4 causes of aging

In his book, “The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer”, Johnny Bowden identifies what he calls “the four horsemen of aging,” which are thought to be dangerous processes that age our bodies and are triggered by the foods we eat and the lifestyles we lead. Conquer these four horsemen, Bowden contends, and you can slow down the aging process.

1. Free radicals: Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that attack your cells and damage your DNA. You can limit your exposure to them by avoiding cigarettes, trans fats, charred meats, and other sources.

Organic fruits and vegetables will also limit your exposure to pesticides and herbicides, which contain the harmful molecules.

2. Inflammation: Inflammation is a major player in many diseases of aging, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. One way to avoid it is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet.

Other great anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, dark chocolate, and the anti-aging chemical resveratrol. Exercise is another great way to lower inflammation.

3. Glycation: Glycation is what happens when sugar mixes with proteins and fats to form molecules that promote aging. Advanced glycation end products, or AGEs (Isn’t that an appropriate acronym?), are thought to accelerate your aging process by churning out free radicals and promoting inflammation. One way to avoid ingesting AGEs is to turn down the heat when you cook. The browning effect of high-heat cooking causes these molecules to form. Limiting your intake of sugar-filled foods in general will also help.

4. Stress: Stress initiates the release of a variety of hormones that make your pulse race and cause your blood pressure to rise. The hormone cortisol, released to lessen these effects, also creates problems when it remains chronically elevated. Try practicing relaxation techniques to help manage stress, and get enough sleep every night.

U.S. News & World Report July 29, 2010

  

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