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Aging is Normal, it Happens in Each of Us

However, some people age faster than others. This can show itself on the skin (wrinkles, age/liver spots) but more importantly it can show up in your cells, tissues and organs. Signs of aging can also be your tendency to have elevated blood fats (triglycerides), low good cholesterol (HDL), elevated glucose, high blood pressure and a wider waist circumference – this combination of health issues is called ‘metabolic syndrome’ which is an overall sign of unhealthy aging. Other signs of aging include different types of degeneration: stiffer and painful joints, unclear vision and difficulties with your mental or cognitive functions. In this article I will mention a few simple ways to improve how you age from the perspective of a naturopathic doctor.

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

One of the most tested and verified theories of aging relates to the degree of ‘free radical damage’ that occurs in your body. Free radicals is an odd term that just refers to substances within the body which have the potential for triggering degenerative changes. So, you want to reduce the free radical levels in your body. This is accomplished by reducing your chemical exposure and increasing the antioxidant (protective against free radicals) levels in your body. Basic antioxidants include vitamins C, E and minerals such as zinc, manganese and selenium. Many antioxidants are found within your foods, such as the vibrant coloured vegetables and fruits – red, blue, green, yellow-coloured foods. Ensure 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily and you’ll be an anti-aging powerhouse!

Telomere Length

A six-year study of over 2,800 residents in the Netherlands (ages 18-65) found that the length of the tips of their DNA was an indicator of the amount of cellular aging – the shorter the DNA tips (the ‘telomere length’) the more signs of aging appeared. This study appeared in the September 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In addition, this study correlated the telomere length with the likelihood of also having metabolic syndrome. So how can you keep your telomeres long (and reduce the chances of advanced aging and degeneration)? Many researchers are intensively researching this very question. Some interesting discoveries have been found, including the importance of nutrition and lifestyle. Nutrients that may help to maintain telomere length include folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, omega-3 fats, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin. This essentially supports the idea of taking a daily multivitamin and eating nutritious food. In addition, those who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight and avoid smoking also were found to have good telomere length.

Mental Perspective

You are what you think. Instead of over-focusing on your ‘aging,’ focus on living well with purpose, passion and positivity. These features of a life well-lived are after all what brings deep personal meaning and can leave a lasting impression on those that come after you.

Dr. Rahim Habib ND
About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or www.FamilyNaturopath.ca.