Six keys to anti-ageing that you probably didn’t know
Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.
Everyone wants to be able to wind back the clock; ageing in reverse – it’s everyone’s dream! There are the usual common sense things like getting plenty of sleep, not smoking, protecting the skin against the sun and reducing stress. But, there are many other things you can be doing to ensure the body keeps functioning optimally and to prevent those wrinkles creeping in early. We have a lot more control over ageing gracefully than what we think.
Start with these 6 tips:
1. Get in your B vitamins
Anti-ageing and the food you put into your body are closely related. A particular biochemical process called methylation helps repair your DNA to prevent ageing, but this is dependent on optimum levels of B vitamins – B6, folate and B12 - and the nutrient, choline, to ensure this process happens smoothly. The richest sources of these vitamins and nutrients are green leafy vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, beans, eggs and fish.
Tip: If you are following a vegan diet, make sure to have your vitamin B12 level tested by your general practitioner as this vitamin is only found naturally in animal products.
2. Cut back on the meat
Everyone seems to be talking about high protein diets these days, but a diet based on animal protein prevents the process of methylation from happening optimally and a high meat intake is another way to speed up the ageing process. We want homocysteine levels in the blood to be low – to allow methylation to occur - and a diet rich in meat and low in leafy greens, wholegrain breads and cereals can mean you’re missing out on your folate.
Tip: We don’t need meat at every meal. Try substituting some meat-based meals for legumes or eggs.
3. Quit the diet
We all know that we should be following a healthy diet to prevent ageing. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like poor diet and lack of exercise result in weight gain, typically at the rate of 0.5-1.0 kg per year. We put our health down the bottom of the priority list and then look for the quick fix to shift the kilos for summer, a wedding or engagement party, or the awards night that fast approaches. But, dieting and continual weight loss attempts are another sure way of ensuring those wrinkles creep in early. Dieting will only make you fatter and someone that has dieted over their lifetime will always be fatter than someone who hasn’t dieted.
Diets advocate restrictions and are founded on the idea that you just need willpower to lose the weight. We all know that a large weight change is possible through dietary restriction. But, eventually the weight will come creeping back and this is due to biology.
The only way to prevent your body fighting the weight loss and regaining the weight is to impose ‘diet breaks’ along the way - a plan that is scientifically proven to work: ‘Interval Weight Loss For Life’.
Tip: Ditch the diet and adopt a program – Interval Weight Loss For Life - that is sustainable, and one that will overcome those biological protections that prevent you from succeeding every single time.
4. Have a drink a day
Yes, alcohol can be healthy if you are drinking it in moderation. Large population based studies have shown that those who drink, but no more than a glass per day, have lower rates of disease and better cognitive health. Just don’t sit down and associate drinking with a wheel of camembert, of which we typically do when getting home from work in the modern-day Western environment.
Tip: Have your drink outside of the kitchen environment to avoid distraction by food and unconsciously snacking.
Engaging with friends, family and the community are key aspects of staying healthy and preventing cognitive decline. It keeps our mind busy and occupied on positive behaviours. And it’s a great way to encourage getting outdoors and to avoid being confined to your home.
But, participating in activities should be fun and certainly not stressful, so only do what you enjoy and only engage with those you like spending time with.
Tip: Socialising doesn’t always have to be centred on eating. Go for a walk with friends or family, work together on a hobby, or even try volunteering at an event.
6. Take control of your health
Fruits and vegetables are a gold mine of longevity-enhancing compounds called antioxidants, which mop up molecules in the body called free radicals that damage our cells. So next time you reach for the slice of cake, say no, and reach for natures treats instead.
95% of the population don’t get enough fruit and vegetables. We have been brainwashed to believe that some fruits and vegetables are bad for our waistline because they contain too much sugar or too many carbs, but this is absolute nonsense. All fruits and vegetables should be part of your daily eating plan - they contain naturally occurring sugars and are packed full of nutrition.
Tip: Stop cutting certain foods and food groups out of your eating plan. This approach is not healthy and will only accelerate the ageing process rather than reversing it.