A Healthy Lifestyle & Ageing: A Blog to Help You Understand
At The Hart of Health blog, we are fascinated by the idea of slowing down the ageing process and becoming as healthy as possible in all stages of life through diet and lifestyle. It is far easier to make changes when you understand the reasons behind it. Before we can tell you which diet and lifestyle changes to add to your life to slow down the ageing process, we have to explain what happens during ageing, so you understand why.
If you are ready to switch to a healthy lifestyle that will help promote longevity, read the rest of this blog post. Let’s start with cell ageing.
Understanding Cell Ageing and a Healthy Lifestyle
Our cells age just as we do. When a cell becomes too old or unhealthy, it dies. However, that clears the way for new and healthy cells to grow. A cell can only divide itself a limited amount of times. As a cell divides, its telomeres shorten. When the telomeres have become too short, they stop dividing completely.
Telomeres are caps at the end of your chromosomes that are associated with ageing. The faster they shorten, the faster the ageing process.
There are many things that can cause a cell to die, such as radiation, sunlight, harmful substances, carcinogens, and stress, which trigger cell damage. Our approach with this blog is to create content in a way that is not stressful. What point is creating a blog about being healthy if stressing about it is getting in the way of you being as healthy as you can be?
Cells also create their own damage by producing free radicals, which speed up the ageing process.
Our organs can only function as well as their cells do, which is why it is important to nourish our cells, so that they can perform optimally.
Fight free-radical damage by consuming a lot of antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, coffee, and cacao (good excuse to develop a ritual of eating dark chocolate and drinking tea while writing blog posts in the future).
Human Growth Hormone, Lifestyle, and Ageing
As we get older, we start producing less and less Human Growth Hormone (HGH) or Somatotropin. HGH is responsible for stimulating the growth of all tissues of the body. It activates protein synthesis and also the breakdown of fat.
A decline in the production of this hormone leads to fat gain, decreased muscle mass, weakened muscles, reduced energy and stamina, loss of motivation, depression, mood changes, and impaired cognitive (brain) function.
Luckily, you don’t need to rely on supplements to increase your human growth hormone levels, like many bodybuilders do (we’ll write a blog post about it one day), diet and lifestyle should suffice. Make sure that you get enough sleep, as the body produces HGH during the sleep cycle. Also include the following foods, which also have a positive effect on obtaining healthy HGH levels:
Foods that help increase HGH levels are: pineapple, beans, goji berries, coconut oil, beef, yoghurt, dark chocolate, algae, and eggs.
Hyaluronic Acid and Its Role in Healthy Ageing
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the top ingredients used in anti-ageing serums and creams.
Hyaluronic acid supports the functioning of soft tissue. It assists joints and may help combat osteoarthritis. HA also helps cartilage resist compression and slows down the deterioration thereof.
Hyaluronic acid increases skin hydration, which is why it is used in skincare. It increases collagen synthesis, nourishes new cells, and firms skin. Thankfully, you can also get HA through your diet. Eating foods that contain HA can also improve the appearance of wrinkles, which is probably one of the anti-ageing benefits this blogger is the most excited about.
Foods that contain HA are: leafy greens, bone broths, root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes and carrots), broccoli, asparagus, bananas, soy products, and red wine.
Magnesium-rich foods also help increase levels of HA. These include: dark chocolate, leafy greens, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocados, yoghurt, dried fruit, and bananas.
Vitamin C also boosts HA production. Vitamin C-rich foods are: bell peppers, chilli, garlic, citrus fruits, papaya, cabbage, spinach, tomato, and watermelon.
How Free Radicals Cause Ageing
Free radicals damage cells by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation and causing them to die. The free radical theory of ageing states that free radical damage, over time, causes organisms to age. Lifestyle choices contribute greatly to the presence of free radicals. These include things like smoking, pollution, deep-fried foods, heavy metals, industrial solvents, pesticides, and paracetamol. Therefore, in this blog, we suggest following a lifestyle with reduced exposure to these.
A diet rich in vitamins A and C, as well as other antioxidants help protect the body against this damage. Antioxidants achieve this by donating one of their own electrons to the depleted cells and thereby neutralise the free radicals. Antioxidants have also been linked to a decrease in inflammation. Following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for increasing your antioxidant intake.
Antioxidant-rich foods include dark chocolate, berries, beetroot, pomegranate, beans, lentils, red wine, artichokes, pecan nuts, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, coffee, and herbal teas.
Collagen Loss and Ageing. How to Boost Production in a Healthy Way
Collagen loss is one of the major reasons for skin ageing (and this blogger’s biggest concerns). Collagen can be described as the elastic glue that keeps your skin plump and maintains elasticity. It is also responsible for the building and maintaining of cartilage, and is therefore also necessary for joint health.
Reduced collagen production is more intense among women, because they have lower testosterone levels. Lifestyle factors that cause the breakdown of collagen and interfere with the production thereof include smoking, excess sunlight, stress, poor hydration, and sugar. Sugar, in fact, breaks down the collagen in your body in a process called.
Collagen can be consumed directly through healthy options like bone broth and gelatine (you can make your own sugar-free jelly and have a bowl every night before bed).
Foods that stimulate collagen production are: bone broth, gelatine, foods high in Vitamin C, legumes (beans, chickpeas, and lentils), berries, white tea, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots, fish, flaxseed (preferably ground), seeds, nuts, bone broths, chicken, lean meats, and red vegetables.
I hope you liked this blog post about some of what happens during ageing and how lifestyle can slow the process down. You are never too old or too young to start a lifestyle that will benefit you now and in the future.