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Aging Gracefully


It’s No Mystery: We Now Know How by Kathleen Barnes


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ost of us like to think that we’ll be vibrant, energetic, smart and yes, gorgeous, until the end of our lives. This isn’t an unat- tainable fantasy—even if past poor lifestyle choices may have tarnished some much-anticipated Golden Years. Fortunately, it’s never too late (or too early) to make key small changes that will immediately and profoundly influence our ability to live long and healthy lives. Experts recommend that a handful of simple, scientifically vali- dated health strategies will help us age gracefully and beautifully. “Most of us are living longer, but not necessarily better,” advises Dr. Ar- lene Noodleman, medical co-director of Age Defy Dermatology and Well- ness, in Campbell, California. “Many people face de- cades of chronic debilitat- ing disease, but you can minimize or even elimi- nate that period of life and maximize health. It’s all about your lifestyle.”


Rules to Live By Whether the goal is disease prevention, retaining a sharp mind, weight control, balanc- ing hormones, maintaining good posture or supporting glowing skin, all the experts Natural Awakenings asked agree on a core strategy that can extend life and improve its quality in later years: Take a walk. Or, undertake another enjoyable form of outdoor exercise for about 30 minutes a day.


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Greet the sun. Exposing bare skin to sunlight for 15 minutes three times a week allows natural production of vitamin D. Researchers at Boston Uni- versity, Harvard University and others attest that sufficient doses of the vitamin help prevent cancer, heart disease, dia- betes, depression, obesity, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, relieve menopausal symptoms and support longevity. Drink plenty of water. Hydration is key to cell health and overall proper body functions. Aim for consuming one ounce of water every day for every two pounds of body weight. Eat a healthy diet. This means lots of vegetables and fish, some lean meats and poultry and moder- ate amounts of fruits and grains for weight control; abundant antioxidants to prevent deterioration that leads to chronic disease; and vital nutrients to support and extend life. Avoid sugars in all forms, simple carbohydrates, processed foods and for many, wheat and wheat gluten, especially for those with excess abdominal fat. Get a good night’s sleep. Eight hours is more than beauty sleep. Studies consistently report that it’s essential for energy and the prevention of a host of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer (Nurses’ Health Study; plus UK research in Diabetes Care, the European Heart Journal and British Journal of Cancer). Regular turn- ing in and waking times, plus sleeping in a dark room, are important to optimize melatonin production; it is not true that we need less sleep as we age. Use the right supplements. Take a high-quality multivitamin every day, preferably an organic product based on whole foods for optimum nutri- tion. Fish oil is also essential for nearly everyone for heart, brain and joint health. Vitamin D is critical, especially in the winter months and for darker- skinned people that need greater sun exposure to manufacture it. Also add curcumin; according to numerous clinical studies, including those from Baylor University and the University of California-Los Angeles, it can help prevent and even reverse cancer, Al- zheimer’s, osteoarthritis, skin diseases and digestive disorders.


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