PATRICK HOLFORD'S TOP 10 SECRETS FOR HEALTHY AGEING
While most of us just rely on check-ups at the doctor, good genes and luck, there are actually many secrets to ageing well! Scientists have discovered a particular ageing gene that can be altered through the right food, exercise and other factors. To learn how, here are the hand-picked tips from health guru, Patrick Holford…
1. Age changes in muscle. At age 40 the average human starts to lose muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year! After age 50 tendons and ligaments become less elastic and hormone levels for libido (for woman and sex drive for men) and skin health drop dramatically. The lesson here? Keep supple by way of gentle exercise, walking, stretching, yoga, natural remedies for joints and massage. Recommended: MobilIve.
2. Little less fat. As shocking as it is to realise, the average person eats up to 40% of calories as fat! That's nearly half! Much of it is saturated fat leading to increased health risks and ageing of organs. Rather than cutting down on fat drastically, Holford says the most important thing is the make sure the fats you do eat are GOOD FATS. "That means eating fish, nuts, seeds and their oils and using spreads such as tahini, almond and pumpkin-seed butter, which should be staples in a healthily stocked fridge," Holford advises. Always use good quality oils, including cold-pressed virgin olive oil on salads. Recommended: Cholesto-Rite.
3. The fibre factor. Can fibre really make a difference to the way we age? Yes. Fibre in complex carbohydrates slows down the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Holford says: "Go for soluble fibres such as those found in oats, which are also present in chia seeds and flax seeds - you can sprinkle these on to a meal. (Pop into our shop for a great selection of super-foods and supplements: Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake, Cape Town - 021 797 0193). To get maximum fibre effect, try glucomannan fibre from the konjac plant. Add a heaped tablespoonful to a glass of water, then take it at the start of a meal. Glucomannan taken this way will almost halve the blood sugar spike of that meal, therefore making the whole meal more slow-releasing and therefore healthier."
4. Cinnamon spoonful. MCHP is an active ingredient in cinnamon. It mimics the action of the hormone insulin, so a teaspoonful a day helps to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream."It also seems to reduce levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood and to decrease blood pressure," says Holford. "The mineral chromium also makes you more sensitive to the effects of insulin, reversing insulin resistance and improving blood sugar control. Some supplements combine chromium with a high-potency cinnamon extract if a teaspoon seems a lot." Recommended: Triple Complex Diabetonic.
5. Keep moving. Holford advises that exercise directly affects the gene responsible for laying down fat. He says: "The more exercise you do, the less likely the gene is to push fat into storage and the more likely it is to burn it off." Beside burning calories, exercise can help to lower insulin, improve blood sugar levels and build muscle. His other tip: "Also, simply getting moving after a meal, such as taking a brisk 10-minute walk, actually helps to get the glucose out of the blood into the cells which need it, such as the brain and muscle cells." Recommended: Fatigue Fighter.
6. Sleep to slim. Not getting enough sleep can make you put on weight, says Holford. American research found that less than four hours of sleep makes people 73% more likely to be obese than those getting between seven and eight hours, while an average of five hours gives a 50% greater risk, and even six hours pushes the risk up by 23%! "Sleep is life-enhancing as during the deep sleep phase, your body releases growth hormone which stimulates the regeneration of cells," says Holford. His other tip: "Avoid alcohol and caffeine after midday if you have difficulty getting to sleep because it suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin for up to 10 hours." Recommended: Serenite Plus and EcoSlim.
7. Supplement survival. Holford says the older you are the more vitamin B12, Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc you need to stay well. His tip: "Supplementation becomes essential. This is partly because absorption becomes less efficient, and you need more as cellular processes show signs of wear and tear, but also because many common medications knock out essential nutrients.” (Have a look at our natural remedies below that do not knock out essential nutrients). Recommended: Solgar Vitamin B12, Solgar Vitamin D3, Solgar Magnsium Plus Boron and Solgar Chelated Zinc.
8. Low GI to the rescue. According to many experts the conventional "low calorie, low fat diet” doesn’t work. That’s what the evidence says. Much more effective, says Holford, is a low glycemic load (GL) diet designed to keep your blood sugar level even, which means less hunger and more weight loss. Following a low GL diet is another of their secrets of healthy ageing. Low GI foods also lower blood pressure, which is a good indicator of heart disease risk. Recommended: High-Rite.
9. Family and Friends add years to life. Another healthy ageing tip is staying ‘connected’ with friends and family says Holford, as well as having a positive attitude and exercising and keeping active! Studies have shown that an active social circle adds years to your longevity.
10. Beware the harm of conventional medications. Statins, for example, knock out antioxidants while the diabetes drug metformin and antacid drugs called PPIs knock out B12. Research from Oxford University shows that two out of five people over 65 have insufficient Vitamin B12 to stop accelerated brain shrinkage. Try to select medications that are natural and that will not do further harm! If you are not sure, ask your doctor to recommend natural alternatives.