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1. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is considered to be a major player in many diseases of aging including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's - that is, when the inflammation becomes chronic. This happens when the immune system begins targeting healthy cells and tissues for attack.
One way to keep inflammation away is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on whole grains, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fruits, vegetables, and monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocados, and olives) with little meat.
Other great anti-inflammatory foods include spices like turmeric, dark chocolate (with a 70 percent or higher cacao content), and foods like red grapes and raspberries that contain the anti-aging chemical resveratrol.
Exercise is another great way to lower inflammation. Regular exercise boosts anti-inflammatory chemicals and helps the body to avoid weight gain through the years. This is especially important because having excess belly fat could mean that you have high inflammation, since abdominal fat produces inflammatory chemicals. Aim for a moderate amount of steady exercise like brisk walking, swimming, or biking for around 30 to 45 minutes five days a week.
2. Limit Exposure to free radicals
Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that attack our cells and damage our DNA, a process that is thought by many experts to accelerate aging. Free radicals are also known to increase the risk of cancer.
To limit your exposure to these chemicals, avoid things like trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils found in margarine, processed and fried foods), charred meats and other sources.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, which are packed full of antioxidants and are thought to neutralize these harmful free radicals. Fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of antioxidants include prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, and kale.
Glycation is what happens when sugar mixes with proteins and fats to form molecules that promote aging. Advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, are thought to accelerate the aging process by producing free radicals and promoting inflammation.
AGEs are formed when food is cooked at a high temperature and it becomes browned or blackened (like on a barbeque), especially if sugar is added to the mix. Therefore one way to avoid ingesting AGEs is to turn down the heat when cooking.
Limiting your intake of sugar-filled foods in general will also help, since excess sugar often binds to proteins in the body to form AGEs.
4. Cope Better With stress
Stress initiates the release of a variety of stress hormones that make your pulse race and cause your blood pressure to rise. This causes the hormone cortisol to be released to lessen these effects, but this actually creates problems when it remains chronically elevated; it has been shown to shrink a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is essential for long-term memory. It can also lead to the accumulation of belly fat, causing inflammation and insulin resistance.
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