Your Longer Life Starts Now With the 25 Best Ways to Always Feel Under 45
Don’t fight it, Dorian Gray. Staying younger isn’t about turning back time, but enjoying what’s left of life—wisely.
Eating well, exercising, stressing less and staying positive, plus the latest creams, supplements and, yes, beer, beer!—we’ve collected the latest advice from the leading experts, and the results will surprise even old-timers bored of the clichés. Herewith, the 25 best ways to always feel under 40. Your longer life starts now.
1. Move it
New research from The Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas claims that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week, improves short-term memory by increasing blood ɻow to the medial temporal lobe—where memories are stored. “Learning becomes more brittle as we age,” says Sandra
Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the institute.
“But the brain’s plasticity allows it to grow, change and heal throughout our lifespan, and aerobic exercise helps this happen.”The sooner you start, the better: Harvard University researchers recently found that women older than 70 who’d regularly participated in physical activity during middle age seemed to be in better health than those who hadn’t.
2. Eat your antioxidants
These free-radical foragers help delay aging and reduce vulnerability to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, so don’t just put them on your face. Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D., a New York-based registered dietitian, calls these edible antioxidants “beauty foods”: dark chocolate (it contains cocoa ɻavanols that increase blood flow to the skin); salmon (its omega-3s prevent collagen breakdown and reduce skin-damaging inɻammation); and green tea (it’s loaded with polyphenols that boost cell turnover to improve skin tone).
3. Be consistent in the kitchen
Don’t pay attention to your diet one minute, and then ditch your good eating habits the next. “This can create a sugar imbalance, which causes confusion, headaches, stress, and fatigue—characteristic features of aging brain syndrome (ABS),” says Naheed Ali, M.D., author of Diabetes and You: A Comprehensive holistic approach. Best to keep to a diet that reduces your reliance on processed foods, stick to the good fats found in chicken, grass-fed
beef and ɹsh, limit alcohol and caʃeine consumption and get rid of the sugar.
4. Pump some iron
The typical American gains a pound of fat and loses a half-pound of muscle yearly from the ages of 30 to 60, says Desmond Ebanks, M.D., former assistant clinical professor of medicine at New York Medical College.
“Loss of muscular strength is a major reason that elderly people lose mobility and independence,” he says. Ebanks suggests an interval-style resistance program for the most musclebuilding beneɹts; brief but intense bouts of strength training, lasting 12 to 20 minutes, have also been shown to help.
For example, in a 12-minute bout of intervals you would do about 30seconds of pushups, then hop on the treadmill for two minutes, then30 seconds of ab curls, then to the bike for 2 minutes, then 30seconds of lunges, then 2 minutes on the rowing machine, and so on.
5. Learn how to feel full
Trimming calories can help reduce cellular inɻammation, which drives the aging process by causing disturbances in hormonal signaling between cells—thus decreasing the eɽcacy of every organ in the body. “Reducing excess calories is only possible if you’re not hungry between meals,” says Barry Sears, M.D., president of the Information Research Foundation. Reach for at least 3 ounces of low-fat protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which increase the release of satiety hormones that stop hunger.
6. Think something nice
Researchers in a 2010 University of California, Los Angeles, the study found that having social exchanges characterized by strain orconɻict in mid-life was associated with poor planning and decisionmaking later in life. Since you can’t always avoid confrontational people, Srini Pillay, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry
at Harvard Medical School, suggests overriding your own cranky thoughts with good ones.
“Part of the reason we get annoyed is that when someone is frustrated, our own brain is wired to detect this and sometimes even mimic it,” he says. “To stop that from happening, think of something positive about the person—as long as it’s true—and your brain will latch on to that thought instead.”
7. Eat bitter
Humans recognize six distinct tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, savory and astringent—and each plays a role in feeding your body and mind. In terms of longevity, however, bitter-tasting foods are the best because they balance sugar cravings, support digestion and metabolize fat, says Stephan Dorlandt, C.N., a clinical nutritionist
and herbalist in Los Angeles.
Tasty bitters include yellow and green veggies like yellow peppers, broccoli rabe, collard greens, mustard greens, radicchio, and chicory. Bonus: Bitter foods also help rebalance your taste buds, causing the ɻavors of natural sugars, like those in milk or apples, to be more pronounced.TAKE VITAMIN D
There’s a reason you keep hearing about the importance of getting enough of this “sunshine vitamin”: “Vitamin D strongly protects against many kinds of cancer and helps keep bones strong,” says Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being.
8. Replace your morning buzz
Reach for that sweet morning latte and you’ll pay for it later, says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., Natural Health advisory board member and author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now. Excess sugar increases your risk of diabetes, blood vessel disease, and autoimmune illnesses—all of which accelerate aging. Instead of coʃee, Teitelbaum suggests having a daily energy drink with a good vitamin powder (likeEnzymatic Therapy’s Energy Revitalization System) and adding the special healthy sugar called D-ribose. In a recent study, D-ribose increased energy an average of 61% after three weeks.
9. Eat like a Greek
In a 2011 Rush University Medical Center study, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet, long known to be heart-healthy and reduce the risk of diabetes and certain cancers, is now also associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in older people.
This diet—rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish, potatoes and moderate amounts of wine—helped prevent Alzheimer’s disease and create a sunny disposition in subjects.
10. Take your magnesium
Seventy-ɹve percent of Americans don’t get their RecommendedDietary Allowance (RDA) of this important nutrient, which aʃectsage-related conditions like bone, heart and brain health, says natural Health advisory board member Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.“Aging-related issues like constipation, memory decline, mobility and sensitivity to loud noises are also helped by magnesium,” she says.
One of the most inexpensive and absorbable options is powdered magnesium citrate, which you can take with hot or cold water.A serving a day of magnesium-rich cacao, kelp and kale can also help.
11. Whittle your middle
A 2010 American Cancer Society study found that a large waist size doubled one’s risk of dying from any cause, regardless of whether you’re normal weight, overweight or obese.
“Abdominal fat cells actively secrete compounds that increase inɻammation and reduce sensitivity to insulin, thus increasing the storage of fat,” says Andrew Weil, M.D., founder, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Highly processed and rapidly digested carbohydrates, such as products made with ɻour, accelerate this cycle. So eat low-glycemic index foods (think whole, plant-based picks), and exercise regularly to ɹght fat.
12. Beware of calorie trends
New studies show cutting calories leads to longevity in mammals, but Ebanks says to be careful before subscribing to diet fads.“Calorie restriction presumes all calories are equal, but they’re not,” he says, noting that if you’re exercising and consuming an appropriate amount of protein and healthy fat, there’s less need to watch calories because you’ll probably become satiated before overeating.
If insuɽcient calories are consumed, however, he says you won’t have the energy for necessary, vigorous exercise.
“Do you want to live better for as many years as you can, or live longer irrespective of the quality?” he asks. The Calorie Restriction Society is a proponent of the “more years” philosophy, but it requires trimming calories by 30% to 40%—a level Ebanks says is not tolerable or sustainable for most people.
But there’s more to it than simple weight control. “TraditionalChinese Medicine recommends that you never eat more than 80%of your capacity so you don’t overburden your organs of digestion, assimilation, and elimination,” says Efrem Korngold, O.M.D., L.Ac.,co-director of San Francisco’s Chinese Medicine Works. “That way there is more qi vital power—available to sustain and nurture the rest of the body and mind.”
13. Take your Ls if you’re vegetarian
Supplements that start with L, please, Alex. L-glutamine and L-arginine are amino acids found mostly in protein-rich animal sources (chicken, turkey), seafood (halibut, lobster, salmon) and wild game (pheasant, quail). A lack of L-glutamine and L-arginine vegetarians can make them age faster.
To supplement, take 2 grams of L-glutamine and 1 gram a day of L-arginine at night. Studies show these supplements can tighten skin, increase fat loss and help build muscle as we age.
14. Eat your water
Mmm, broccoli. To slow or reverse age-related cellular dehydration, aim to eat three or more fruits and ɹve or more vegetables per day to obtain optimal cell hydration, says Howard Murad, M.D., board-certiɹed dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA.
In fact, he suggests replacing at least one glass of water a day with a raw veggie or fruit: “Colorful,water-rich produce is the best form of water for your cells, as fruits and vegetables provide structured water and antioxidants, so hydration stays in your system long enough for your body to put it to good use.”
15. Get healthy, not skinny
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center forming/Body Health in Boston, says being thin doesn’t necessarily make you live longer. “Being in the middle zone of the BMI scale, somewhere around 24 to 27, is actually associated with the longest life span,” she says. Just be sure to choose your calories wisely. A2011 University of Maryland study says eating relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, poultry, ɹsh, and low-fat dairy leads to superior nutritional status and quality of life in older adults, but those who indulged in sweets and desserts had a 37%higher risk of death.
16. Think young
There’s a correlation between how women look (and feel) after having their hair cut and colored, according to a study by EllenLanger, Ph.D., a mind-body psychology professor at Harvard.Independent volunteers rated women before and after they left the salon, and those ladies who believed having their hair dyed made them look younger actually did look younger after the salon visit.Those who didn’t. The takeaway? “Feeling young makes you look younger,” says Langer. “So act your inner age.”
17. Prepare your body to sleep
Logging eight hours of shut-eye can make you look as many as three years younger, says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection.
If you have trouble relaxing into a sound slumber, prepare for it with a series of bedtime rituals:
Don’t drink caʃeine four to six hours before bed; eat a full meal three hours before and no later; and log of electronics and dim the lights with an hour to go.
18. Snack your way to good sex
Those Golden Girls were on to something: Sex is a powerful anti-aging tool. Some studies say it can prolong your life up to 20 years, and others insist getting some reduces your mortality rate by half.
So how can you get in the mood for more action? Eat strategically, says Eric R. Braverman, M.D. Foods with phytoestrogens, such as soy and fish, keep sex hormones at younger levels; lean proteins like turkey and duck contain tyrosine and phenylalanine, which boost desire; healthy fats like low-fat yogurt and eggs are packed with choline, a precursor to the brain chemical that controls arousal and lubrication; and high-ɹber vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are high in glutamine and inositol, which are precursors to the brain chemical that helps you relax so you can climax.
WALK AND TALK, Another health factor common to populations who live the longest is good social support. “When you filter through the evidence to look at what is proven to work for longevity, the people who live the longest have good interpersonal connections. They have a reason to be alive,” says Domar.
Working out with a friend is one easy way to promote interpersonal connections.
“I know a lot of women who walked their way through menopause together,” says yoga therapist CarolKrucoff. “They benefited from the hormone-regulating effects of cardiovascular activity and had the very therapeutic benefit of spending time with a friend.”Andrew Weil, M.D.’s Best Anti-AgingAdviceBesides adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, here are six simple steps that Weil believes can help you live a longer, healthier life:
Get regular physical activity and be willing to adapt itas your body changes.
Make sure to get good rest and sleep; sleep in total darkness.
Find some form of stress neutralization, whether its meditation or simple breathing exercises.
Maintain good social and intellectual connections.
Seek out people who have the healthful habits you are striving for.
Have fun and play.
Stress is a big pressure for women, and not recognizing and taking measures to protect yourself from it can be very destructive. Also, because women are judged more on appearance, they tend to invest more energy in anti-aging strategies, instead of learning to age in a healthy way.
It’s impossible to slow it, so it’s better to focus on the positive aspects, namely increased wisdom and experience, more equanimity, depth of character and the ability to roll with life’s sups and downs. Studies are even showing that some parts of memory improve with age. Lots of things get better as you get older; focus on those.
19. Switch positions
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, speciɹc areas of the genitals are linked to your internal organs. “This is one-way Chinese medicine believes having regular sex aʃects overall longevity and health,” says Jill Blakeway, L.Ac., an herbalist and co-director of YinOva Center in New York City. “To achieve inner balance, you must
stimulate all of the genital organs and not just one bit of them, which might overstimulate one particular organ at the expense of others.” Vary positions during sex to make sure all your insides get the attention they need.
20. Take more naps
“The brain gets slower as we age, in terms of reaction and processing time, but it rebounds when we sleep,” says Chapman. “Inthe long run, sleep staves oʃ those losses.” Indeed, a 2009University of California, Berkeley, study found that sleep helps the brain consolidate ideas. While naps don’t count as part of your requisite seven to eight hours, they can help restore brain function if you didn’t get your ɹll the night before.
HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE What’s the best predictor of longevity? It’s not blood lipids, family history, exercise or diet. According to Mimi Guarneri, M.D., medical director for Scripps Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, Calif., it’s personal happiness, joy, and appreciation.
“If you are the type of person who is focused on doom and gloom—if you’re angry, hostile or cynical—you won’t live as long,” she says. “You need to come to your life every single day and find something to appreciate.”Guarneri recommends creating a practice of gratitude. “If it doesn’t come naturally, force yourself,” she recommends. “Take a look around you—underneath your negative emotions—and find what you have to give thanks for.” One way to do this: Before bed, make a list of at least 10 things that went your way during the day,no matter how small. Over time, you’ll see that you do have blessings to count.
21. Believe you’re getting better with age
Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., director of the University of California, SanDiego’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging, says people who think they’re aging well aren’t necessarily the healthiest physically.
“Yet they generally possess a positive, yet realistic, attitude about their lives and an ability to adapt to change,” he says. Tend to look at the
glass as half empty? Try writing three positive things that happen each day in a journal to redirect your thoughts.
22. Take your herbs
Adaptogenic herbs help the body’s ability to adapt to daily stresses and are often included in Chinese and Western anti-aging medicines. “They help restore and maintain vitality and well-being,” says Rosemary Gladstar, founder of the California School of HerbalStudies and author of Herbs for Longevity and Radiant Well Being.
Start with herbs like Rhodiola (which reduces stress and boosts energy), reishi (which protects the liver and heart and reduces cholesterol), and holy basil (which reduces anxiety and mental fog), and talk to a holistically-minded doc about the right doses of each
23. Keep working
New data from the United States, England, and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline. Researchers found that the longer subjects kept working, the better they did on memory skills tests in their early 60s. Some experts say social and personality skills known to support a healthy aging brain—like getting up in the morning, dealing with others, knowing the importance of being prompt and trustworthy—may play a role here, because these factors are valued in the work environment.
24. Don’t be a buzzkill
A 2010 University of Texas study conducted over 28 years found that the way we explain the events in our lives can be a signiɹcantpredictor of longevity. “Our thoughts, feelings and the way we respond to stress are powerful genetic and immune modulators and affect the way and rate at which we age,” says Brenda Stockdale, director of mind-body medicine at RC Cancer Centers of Georgia and author of You Can Beat the Odds. So, try to be a little more optimistic and choose to see the good in a situation—or at least talk about what went right along with what went wrong when you’ resharing a story.
25. Have a beer. Yes, a beer.
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that beer is a substantial source of silicon, which stimulates the production of collagen to keep bones strong and joints healthy by maintainingɻexibility in cartilage. The study found that most beer brands contain between 6 milligrams and 57 milligrams of silicon per liter, and those with high levels of malted barley and hops have the most. We say go organic and drink in moderation. If your frat days are over, silicon can also be found in foods like bananas and brown rice.