Wrinkled and dried skin, graying hair, age spots, painful joints, fat belly, irritability, weak immunity, decreasing muscle mass, tone and strength, memory problems…
Are these signs and symptoms of aging creeping up earlier than you expected? Have you been wondering why you are aging faster than other women your age? Did you know that you have the ability to reverse the signs of premature aging without surgery?
Are You On The Normal Course of Aging or Are You Experiencing Premature Aging?
What is Aging?
“Everybody gets old.” This is an inevitable reality. However, nobody wants it to happen too early. In fact, many women are envious when they see other women in their 40s that look 10 years younger both physically and physiologically than their actual age. And, you might ask, “have I done something wrong to myself?”
Aging is a natural process of growing old. Associated with it are progressive physical and physiological changes including the deterioration of body structures and functions. Mostly, the physical changes that you see every time you check yourself in the mirror are your basis for saying, “I’m getting older.” Here is a summary of the common body changes you may experience as you age:
The above list of body changes is just the superficial criteria of aging. Besides, these body changes were too obvious not to be easily noticed. Aging is more than what is seen by your naked eyes. There are a lot of body changes happening that you might not be aware of or you might have ignored.
There’s something more significant than just the changes in your physical appearance and some body functions. If you want to find an effective anti-aging solution, you need to know the biological markers of aging.
What Are The Biological Markers of Aging
The biological markers of aging refer to the biological processes that can be quantified, measured and are universal. It is essential to know these biological markers as some, if not all, of them can be reversed. Keep in mind that an effective anti-aging strategy is capable of reversing biological markers. Here are some of the biological markers cited by Barry Sears, Ph. D. in his book “The Age-Free Zone:”
Premature Aging – Why Are You Aging Too Fast?
Even if aging is part of the natural life cycle, it is quite alarming when you noticed that your aging process is on a fast track, wherein signs of aging set in earlier than expected. This condition is also known as premature aging. There are multiple factors that accelerate the aging process. However, considering many aging mechanisms, Barry Sears, Ph. D came up with the so-called four pillars of aging:
- Excess insulin
- Excess blood glucose
- Excess free radicals
- Excess cortisol
According to Sears, the regulation and reduction of these pillars are they keys to a successful anti-aging strategy. Here is how the four pillars affect your aging process:
- Excess insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, an organ found in your abdominal area. It helps the body absorb nutrients, particularly the main source of energy – glucose or simple sugar. However, overproduction of insulin accelerates the aging process.
When does the body produce excessive insulin? With excessive calories consumption, the pancreas is triggered to produce more insulin. The primary sources of calories that stimulate insulin production are carbohydrate-rich foods. Calories from protein have a small stimulating effect, but not as much as carbohydrates do. On the other hand, calories from fat have no effect on insulin production.
How does excess insulin accelerate aging? It distorts the hormonal systems, particularly the production of eicosanoids. It increases fat accumulation, which is a biological marker of aging. It also shortens the DNA telomeres. Likewise, it further triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin as a compensatory mechanism.
- Excess blood glucose
Blood glucose (sugar) is the primary source of body energy. As mentioned earlier, the main sources of glucose are carbohydrate-rich foods.
It’s no longer questionable as to how we are getting excessive glucose into our blood stream. Look around your kitchen, what do see? Most of us have pasta, cake, bread, soda, ice cream, chocolates, cereals, potato chips, artificial sweeteners, what else? In other words, carbohydrate-rich foods are a big part of our daily meals. Sometimes, we just can’t get over it; we crave for more, and eat too much.
How does glucose fast track your aging process? Just keep in mind that glucose from carbohydrates is the primary trigger of insulin production. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more elevated your insulin level will be. And, excess insulin is the primary cause of accelerated aging.
- Excess free radicals
Free radicals are natural by-products of the body’s metabolic processes. Every time your body uses energy for different organ functions or activities, such as when you breathe, your heart beats, your muscles are working and all other activities within your body, free radicals are produced. Likewise, when your immune system is fighting against disease-causing microbes (i.e. bacteria, virus) or other foreign bodies, free radicals are generated. Plus, there are a lot of external sources such as environmental pollution, smoking, food preservatives and other toxic substances that gets inside the body.
Despite the fact that free radicals are naturally part of the body’s metabolic processes; it is detrimental to your health when there’s too much of it. Excess free radicals can damage the mitochondrial DNA of your cells, the structure responsible for energy conversion. As a result, your cells produce less energy, but produce more free radicals, which further increases the amount of circulating free radicals in your body. You will have excess free radicals within your body if you have excessive calorie consumption. Overall, your free radical level is dependent on your calorie intake. When you eat too much, you are producing more free radicals.
How do free radicals accelerate aging? They damage your cells and other biological substances in your body and convert them into free radicals. For instance your skin, when there’s too much free radical in your body, it can damage your skin cells, causes mutation and produces new unhealthy skin cells. This gives you that dry, dull and old-looking skin. The same thing happens to all of your body organs attacked by free radicals.
- Excess cortisol
Excess cortisol level is often linked to the aging process. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for the inflammatory and immune response of the body. However, too much cortisol is produced when the insulin level is high. When this happens, excess cortisol shuts down the production of eicosanoids, a key to reverse signs of aging. Likewise, eicosanoids have a significant role in regulating the central nervous system (i.e. brain), digestive, cardiovascular, immune, hormonal and several biological systems in the body.
Now that you know what accelerates your aging process. Keep this in mind, “Aging prematurely is a health issue.” It means you are out of the natural course of aging. It implies you are experiencing at a younger age the deterioration of body structures and functions, which you are not suppose to experience yet. This has a huge impact on your longevity. This has an adverse effect to your health and productivity in life. Aging too early can even affect your body image and self-concept. It affects you holistically.
The onset of the signs of aging varies from every person. It is influenced by your genetics, diet, lifestyle, environment, stress exposure, health practices and many other external factors. Some people seem to have the secret of the fountain of youth, while others are suffering from the curse of aging too fast. Associated with premature aging are several age-related diseases including the following:
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Eye problems (i.e. cataracts, glaucoma)
- Dementia (Alzheimer’s disease)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Urinary incontinence
This is why everybody is in constant search for the best anti-aging solution. It’s not that we don’t want to grow older. It’s just that nobody wants to die young.
How Can You Reverse The Signs of Premature Aging Without Surgery?
You are aware that the four pillars of aging are the roots of why you are aging so fast. However, don’t be intimidated, as you are fully capable of dealing with them. Yes, you are reading it right. There’s an efficient way to deal with the signs of premature aging and their root cause. How? Not by surgery or any magical anti-aging pills, but through CALORIE RESTRICTION.
Calorie restriction is NOT about fasting, crash dieting or starvation. Calorie restriction means limiting the amount of your calorie intake according to your daily nutritional requirement. Again, it does NOT refer to the elimination of micronutrients and macronutrients in your diet. Instead, it is about eating what is adequate.
“ADEQUATE protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals” is the key to a successful anti-aging calorie restriction diet.
You might be thinking of the typical calorie counting. Indeed, it would be much better if you can track your calorie intake. There are a lot of phone apps that can do that. You can check ten popular free weight loss apps HERE that can do the calorie counting job for you. The anti-aging calorie requirement for both men and women must be 40% less than the usual calorie consumption. The standard calorie requirement for a typical female is 2,000 calories/day. After taking away 40%, you will only need 1,200 calories daily.
However, to keep things simple, you may try the zone concept, which is adapted from the Zone Diet of Barry Sears, Ph.D. Here are 4 steps to keep you guided:
Note: Have 3 meals and 2 snacks each day. Use only one-third of the plate for each snack. The interval between each meal is not more than 5 hours or the next meal must be 2-3 hours after a snack.
Note: 1 cup of cooked brown rice is low glycemic. However, DO NOT fill in the 2/3 of your plate with low glycemic whole grains. 1 cup is enough, and then fill in the other 1/3 with low glycemic vegetable dishes.
How Does Calorie Restriction Help You in Reversing Signs of Premature Aging?
Calorie restriction limits your carbohydrate intake. Therefore, your blood glucose level will be regulated properly, which means your insulin level is reduced as well. Increased blood glucose from carbohydrate rich foods is the primary trigger of insulin production.
With less calorie intake, the production of free radicals will be controlled as well because the amount of free radicals is dependent on the amount of calories that you take in. Free radicals are naturally produced when you are converting food into energy. Again, overeating, particularly high calorie containing foods will cause an excessive production of free radicals. So, it is always good to set limits. Moreover, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, substances that help the body counteract the damaging effects of free radicals and even aid in eliminating excess amount of free radicals in the body.
Furthermore, an adequate amount of blood glucose and a properly regulated insulin level will inhibit the overproduction of the cortisol hormone, the hormone that stops eicosanoid formation. With adequate intake of essential fats, you are helping your body to produce sufficient amount of eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are significant anti-aging hormones because they are responsible for maintaining healthy hormonal communication within your system. One of the most important functions of eicosanoid is that it allows insulin to deliver its message to cells to store your primary energy source: glucose.
Overall, calorie restriction addresses the four pillars of aging: it simply reduces excessive glucose, insulin, free radicals and cortisol within your system.
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