Women's Health

Discover everything you need to know about women’s nutrition in this section devoted solely to woman’s issues. Topics covered include weight gain during menopause, and tips on how to detect and avoid breast cancer.

How to Reduce the Causes of Aging

Though there is no time-lapse to prevent aging, there are ways to slow down the repercussions of the inevitable ticking clock. And while the aging process is complex, it mostly relates to lifestyle factors such as the foods we choose to eat and how we decide to manage stress. Learn how to prevent skin aging and how to slow aging naturally!


How to Slow Aging Naturally

1. Stay Optimistic
Staying optimistic not only enhances interpersonal relationships, but can help people live longer. So keep a positive attitude, take things in stride, and live in the moment throughout all stages and aspects of life.

2. Reduce Sugar Intake
Did you know the average American consumes 80 grams of sugar per day? And did you also know the American Heart Disease recommends no more than 38 and 25 grams of sugar per day for men and women, respectively? Exceeding the suggested limit not only increases the risk of weight gain and chronic diseases, but speeds up the process of aging. Too much sugar can cause glycation, a process in which sugar mixes with protein and fat to form molecules, which is thought to promote aging and damage collagen and elastin of the skin. Along with reducing more obvious sugar sources such as soda and sweet pastries, be cautious of hidden sugar on the ingredient list, including high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, and fructose.

3. Eat More Veggies
As if there was another reason to eat your veggies... Vegetables supply valuable nutrients to protect the body, including powerful antioxidants in the forms of phytochemicals and vitamins. Antioxidants defend and inhibit the process of oxidation, a chemical process and reaction that has the potential to produce free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and speed up the process of aging, while antioxidants are shown to protect and limit such threat. Increase veggie intake by including one at all meals and snacks, along with mixing them in smoothies, soups, and casseroles.

4. Sweeten Up with Fruit
Take a bite out of nature's sweet bounty to combat that pesky sweet tooth and prevent aging. Like veggies, fruits are also rich in antioxidants so swap out the cookie jar with a fruit basket, add blueberries to your yogurt, and kick off the day with this nutritious and delicious peach, raspberry, basil protein smoothie!

5. Brew Up Some Coffee
That morning cup of joe shows promise in resisting chronic disease and increasing cognition, with research suggesting coffee may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. To boast the most benefits of coffee, divvy away from heaping pumps of syrups, spoons of sugar, and pours of cream.

6. Add Healthier Fats
Unlike high intakes of saturated and trans fats that may cause chronic inflammation, healthy fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Along with reducing the risk of heart disease, monounsaturated (MUFAs) and omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and avocadoes may combat against aging.

7. Hydrate
Proper hydration can reduce the signs of aging, as skin can become dry, scaly, and sunken in without adequate water intake. When hydrated, water offers glow to skin and flushes out waste products that may be harmful to the body. As a general rule of thumb, healthy adults should drink at least eight, 8-ounce cups (or 64 ounces) of water each day, especially on hot days and if exercising.

8. Exercise
Physical activity is an integral part of healthy living, also playing a large role in the fight against aging. In fact, exercise can lower oxidative stress, the toxic condition associated to early aging and the onset of the disease-span, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and age-related conditions. The American Heart Association encourages individuals to be active at least 150 minutes each week, along with including two to three weight training sessions to maximize the benefits of exercise.

9. Manage Stress
Chronic and ongoing stress can impede on both physical and mental health, subsequently accelerating the process of aging. Researchers have found chronic stress and anxiety increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, with severity showing to pose a greater likelihood. Manage stress through exercise, yoga, meditation, and any other technique or practice that lowers your sense or feelings of stress and anxiety.

10. Sleep
Along with the short-term effects of lack of sleep (you know, those dark and puffy eyes...), lasting consequences may accelerate the process of aging. According to a study commissioned by Estée Lauder, sleep deprivation increases the signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Inadequate sleep can also plummet energy levels and cause hormones to go haywire, which may also accelerate the process of aging. The National Sleep Foundation encourages adults to achieve at seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis to lessen such risks.

11. Moderate Alcohol
Although red wine does show to have positive outcomes for longevity, too much is not a good thing when it comes to alcohol. Researchers and health experts strongly encourage the concept of moderation, including the recommendation for males to drink no more than two alcoholic servings a day with women limiting intake to one serving. First off, alcohol is a diuretic and can cause dehydration, and breakouts, along with interrupting sleep cycles. Chronic and excessive use of alcohol has also shown to cause premature wrinkles and increase the risk of age-related and chronic diseases.

12. Stop Smoking
Smoking can dramatically compromise overall health, including speeding up the aging process and causing wrinkles and a dull complexion. Smoking also interferes with blood flow and oxygen to the brain, making it a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Mitigate such risks and prevent against aging by learning how to quit smoking or by helping someone quit.

13. Wear Sunscreen
Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands around town, sun protection is essential on a daily basis. Protect from skin cancer and aging with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 (or higher) and water-resistant. Cover the body with an ounce (about the size of a standard shot glass) 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and every two to four hours of outdoor activity.

14. And Don't Forget Sunglasses
While the importance of sunscreen is well-known, we must not disregard the need for protective sunglasses. Sunglasses protect eyes from the ultraviolet (UV) rays, ultimately lessening the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), look for sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on May 13, 2019.


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