Mimi Kirk is now 74 Years Old
We all age, we will all die. Those are inevitable facts. But the one thing we do have some control over is whether, by our lifestyle and actions, we slow the aging process or speed it up.
Aging is very much like an extremely long version of being bed-ridden. Slowly over time, the body decreases in its capacity to carry out the normal biological functions it performs during youth. The skin gradually loses its elasticity and suppleness, the padding-like connective tissues, sacs and discs found between many joints in the body, including the spinal vertebrae, the knees and the fingers simply wear out and don’t protect the joints anymore, causing pain and stiffness. And although cognitive decline is not a part of the normal aging process, it is nonetheless common in those diagnosed with any form of dementia, which is common in the elderly. Thought processing skills may slow down a little, but brain cells don’t die as you age.
The ability of neural cells to reproduce does slow down, but to prevent that from happening, you only need to increase your brain cognition as you age. You do that by challenging the brain to learn new things, tasks or skills so that new neural pathways continually develop and grow.
The metabolism slows too, and many seniors don’t get the amount of exercise or activity as they used to. So the body doesn’t need to consume as much energy. This process of the body burning energy or fat for fuel is called metabolism. As you slow down and become more sedentary, so does your metabolism.
In regards to vision, the ability of the eye to refract light changes as the aging process gradually alters the curve of the lens and the retina. Common vision problems that generally start to occur by your mid-40s or early 50s include presbyopia, or an inability to read small print or objects close to your eyes.
So aging is a natural process, but one that you go through at your own pace. Some people age faster than others or experience more overall body fitness and decline related to medical conditions or wear and tear. This decline may be related to genetics, heredity or lifestyle choices. Understanding how the body ages in general can help you protect and preserve your physical and mental health as long as possible, and enjoy enhanced quality of life and longevity. But there are two factors that you have control over that can greatly speed up or dramatically slow down the aging process. We will the discuss the first factor in part 1 of this article, so stay tuned for part 2.
Diet and Nutrition: How They Slow Down the Aging Process
The first factor(s) that significantly impacts how quickly you age are diet and nutrition. Diet and nutrition are key to preventing, even reversing the damage done to the body by free radicals.
Free radicals are harmful chemicals in the body that can form as a result of normal bodily processes, or are introduced to the body through environmental pollutants such as automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, pesticides, plastics, aerosol sprays, cleaning agents, and other chemicals that enter the body through touching and breathing, and through the foods we eat. They are unstable compounds that attack and damage cell structures. However, by taking various vitamins and nutrients, it is possible to neutralize and deactivate harmful toxins. Although it is possible to use supplements to assist in this endeavor, the best antioxidants are the ones found in the foods that you eat.
Research suggests that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods reduces damage to cells and bio-chemicals from free radicals. This may slow down, prevent, or even reverse certain diseases that result from cellular damage, and perhaps even slow down the natural aging process. This is the basis for the free-radical theory of aging. So the first step to slowing down the aging process is eating antioxidant-rich foods and taking supplements that create antioxidant production to counter the natural decline that occurs with age.
Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and take a broad spectrum of antioxidant supplements, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and others, that fight free radicals. Foods, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, kale and spinach are some of the examples of fruits and vegetables that offer antioxidant support. They are converted to Vitamin A in the body and help prevent the formation of free radicals. Beta-carotene is a well-known carotenoid and is found in foods with orange colors.
Having five servings per day of fruits and vegetables will give the body more than the recommended daily intake of 200mg of Vitamin C. Strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, red and green peppers, and all citrus fruits provide the protection against problematic reactions within cells caused by free radicals.
Probably the best known antioxidant is Vitamin E. It is crucial for fighting free radicals in the membranes of the cells. Foods source for Vitamin E intake includes almonds and peanuts, olive and canola oils, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
Tuna, eggs, milk and whole grains are good sources of the mineral, Selenium. Like vitamin E, Selenium protects the cell walls against damage caused by free radicals. However, they also support the response of the body’s immune system, which increases its resistance against the development of cancer.
Slowing the aging process is accomplished by doing things that inhibit the damage done by free radicals, and from the aging mechanisms that occur inside the body. Diet and nutrition can slow the rate of aging and the speed at which free radical damage is done. In some cases there is hope that specific types of damage in the body can actually be reversed, and we could, in fact, grow younger as science continues to advance in its study and understanding of the aging process in humans.
Watch this video and see one of the latest advancements in the study on aging.