Anti-Aging Remedies for Health and Longevity
Lifestyle changes can bring you close to the fountain of youth
The fountain of youth proves continually elusive despite a growing desire in America to look and feel younger, especially as baby boomers begin to enter their golden years. But John Hibbs, ND, a naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, says health and longevity aren't as hard to attain as some people might think. Mainly, he says, it comes down to lifestyle changes related to nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, and general happiness.
"Each of these factors play such an important role in determining how the body's systems work together," explains Dr. Hibbs, a family practitioner who takes a special interest in environmental illness and detoxification.
Food that will keep you young
Although most people think of fish as the best source of healthy oils, Dr. Hibbs says that raw nuts and seeds and soybeans contain fatty acids that are crucial to healthy cell membrane structure throughout your body.
"You’re literally giving your body a better chance to repair aging and injured cells in the liver and muscles and brain and everywhere – just by eating these fatty acids," Dr. Hibbs says. In addition to benefiting your body internally, these fatty acids also have anti-aging properties for your body's biggest membrane: your skin.
"People who want beautiful skin when they age should eat more raw nuts, seeds and avocados," Dr. Hibbs says. And because vegetables also contain high concentrations of these fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants, he adds, "Stop eating processed foods, and get half of your diet from fruits and vegetables of multiple colors."
Along with your daily dose of these fatty acids, Dr. Hibbs recommends eating anti-inflammatory nutrients such as catechin, found in green tea and other plants, and curcumin, found in turmeric to give your brain and immune system a boost of youth, and to ward off autoimmune diseases and brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
"In addition to vitamins, the body also needs these nutrients to run this marvelous machinery," Dr. Hibbs says.
Behavior is part of the balancing act
Creating a diet that will provide you with these crucial nutrients is just one part of the balancing act. Hibbs explains that getting too little sleep each night can be equally as detrimental to your body as eating a poor diet that results in undernourishment.
"Sleep deprivation is hard on brain and other cell types," Dr. Hibbs says. "They have a tendency to die earlier, which can lead to earlier dementia or osteoporosis as the body breaks down muscle and bone."
Similarly, people who don't exercise frequently enough can lose both muscle and bone mass, which puts them at a greater risk of osteoporosis. Think you're too old to begin an exercise regimen? Think again. Dr. Hibbs says that we can start exercising at any age, and our bodies will respond with stronger muscle mass and thicker bones.
In addition, getting a full night's rest and exercising regularly will help regulate your mood, and happiness is yet another key to living a healthy and long life, according to multiple studies.
What's your biggest challenge?
If you’re on the search for your own personal fountain of youth but aren't sure where to start, Bastyr Center has naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists and counseling providers who are ready to help you discover a healthier path.
In May of 2011, Dr. Hibbs presented a lecture on this subject as part of the Living Naturally Free Lecture Series at Bastyr Center for Natural Health. Video of this and other lectures in the series may be found on the Bastyr University YouTube channel.
To make an appointment at Bastyr Center, call 206.834.4100 or submit our quick contact form.