Ageing is a difficult concept for many people. While many are grateful to be growing old, they often do not appreciate the obvious signs of ageing such as hair loss, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Nonetheless, some people seem to age much slower and more gracefully than others. This brings to light the fact that certain factors can slow down or quicken the ageing process.
What factors can speed up the ageing process?
Ageing is a natural process but you can end up looking much older than your age under certain circumstances. Watch out for these factors that can speed up the ageing process.
Whether physical, emotional, or mental, stress can cause inflammation, which damages cells and tissues slowly and impairs the body’s repair system. When this happens to the skin, it appears as sagging and wrinkling.
The kind of food you eat will also affect how quickly or slowly you age. Certain foods are known to cause inflammation in the body, affecting their ability to function properly. Examples include:
- Artificial trans-fat found in fried fast food, packaged cakes and cookies, etc.
- Refined carbohydrates found in bread, pasta, soft drinks, and sugary cereals
- Processed meat (burgers, sausages)
Other things that can quicken the ageing process are:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Physical inactivity
- Poor sleep
What factors can slow down the process?
Just as the ageing process can be sped up by certain factors, it can also be slowed down by taking the right steps. Some of these steps include:
Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting is done by eating during a specific period of the day and fasting during the other periods. According to some experts, intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to slow down ageing because the body goes into a state of cell repair and maintenance when food is unavailable. Scientists are still trying to understand how much benefit intermittent fasting provides and how it works.
Take note that factors such as the duration of your fast and the type of food eaten during the allotted time also affect the effectiveness of intermittent fasting.
Diet: Opt for diet that is low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fats, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Choose whole grain option such as brown (ofada) rice and eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Minimize unhealthy fats, which are found in red meat, fried foods, and vegetable oils. These foods contain free radicals that cause inflammation and trigger the ageing process.
Exercise: Exercise improves blood flow to all parts of the body, which in turn, means all parts of the body receive adequate nourishment. In fact, one recent study found that the brains of people who exercise regularly was many times younger than those of the same age who did not engage in regular exercises.
Ageing is a natural process that cannot be avoided. However, you can actually speed up the process and look much older than you should. Similarly, you can age slowly and gracefully with the right lifestyle and diet choices.