fibre)
* 1 cup bran cereal (8 grams of fibre)
* 1 cup black beans with no added lard or other fat (19 grams of fibre)
* 2 slices seven-grain bread (6.5 grams of fibre)
* 1/2 cup raw broccoli (4 grams of fibre)
* 1/2 cup canned chickpeas (6 grams of fibre)
* 3 dried figs (10.5 grams of fibre)
* 1/2 cup fresh peas (9 grams of fibre)
Stop at the store on your way home and pick up a filter for your kitchen faucet. The filter clears out most toxins in your water supply, helping you reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as giving your liver a break.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 6
Serve yourself a little less food than you would normally (unless of course, you’re trying to gain weight). This is one of the best ways to lose weight, and losing weight is one of the best ways to address nearly all of the contributors to aging: Chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, immune stress, elevated stress hormones and toxin exposure.
Go to your local wine store and ask the salesclerk to recommend a good cabernet or merlot for dinner tonight (stick with one glass, though-it’s great for countering oxidative stress, relieving stress, and reducing inflammation).
Sauté a mix of chopped enoki, chanterelle, portobello, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms (or any two from the list) with a clove of minced garlic in olive oil. Serve over whole wheat pasta and get the benefits of the mushrooms’ immune-enhancing effects.
Take two probiotic capsules before you go to bed to strengthen your detoxification system.
ANTI-AGING PLAN: Day 7
Take a buffered baby aspirin with your breakfast to reduce inflammation (if your doctor says it’s okay).
Peruse gardening catalogues or websites and make a plan for your own garden. Even if you live in a small apartment, container gardening can still provide stress relief. If that’s not practical, make a plan to walk regularly in a public garden both for the exercise and the stress relief.
Other proven stress relievers include:
- * Deep breathing
- * Positive thinking to reframe a negative situation
- * Meditation
- * A relaxing hobby like needlepoint, knitting, painting or woodworking
- * A walk, bike ride, swim, or other aerobic activity
- * Aromatherapy
- * A massage
- * Yoga or t’ai chi
- * A warm bath with aromatherapy oils
Make an appointment with a massage therapist for your first sessions. Ask a friend or your doctor for a referral, and find out if your insurance will cover it. Massage is a wonderful stress reliever and a good way to clear out toxins that accumulate in your muscles.
Make a super salad for dinner tonight and get nearly all your daily servings of fruits and vegetables at once. Our favourite combines a base of raw spinach with sliced mushrooms, a diced apple, a can of drained mandarin oranges, a diced red pepper, and a sprinkling of canned chickpeas. Add some drained, canned tuna (albacore to reduce the risk of mercury exposure) or a piece of grilled, wild salmon for some healthy omega-3s and immune-enhancing protein, and mix with a light olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.