Many of my patients seek me out to help with “anti-aging.” What exactly does that mean? We clearly cannot stop the aging process…so to me, that means they want me to help them age as gracefully as possible. So, let’s discuss what we can do for “graceful aging.”
For the most part, aging well includes having both our inside and our outside reflect a healthy body status. So, when we talk about aging gracefully, what we really want to talk about is how do we feed our body in the best way we know how so that our outside and inside show just how healthy we truly are.
There are many things we can do on a daily basis to ensure that our outward beauty reflects the inward beauty of our overall health. Our skin is in many ways our largest organ of our body. Therefore, if our health is not optimal, it usually shows in our skin. When my patients are concerned about skin issues, I usually start with changes to their diet and skin care all in the same discussion.
Our skin as well as our overall health responds well to a diet that is mostly plant-based with healthy fats and low in sugar. The key things to make sure that at least half of your plate is full of vegetables and another quarter of the plate is from lean proteins and healthy fats like avocadoes, nuts, or fish, and the last quarter of the plate is with whole unprocessed grains.
Avoidance of sugar, especially in processed forms, is important to healthy skin and body. Sugar is toxic to our cells in the processed form. If you are craving sweets, turn to fruits instead. Caffeine can also be harsh on problematic skin so avoid drinks too high in caffeine and switch to herbal teas or green tea that is low in caffeine. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in teas will be additively beneficial to skin and overall health.
In regards to our outward health, make sure to be gentle on your skin for your skin regimen. When you aggressively clean your skin, that can aggravate your skin and make any skin problem worse. So, I usually will recommend a gentle hypoallergenic cleanser and treatment serum for specific skin issues and end with a skin moisturizer. Skin that is too dry and irritated is more prone to acne, wrinkles, and damage.
In regards to our organ health and overall wellness, I recommend that you stick to plenty of sleep, establish time to de-stress and relax, make time to do moderate exercise about 3-5 days per week for about 30-60 minutes, and make sure to eat plenty of rainbow colored vegetables. If you are able to stick to this generalized regimen, you should be able to help your body age much more gracefully than if you weren’t making these changes to your regular routine.
When it comes down to it, we all age…but how we age is in many parts dependent on our daily habits. By incorporating healthy habits, we are better able to combat the inflammatory changes of aging and achieve overall wellness despite of our advancing years. I always tell my patients in my clinic of integrative medicine in San Jose CA that all of my 70 year-olds are not the same. Some look and act and function like they are 50 year-olds and there are those who seem older than their chronological age…which type you will be is in many ways up to you.