If you love life, you want to live as long as possible, but you also want to spend most (ideally all) of your years in good health. Walking the path towards a longer and healthier life requires adopting a few lifestyle habits. Some of those are obvious, some less obvious. When I first started, I was only following a few diet and health tips which were supposedly going to help me controlling my weight and improve my mood. But as my interest in slowing aging grew stronger, I have added more and more parameters to the equation. By continuous experimenting and optimization I have then fine-tuned my lifestyle habits, which are now part of my day-to-day life. And I have seen tremendous results on my mind and body health so far.
Lifestyle Habits To Fight Aging And Live Longer
Those are not rules that I follow diligently and consistently 100% of the time. In fact, I often find myself disregarding some or all of them, in particular on special occasions. I will not refuse a gigantic steak dinner if cooked by my grandma who is nearly 90 years old and who sees me once every two years. Likewise, I will happily share a piece of cake and a few glasses of champagne with my dearest ones as many times as I please. And I’ll even puff away on a shisha when I’m on holidays somewhere exotic.
Enjoying life and some of its guilty pleasures is more important than living a long, dull life full of rules, dos and don’ts. However, a pleasure is only such when enjoyed in moderation. The moment it becomes the norm, it ceases to be a pleasure. And if you keep indulging, it’ll eventually turn into addiction.
This is why the lifestyle habits below l are needed: to enjoy a longer life filled with pleasures. And stay assured, you’ll find that most of these habits are actually pretty easy to adopt and get used to. Let’s go through them, one by one.
Anti Aging Food habits
Let’s start with food, because a “man is what he eats” to quote Feuerbach. And if you eat garbage, you will be garbage. But what and how do you need to eat to live longer and healthier? My personal way of eating is not hard to follow at all, and it is suitable for all ages, genders and body types. Just to warn you though, these guidelines are not to be considered as any kind of diet or weight loss regime , even though weight loss might results from implementing them.
1. No artificial sugar
Processed sugar is one of the biggest “agers” and also killers. Hyper activation of glucose metabolic pathways has been linked to cancer, diabetes and other nasty illnesses. Sugar literally feeds cancer cells. Be it white or brown, I always avoid artificial sugar. I take my coffees rigorously black, no milk, no sugar. I stay away from sugary drinks, even if they do not contain sugar (as sweeteners are also bad). I also avoid bakery products as much as possible through the year, only to indulge in the inevitable celebration cakes (Birthdays, Xmas and whatnot) once in a blue moon. Naturally occurring sugars such as those in fruits and honey are OK, but in moderation.
2. Brown is better than white
I almost always choose whole grain carbs to white carbs. Whole or “brown” carbs include vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, potatoes and whole grains. White carbs are sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice and others. So if choosing between brown bread and white bread, pasta or rice, go for brown if you can. White ones are bad because they spike your glucose levels prompting for roller-coaster type of appetite, which can facilitate the onset of nasty stuff like type II diabetes and other aging-promoting habits.
3. Don’t overeat
Perhaps the best anti-aging food habit, but also a very hard one to follow. Once of the most well-established ways to slow down aging is by caloric restriction. So, I don’t buy into the many short meals a day thing, as it usually results in a higher metabolic rate, and it is more difficult to keep the caloric intake lower. I usually eat 2 times a day only (lunch and dinner), but I never eat to the point of feeling full. For each of the 2 meals a day, I stop eating when reach around 75-80% of my fullness felling. I found that this way I can keep my caloric intake just below the recommended amount for my body weight and lifestyle, and my rate of aging slows down.
4. Skip Breakfast
In line with (moderate) caloric restriction, prolonged fasting can trigger increase in growth hormones and lower your insulin levels, not to mention boost your immune system. Prolonged (12+hours) intermittent fasting has been linked with a reduced aging rate. Just make sure there is at least 12 hours between you have dinner until you eat lunch on the following day. I skip breakfast but I do have 1-2 cups of black coffee in the morning (no milk, no sugar), along with monoatomic gold powder and shilajit.
5. Easy on the booze, and choose the “good spirits”
The only alcoholic drink I enjoy regularly is red wine, because of its anti-aging properties. I sometimes also enjoy tequila, whiskey and rum, very moderately (1-2 times a week). These three good spirits all have health benefits. Tequila is great to lower cholesterol, rum fights anxiety and whiskey contains anti-cancer compounds. The problem with alcohol is that is essentially made from sugar, which means it will increase your caloric intake, and it’s highly addictive. So make sure that, whatever you’re drinking, you keep it to a minimum.
Anti-aging lifestyle habits
Breathe nothing but air
I’m not even going to comment on the spectacular amount of scientific evidence showing how smoking is bad, and accelerates aging. But even when you think you’re just breathing air, you’re most likely still breathing pollutants (out in the streets), or badly filtered air (in your office or car). Take some time every weekend to give you lungs a break and breathe in some fresh air in the nature, be it on a walk in the park, or a hike somewhere in the forest.
Moisturize your face
I use a moisturizing cream on my face every morning right after I wake up and one right before going to bed. Moisturizing will keep your skin hydrated and nourished, and delay the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging skin such as sagging. There are several moisturizing solutions both for men and women. Those based on natural oils are my favorite. Just make sure yours does not contain alcohol, as it can dry your skin rather than lubricate it. I also stay away from those with high humectant content (propylen glycol, for example) as they can have an occlusive effect on your pores, and can also cause a loss of skin natural lubricating and protecting factors.
No direct sunlight into the eyes
X-rays from the sun can cause irreparable damage to the cornea and retina. I always wear sunglasses in the first morning sun and all throughout the day if I’m outside. And if you’re concerned about wrinkles, you’ve got one more reason to wear shades all the time.
No prolonged sunbathing (and no tanning beds either)
I avoid sunbathing for longer than 1-2 hours straight and I never sunbathe at midday. Free radicals from sunrays damage the skin causing mutations to the DNA, leading to cancer or pro-cancerous wounds. Being Italian, I have naturally olive skin, which makes it ok for me to sunbathe a bit as my melanin content is reasonably high. Especially if you’re of fairer skin tone you should avoid sunbathing altogether, as the melanin content in your skin cells is too low for them to cope with high levels of direct sunlight. Tanning beds are not a solution, as they caused similar skin damage to sunlight, if not worse. The nice tan you get from sunbeds or sun rays is actually a visible symptom of DNA damage, as the skin tries to prevent further injury by producing more melanin.
And if you’re a woman, you might have yet another reason to avoid UV radiations from sun and sunbeds. Long-term free radical damage caused by sunrays or tanning beds breaks down the collagen fibers in your tissues, promoting tissue sagging. Men are exposed to the exact same danger, but for women the problem is usually more accentuated because compared to men, they have less muscle fibers, which are more resistant to this phenomenon. This is why, for example, women from colder countries have, on average, more “turgid” breasts than women from hotter countries.
Anti aging exercise
Easy on the running or cardio
Unless you’re trying to lose weight – and even then you would be wrong by doing too much cardio – I would stay away from long distance running and other fully-aerobic resistance training. And this is not only because, contrary to popular belief, cardiovascular-intense exercise, on its own, makes you gain fat, not burn fat. This kind of training creates unnecessary strain on your tendons, and in the long run (literally) can create micro-fractures in your bones leading to higher risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, long sessions of intense running or cardio can increase your level of oxygen free radicals, which are the main players driving the aging process in your body. If you’re in for the long haul, just do a 5-10 min cardio session as a warm up,that’s all. Personally, I warm up on the rowing machine: much more fun and rejuvenating.