Getting older is inevitable. Growing old is not. While you may feel like you have no say in how quickly or well you age, the truth is that you do have a lot of control here. You can take proactive steps to ward off chronic and age-related diseases, and even slow down the aging process. By doing that, you’ll be well positioned to enjoy a long, healthy, active life.
To Slow Aging, You Need to Know What Speeds It Up
At its core, aging happens when cells become too old or damaged to function properly and stop dividing. That process, known as cellular senescence, contributes to premature aging and chronic diseases that make you feel old.
The main issues that contribute to cellular damage include:
- Chronic stress
- Free-radical damage
- Lack of restorative sleep
- Low-level systemic inflammation
By addressing these factors head on, you can put the brakes on the aging process and fend off age-related disease and decline for decades.
5 Ways to Live Longer and Healthier
The secret to living longer and healthier isn’t really a secret. You can extend your lifespan and your “healthspan” by taking concrete steps to reduce or eliminate the factors that accelerate aging. Luckily, those steps are straightforward and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
- Adopt an anti-aging diet. The foods you eat have a great impact on your health and longevity. For the best anti-aging protection, focus most of your diet on organically grown, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Round that out with healthy fats, like avocado and extra-virgin olive oil, and grass-fed, pastured, or wild-caught proteins. Avoid ultra-processed, sugary foods that stress your system and contribute to an overall inflammatory state. Minimizing these unhealthy choices helps keep you and your cells young and vital.
- Exercise to stay active and mobile. Regular exercise delivers a wealth of health benefits, many of which contribute to a long and active life. The advantages of exercise include:
- Improving balance and physical stability
- Keeping muscles strong and flexible
- Maintaining bone density
- Preventing falls or minimizing their consequences
- Reducing chronic pain levels
- Warding off cognitive decline
Include weight-bearing aerobic activity, strength training, and gentle stretching to reap a wide variety of benefits from your exercise routine.
- Get the right amount of restorative sleep. You know how refreshed you feel after a good night’s sleep, and how grumpy and groggy you feel when you just haven’t slept long or well enough. Over time, the effects of sleep deprivation add up and contribute to accelerated aging, cognitive decline, and chronic illness. On the flip side, sleeping too much can increase your risk of metabolic disorders like obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Sleep quality also impacts healthy aging. Lack of restorative sleep causes problems with things like long-term and working memory, decision-making skills, and immune function. To sidestep the damage a lack of quality sleep can trigger, prioritize getting seven to nine hours of high-quality shut-eye every night, and give your body the best chance to repair, restore, and revitalize itself.
- Reduce stress and its effects on your body. You’re constantly faced with stressors, including everything from work deadlines to cranky kids. When you live with these non-stop stressors, your body becomes more reactive to their effects. A prolonged stress response has a damaging impact on your cells and organs, causing excess oxidative stress and accelerated aging. But managing stress more effectively can restore mental and physical energy, reduce cellular damage, improve your health, and ward off chronic disease. The best stress-reduction methods include box breathing, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
- Take herbs and nutrients that foster healthy longevity. You can give your body extra support with four key supplements that promote robust health. These life-sustaining compounds help your body maintain cellular health and energy, make necessary repairs, and keep blood flowing smoothly to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant produced by your body. It also plays key roles in cellular defense and energy production, which are both crucial for feeling young and energetic. Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels decline with age, chronic illness, and stress. That leads to increased free radical activity and suboptimal cellular function, which can accelerate aging. Boosting CoQ10 levels with supplements reduces oxidative damage, improves overall quality of life, and slows the aging process.
CoQ10 won’t just make you younger on the inside. This nutrient also affects the visible signs of aging. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study published in BioFactors showed that supplementing with CoQ10 for 12 weeks resulted in reduced wrinkles, a 25 percent increase in skin elasticity, and up to 82 percent improvement in skin smoothness.
Curcumin. The most powerful active compound found in turmeric, curcumin promotes longevity by activating special proteins, such as AMPK, that postpone cellular senescence. It also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection, tackling two main causes of accelerated aging. Research shows that curcumin boosts antioxidant activity, increases cellular lifespan by preserving telomere length, protects brain cells and preserves cognitive function, and reduces chronic pain and inflammation.
Unfortunately, curcumin can be difficult for your body to fully absorb. That’s why it’s important to check the Supplement Facts label for a highly bioavailable form of curcumin known as BCM-95. This unique form of curcumin has been clinically studied for its ability to effectively reduce inflammation.
Melatonin. This well-known sleep aid provides benefits that reach far beyond improving your slumber. It has antidepressant, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties—including the ability to slow the effects of aging. Melatonin also plays a critical role in maintaining brain function and plasticity, which enhances the brain’s ability to create and reorganize connections and pathways when taking in new information. New research shows that melatonin also activates DNA repair pathways to optimize cellular health and function, which is crucial for healthy longevity.
When it does come to sleep quality, duration, and latency, melatonin reigns supreme. A 2022 meta-analysis of 23 randomized clinical trials published in the Journal of Neurology that included 23 randomized clinical trials found that supplementing with melatonin significantly improved sleep quality even for people with insomnia or conditions that interfere with sleep.
Red Ginseng. This ancient adaptogen boosts resilience and helps your body and mind manage stress better. Red ginseng changes the way you process stress, so your body gets the chance to calm down even in the face of constant stressors. A pilot randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in Pharmaceuticals (Basel) showed that red ginseng improved perceived stress, attention, and memory after just one dose—and the benefits improved with repeated daily dosing.
Another clinical trial, also published in Pharmaceuticals (Basel), found that people suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia who took Korean red ginseng daily for one month enjoyed on average 67 percent more energy, a 48 percent improvement in mental clarity, 46 percent better sleep, a 72 percent increase in stamina, and a 44 percent improvement in overall well-being. But for the best results, look for Korean red ginseng that contains high levels of noble ginsenosides, unique compounds that deliver superior results.