Stop the Clock – Anti-Aging Hacks We Can All Do
- Written by Melanie Smith
- May 11, 2022
Tick-tock. The reality of aging is there, we all know it, and it’s okay – because we can influence it in the best possible ways!
We often think about aging on the outside, but beneath the surface, it’s stemming from what’s going on on the inside. Unless you want to cut and paste every inch of your body, the best way to prevent early decline is simply to go back to basics and retain youth from the inside at the molecular level so that you will also see and feel the effects both inside and out.
Luckily, we have a huge amount of control over the trajectory of our aging process. We can make the choices that best serve us over time. Aging is about the quality of cell health as they regenerate over the years of our life, and we can give our cells some help along the way.
Here are some top tips to maximise youthfulness from the inside out:
1. Cut Down or Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol is extremely aging to the body as it depletes nutrients, hardens cell walls and blocks the ability of your body to absorb nutrients. These all make way for free radical damage to age our cells. We know that nutrient absorption is one of the key factors to health, so less alcohol is essential for your anti-aging box of tricks. Alcohol ages the brain too, as it accelerates degenerative change [1,2].
What about red wine for the antioxidants? Well, you would have to drink 280L of wine to get a single functional dose of resveratrol. In the meantime, you are stopping your cells’ ability to uptake nutrients. It’s an inconvenient truth, to say the least!
2. Eat What Your Body Is Designed to Eat
Cravings, convenience and preferences aside, our bodies are geared to eat foods that are healthful, nutrient-dense and easy to digest. Fresh, unprocessed foods are what your body wants, and are what your body will thrive best on overtime. Eat until you can sense you’ve had enough, and stop. Over-eating, even with healthy foods will still overwork the body.
We are just walking chemistry sets after all, and require the mathematical balance of nutrients to be able to run efficiently in the long run. If you think of the body as a bank, every time you eat unhealthy foods, you debit the body. Every time you eat healthy foods, you credit the body. The more credit you have, the healthier the ‘account’ and the longer it will last you, and the more you can use it for!
There are multiple studies on the benefits of a healthy diet for aging, and this one sums it up quite nicely – ‘’Diet is one of the modifiable factors for preventing age-related diseases and preserving overall good health status during aging. Optimizing individuals’ intrinsic capacity, including domains in cognition, psychological, sensory function, vitality, and locomotion, has been proposed as a model of healthy aging by the World Health Organization.’’ 
For brain health, macro and micronutrients maximise the functioning of the microbiota-gut-brain axis which offers therapeutic value for improving cognitive functioning and preserving the brain .
3. Don’t Overwork the Body With Too Much Coffee or Energy Drinks
Pushing the body unnaturally using too much caffeine and other enhancers overstimulates the energy pathways and are very draining on the body long term. This will have a deleterious effect over time and leads to excess strain on the heart that ultimately wears the body out prematurely.
These compounds increase heart rate and as they often replace sleep, they are reducing the overall sleeping hours that your body needs to rest and recover. It also affects your resting heart rate, where every additional heartbeat per minute increases a person’s overall risk of early death by 3%. Caffeine, in particular, has also been shown to reduce blood flow to the brain by 30% which is not great for wanting to keep our minds sharp over the lifespan [5,6,7,8].
This follows on from the last point – instead of forcing your body to stay awake or ignoring your body’s signals that it needs rest, make sure you prioritise sleep and recharge your body properly. Sleep is the ‘forgotten fountain of youth’ – yes that means ‘beauty sleep’ really is a thing, and poor sleep will result in premature aging. Quality, deep sleep is really what we’re aiming for, as even a single night of insufficient sleep (less than 7 hours) can make an adult’s cells age quicker, which increases the toll on the body and leads to health conditions that age the body faster.
One particular study has succinctly quoted: ‘Improving sleep quantity and quality could be considered an anti-aging therapeutic approach for the prevention, slowing, and even reversal of the physiological decline and degenerative pathologies that are certainly related to the aging process. [8, 9].
It’s no surprise that exercise should be in your anti-aging repertoire. Exercise is one of your best defences against aging as it causes old existing cells to behave more like young cells, that is, it has a rejuvenating effect. It stimulates muscle stem cells and even better it can lengthen your telomeres, which are the caps on the end of the DNA strands that shorten as we age. Exercise also stimulates BDNF – brain-derived nootropic factor – which is considered a positive factor against brain aging [10,11, 12].
If we look at the habits of the people who age well, it always includes a healthy mindset. Our brain is a muscle that we need to use, tone and build. We have a huge capacity to shape the way we think and this includes creating a positive emotional state for ourselves, setting realistic goals, and minimising life stress by using a solution-oriented approach. We know that stress shrinks the brain, so it’s reassuring that we live in an era where there are many options available to us to help us create a more robust mindset, to reduce the risk of early cognitive decline, and for a more fulfilling, enriching life experience.
7. Use the What Nature Designed to Keep Your Brain and Body in Top Shape
Nature has provided us with an army of goodies that we can use to our advantage in our quest to maximise our biological clock.
Herbs and functional foods that strengthen the body’s resistance to disease and degeneration also give us an antioxidant advantage. Some examples include the ginseng family, Brahmi, pine bark and plant foods rich in polyphenols such as grapes, cacao, and berries that all work towards keeping our cells healthier. The quality of our cell turnover is easily influenced by what we put in the body. How? Through compounds that work WITH the body rather than against it.
Stay tuned for the next blog where we go into more detail about these and other TOP ANTI-AGING SUPPLEMENTS.
- Alcohol and nutrition. NIH US; 2000. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm
- R C Wiggins et al.Effects of aging and alcohol on the biochemical composition of the histologically normal human brain. J Metab Brain Dis; 1998. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3211076/
- Patrick J Skerrett et al. Essentials of Healthy Eating: A Guide. J Midwifery Women’s Health; 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471136/
- Thayza Marins Melzer et al. In Pursuit of Healthy Aging: Effects of Nutrition on Brain Function. Int J Mol Sci 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34068525/
- Camelia Munteanu et al. Long-term consumption of energy drinks induces biochemical and ultrastructural alterations in the heart muscle. Anatol J Cardiol. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6280269/
- Sachin A. Shah. Impact of High Volume Energy Drink Consumption on Electrocardiographic and Blood Pressure Parameters: A Randomized Trial. JAHA; 2019. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.011318
- Xiao-jing Chen et al. Impact of changes in heart rate with age on all-cause death and cardiovascular events in 50-year-old men from the general population. J Open Heart; 2019. https://openheart.bmj.com/content/6/1/e000856
- Merideth A. Addicott et al. The effect of daily caffeine use on cerebral blood flow: How much caffeine can we tolerate? J Hum Brain Mapp. 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748160/
- Sol Mochón-Benguigui et al. Is Sleep Associated with the S-Klotho Anti-Aging Protein in Sedentary Middle-Aged Adults? The FIT-AGEING Study. J Antiox.; 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7463654/
- Judith E Carroll. Partial sleep deprivation activates the DNA damage response (DDR) and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in aged adult humans. J Brain Behav Immun; 2016. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26336034/
- Nicole C. Arsenis et al. Physical activity and telomere length: Impact of aging and potential mechanisms of action. Oncotarget; 2017. https://www.oncotarget.com/article/16726/text/
- Jamie O Brett. Exercise rejuvenates quiescent skeletal muscle stem cells in old mice through the restoration of Cyclin D1. J Nat Metab; 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32601609/
- Claudio Molinari. The Role of BDNF on Aging-Modulation Markers. J Brain Science; 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7287884/
- Annlia Paganini-Hill et al. Positive Mental Attitude Associated with Lower 35-Year Mortality: The Leisure World Cohort Study. J Aging Res; 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6286774/
- Kaori Kato et al. Positive Attitude Towards Life, Emotional Expression, self-rated health, and depressive symptoms among centenarians and near-centenariansAging Ment Health. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5048681/
- Kanti Bhooshan Pandey and Syed Ibrahim Rizvicorresponding author. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev; 2009
- Jing Luo. Dietary Anti-Aging Polyphenols and Potential Mechanisms. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918214/
- Carlos K B Ferrari. Functional foods, herbs and nutraceuticals: towards biochemical mechanisms of healthy aging. Biogerontology; 2004. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15547316/