by Dr Sara Gottfried
Whilst it would definitely be nice to shift some stubborn kilos (one of the first signs of ageing), our main goal is we want to feel healthy and energetic, not just today but also in 10 years time, in 20 years time and in 30 years and beyond. Dr Sara Gottfried has been using recent scientific research to develop a programme to stay young as long as possible. And wrote a book about it: 'Younger, the breakthrough programme to reset our genes and reverse ageing' Only recently genetic testing has become affordable enough to extensively use in research about ageing, metabolism, weight and disease.
This gives us the opportunity to impact ageing and disease processes in our body and be healthier for longer. We read her book with the following questions in mind (if you're not interested in the science stuff skip to the bottom to find out what practical actions combat ageing)
What happens as we get older?
Ageing impacts body and mind in five ways leading to changes in muscles, brain, hormones, the gut and toxic fat
- Metabolism slows down resulting in more fat and less muscle. Cells are less able to turn food and oxygen into energy due to eating empty calories, overprocessed foods and exposure to toxins.
- Brain cells lose speed and get killed by excess stress. Result: forgetting things, not sleeping well, feeling foggy after alcohol, increased risk for Alzheimer
- Hormones: both men and women make less testosterone (meaning more fat deposits on hips). Women make less estrogen impacting hair and skin and together with testosterone bones and sex drive. Thyroid slows down so you put on weight. Cells become more insensitive to insuline leading to raised blood sugar in the morning (so you feel foggier, crave carbs, get wrinkles and have a higher mortality)
- Gut: a gut overstimulated by food and stress leads to inflammation, auto immune conditions, food intolerances
- Toxins from the environment (smoke, preservatives, pesticides...) accelerate ageing
is there any way we can influence our genes?
The good news: yes! Before 2003, DNA was supposed to be the blueprint for the cause of all disease. However recently, research has found that whether you get certain diseases or not is not set in your genes but rather the result of the interaction between your DNA, lifestyle and environment. We all have the power to reconfigure the way our DNA talks to our body (called gene expression). What you eat, how well you sleep, the amount of exercise you get, how you manage your stress and boost your brain, all these actions can help turning on the good parts of your gene expression and turn off the bad. This means upgrading your lifestyle now will give you more energy, better skin, less stress instead of feeling like ageing is a downhill decline.
WHAT ARE FIVE SIMPLE THINGS TO DO TO SLOW AGEING?
The program outlined in the Younger book is divided into 7 weeks centred around: feed, sleep, move, release, expose, soothe, think. If you are interested in this do buy the book as it will allow you to focus on each of these and understand the why behind them (which always makes it easier to stick to something in our opinion).
Here are some easy to follow actions as an example
Replace plastic food containers with glass
The synthetic chemicals from plastic containers can end up in your food (especially when using them to heat food in the microwave). Use glass or stainless steel instead (we love these containers).
Add 2 servings of vegetables to your day
The recommended daily intake of vegetables and fruit is 9 - 11 servings. Make a green smoothie and add two servings easily!
Get up from your desk every 45 minutes
A lack of exercise has been proven to lead to osteoporosis, heart damage, muscle decline, hormone problems, a bad back, poor circulation, diabetes, cardio vascular disease, cancer.... But even if you already exercise an hour a day, your workout can't offset all the damage of excessive sitting. Set a timer on your smartphone or download an app.
Go for a lunch time walk
Exposing yourself to bright light during the day will increase the quality of your sleep which improves your immune system, helps protect against cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart disease, and improves brain function.
Include a fast day this week
Occasionally restricting food has been shown to slow the ageing process by turning off an anti longevity gene. What seems to work best for many is intermittent fasting: stop eating at 6pm and eat again at noon the next day for an 18 hour fast. Fasting twice a week will also help to lose weight.
This a review of the book Younger. The breakthrough programme to reset your genes and reverse ageing by Dr Sara Gottfried.