Youth may be wasted on the young, but it’s often squandered by the old. Well, older. Several everyday lifestyle habits have long been linked to premature aging. But science has recently discovered that by making some easy tweaks, you can actually reverse the aging process—to literally make your cells get younger. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
A study published last spring in the journal Aging found it was possible to reduce biological age by three years in eight weeks. Researchers had a test group consume a largely plant-based diet with a probiotic supplement, exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, do relaxation exercises, and sleep for at least seven hours each night. The scientists found that the participants’ DNA became 3.23 years younger, on average, after only two months.
Not getting enough sleep ages you inside and out. Scientists at UCLA discovered that just one night of bad sleep actually makes older adults’ cells age faster. And a study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that women who got good-quality sleep experienced 30% better “skin-barrier recovery” and had “significantly lower intrinsic skin aging” than those who got poor sleep.
Telomeres are the parts of our chromosomes that hold DNA; as we age, they get shorter. A 2017 study published in the journal Preventative Medicine found that adults who were highly physically active (defined as getting 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week) had telomeres that were nine years “younger” than those who were sedentary. Cardio seemed to be more effective than resistance training in that aspect, but resistance training has long-proven age-reversing benefits of its own: It builds bone density, helping stave off osteoporosis.
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“Cumulative DNA damage, immune dysfunctions, and oxidative stress are the most accepted theories regarding aging, and stress is actively involved in each,” wrote the authors of a 2017 study in the journal Maedica. Prolonged stress causes the brain to pump out elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which actually suppresses two natural substances that keep skin looking plump and youthful: hyaluronan synthase and collagen.
“Findings from research studies suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging,” says the American Academy of Dermatology. Remember those telomeres? A study at the University of California-San Francisco found that people who consumed more sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soda, had shorter telomeres. “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging,” the study’s authors wrote. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.