I’M 43 AND START­ING TO NO­TICE SIGNS OF AG­ING. CAN I SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS WITH WHAT I EAT?

Best Health - - ADVICE - RE­BECCA AND REISHA HARPER

THE HARPER TWINS SAY… FIRST OF TWO PARTS

The first phys­i­cal signs of ag­ing may start to ap­pear around age 25. Ag­ing starts from the in­side out. Are you notic­ing is­sues like dull skin, fine lines, wrin­kles, frag­ile hair and nails, joint prob­lems and bone in­flex­i­bil­ity? We talk a lot about the im­por­tance of anti-ag­ing nu­tri­tion in our prac­tice. Does it work? Ab­so­lutely! Many peo­ple think of only fine lines and wrin­kles in re­gard to ag­ing, but nat­u­ral ag­ing also af­fects our en­ergy lev­els, heart func­tion, blood pres­sure, bone den­sity, bowel func­tion, lean mus­cle mass, body weight, and risk for de­vel­op­ing cer­tain dis­eases. Ide­ally, you should start com­mit­ting to an anti-ag­ing nu­tri­tional plan by your mid-20s. But if you missed that boat, don’t worry: It’s re­ally never too late to make changes and still ex­pe­ri­ence in­cred­i­ble anti-ag­ing ben­e­fits! Yes, you are what you eat, but we also tell our clients that “you are what you ab­sorb.” Absorbing spe­cific nu­tri­ents, such as an­tiox­i­dants and omega-3 fatty acids, from foods and sup­ple­ments is es­sen­tial to slow­ing your nat­u­ral ag­ing process from the in­side out. Here are your first two steps in start­ing your own anti-ag­ing nu­tri­tion plan.

1. GET INTO A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT RANGE

Be­ing ei­ther un­der­weight or over­weight in­creases your risk of de­vel­op­ing cer­tain health con­di­tions and dis­eases and con­trib­utes to poor ag­ing. The great news? If you’re over­weight, los­ing five to 10 per­cent of your to­tal body weight dra­mat­i­cally low­ers your risk. Main­tain­ing a healthy body weight (body mass in­dex of 18.5 to 24.9) be­comes chal­leng­ing as we age. Your best bet? Fo­cus on eat­ing foods that are nat­u­rally low in calo­ries and packed with es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents — po­tent, an­ti­ag­ing su­per­foods. In­clude more fresh fruits, veg­eta­bles, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp seeds daily. Por­tion con­trol of meals and snacks is also key. Here’s an easy start: At lunch and din­ner, por­tion your plate using the “Plate Method.” Load up half of your plate with salad or fresh veg­eta­bles, one-quar­ter of your plate with lean pro­tein (fish, skin­less chicken, tofu), and the last quar­ter of your plate with a starch (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain bread).

2. GET AD­E­QUATE HY­DRA­TION

Most peo­ple live in a chron­i­cally de­hy­drated state, and peo­ple of­ten don’t feel as thirsty as they age. Chronic de­hy­dra­tion dra­mat­i­cally af­fects ag­ing from the in­side out. In­creased dry­ness is a nat­u­ral part of ag­ing, which shows up most ob­vi­ously on the body’s largest or­gan: our skin. Chronic de­hy­dra­tion fur­ther dries out the skin. This con­trib­utes to the for­ma­tion of fine lines and wrin­kles and internal health is­sues. Drink wa­ter reg­u­larly through­out the day, be­cause it’s re­quired for all body or­gans to func­tion prop­erly. Keep­ing your skin hy­drated re­quires ad­e­quate wa­ter in­take, and es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents re­quire wa­ter to be trans­ported to cells. We rec­om­mend get­ting your daily fluid in­take from wa­ter, other bev­er­ages and food (like raw fruits and veg­gies). b

are twin sis­ters and reg­is­tered di­eti­tians with a spe­cial fo­cus on nu­tri­tion for ag­ing well @harper­nu­tri­tion_twins, harper­nu­tri­tion.com

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