I found my first grey hair the other day. It, along with an upcoming birthday, has me feeling very aware of my age for the first time in my life. Suddenly, the importance of healthy aging has become very real.
Luckily, naturopathic medicine has many strategies that offer protection against the unnatural signs of aging. Not to say that aging is unnatural, because it is a part of life that I feel grateful to be experiencing. I do not believe, however that our chronological age should determine how we feel, look, or act.
So what can we do to stay feeling vibrant and looking young?
1) Reduce exposure to toxins
Toxins (from pesticides, prescription medications, GMOs, chemicals, etc) all require detoxification by the liver. They also deplete necessary nutrients and generate free radicals, which damage cells and promote aging.
– Buy local and organic when possible. Be particularly careful of the “dirty dozen plus”, which are the most heavily sprayed and relax about the “clean fifteen”. These lists can be found on the Environmental Working Group’s website.
– Reduce chemical exposure by going green with your cleaning products. Baking soda, vinegar, water, and essential oils are often all that’s needed.
– Get expert advice about supplements. Natural does not always mean necessary, safe, or healthy. See a naturopathic doctor about ways to maximize your supplement plan and minimize the need for prescription medications.
– Drink filtered or local spring water. We like Santevia.
2) Improve antioxidant status
Antioxidants protect your healthy cells from damage and reduce the signs of aging. It has been said that aging is an oxidative process, therefore having more antioxidants around makes sense.
– Eat more veggies. The thread that connects all of the “fads” and “special diets” that are bombarding the internet and nutrition field is this simple and consistent message. A couple of suggestions on how you can easily increase your veggie intake:
- Add leafy greens like spinach and kale to fruit smoothies
- Eat sprouts (on sandwiches, burgers, wraps, salads)
- Purée steamed veggies and add them to your pasta sauce
- Make it a goal to “Eat a Rainbow” everyday
– Drink green tea. My favourite is Yogi Green Tea Kombucha.
– Get advice on supplements. Not all supplements are created equal and each body benefits from an individual approach. Some of my go-to antioxidants include Vitamin C, CoQ10, and NAC.
3) Find healthy ways to manage your stress
– Make it a daily practice to meditate & breathe. This is a great handout to explore ways to achieve Life Balance.
– Express gratitude. Simple and profoundly effective.
– As little as 30 minutes five times a week can improve health on every level! Get moving and your future self will thank you.
– Disclosure: Sometimes I forget to drink and go the entire day before I realize I have not once gone to pee! What works best for me is to fill a 2L container in the morning and sit it in front of me on my desk. I know that by noon I should be at least half way thru and if not, I chug 🙂
On that note, looks like I have some catching up to do. Cheers!