I recently came across an AARP article about successful aging. It included 99 tips to live a healthier, happier, longer life.
But ultimately, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. In fact, the secret to healthy aging boils down to just six specific medical terms. Some of them you may have heard before. Others may be new to you. But understanding the concepts behind them can help slow down the aging process and improve your longevity. So, let’s dive in with the first word on our vocabulary list…
As I often report, inflammation is linked to nearly every major chronic health condition, including cancer, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. And inflammaging refers to chronic, low-grade inflammation that’s specifically associated with aging.
Probably the single, most-important step you can take to reduce inflammaging — and chronic inflammation in general — is to consume more healthy fats, as found in wild-caught fish and seafood, eggs, nuts, and olive oil.
Of course, thanks to four decades of misguided advice by government health “experts,” many people still worry about eating these “high-fat” foods. But the fats they contain are quite necessary for optimal health.
In addition to eating more healthy fats, there are lots of other natural approaches for controlling inflammation — including moderate exercise, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle modifications. You can learn all about them in my Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation. (For more information about this online learning tool, or to enroll today, simply click here.)
2.) Keep your immune system balanced
The next “age-erasing” concept I want to address is the other side of the coin, called immunosenescence, which refers to the age-related weakening of the immune system.
Of course, a weak immune system can actually contribute to worsening inflammation.
On the other hand, you don’t want an overactive immune system either. It may contribute to autoimmune problems — such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The key is to keep your immune system in natural balance. You can do this by:
- Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs (spices)
- Practicing mind-body exercises
- Getting 2.5 hours weekly of light-to-moderate exercise
- Smart nutritional supplementation
3.) Support your microbiome
Another way to reverse the toll of aging on the body is a healthy microbiome. The microbiome is the environment in your gut where trillions of healthy probiotic bacteria thrive. And studies of “centenarians” (those who live to be 100 years or older) show that a healthy GI microbiome is a key marker of longevity.
On the other hand, an unhealthy microbiome — caused by a poor, unbalanced diet or use of antibiotics and certain other drugs — can promote weight gain, chronic inflammation, even diseases like Alzheimer’s and Type II diabetes.
You can support your microbiome by eating prebiotic foods — such as apples, pickles, cheese, and yogurt.
Getting the right kind of dietary fiber also supports your microbiome. Just don’t buy into the myth that you need to eat a lot of cereals, grains, and carbs for fiber, as I expose in the upcoming April issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.
4.) Keep your bones strong
Another way to feel and look younger is to focus on your bone health. You want to prevent osteopenia — the age-related loss of bone density. It’s not as severe as osteoporosis. But having either condition increases your risk of bone fractures, which can affect your longevity.
Many doctors advise women to supplement with calcium to prevent or treat osteopenia and/or osteoporosis. But that’s a big mistake.
As I often report, you should never take calcium supplements, as research links them to cardiovascular disease — the No. 1 killer in the U.S — and now to dementia.
Instead, get your calcium by adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet, filled with plenty of full-fat dairy (like cheese and yogurt), grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, organic produce, seeds, and nuts.
Maintaining optimal bone health also requires other nutrients, which you should take as supplements, including:
- 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily
- 500 mg of vitamin C, twice daily
- 400 mg of magnesium citrate daily
5.) Maintain muscle mass
Sarcopenia refers to age-related muscle loss. But you can avoid it by supplementing with all the three nutrients I recommend above for osteopenia, along with:
- 200 to 400 mcg of selenium daily
(Caution: While selenium toxicity is rare, it’s something you should be aware of. To avoid that potential toxicity, I recommend keeping intake at or below 400 mcg per day.)
In addition, make sure to eat plenty of protein each day — especially if you’re a man. The current U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. But, to maintain muscle mass, older men need twice as much protein daily than what the government recommends.
Of course, meat and seafood are the best dietary sources of complete proteins, as I report in the current (March) issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“NEWS ALERT: Popular plant-based diets are not as healthy as they claim”). Subscribers may access the current issue — and all of the articles and issues I referenced here — by visiting www.DrMicozzi.com, and logging in with your username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber — all it takes is one quick click.
Aside from diet, you can also help preserve muscle mass by getting 2.5 hours of light-to-moderate exercise per week.
In the end, maintaining muscle mass as you age is one of the best things you can do to lower your disease risk. Not only does it help counter chronic inflammation, but stronger muscle mass also leads to a better gait (your walking ability and pattern), which is one of the strongest predictors of longevity.
6.) Fight aging at the cellular level
Aging at the cellular level actually begins in your telomeres, the capped ends of chromosome strands in your DNA. They protect your DNA like the hard caps or tips at the end of shoelaces.
They also tell us a lot about your cellular age…
That’s because the cells in your body continually divide and replace themselves. So theoretically, you should continually have “young” cells in your tissues.
But there’s one catch…
When new cells form, with copies of your DNA chromosomes, and the strand lengthens, your telomeres don’t duplicate. Instead, the telomeres get shorter and shorter with each new cell division.
And over a lifetime, cells only undergo a finite number of divisions. Eventually, your telomeres will become so short that this cell division slows down and comes to a halt. And that means there are no more new, young, healthy cells to replace the old ones.
Eventually, these cells will begin to accumulate imperfections, lose their functions, and die. And that’s a big factor in the aging process.
Fortunately, research shows omega-3 fatty acids, as found in fish oil and seafood — as well as B vitamins (I recommend a B vitamin complex) and vitamin D (again, 10,000 IU daily) — help keep telomeres intact.
When it comes to fish oil, be sure to take a high-quality dietary supplement daily. Most Americans should take:
- 4 to 5 grams of fish oil, which includes:
- 1,400 to 1,800 mg of EPA fatty acids
- 1,000 t 1,300 mg of DHA fatty acids.
(Note: Check the Nutrition Facts on the back of the bottle to ensure you are getting high enough concentrations of EPA/DHA content.)
Knowing these six terms — and what you can do to control them — will give you a solid, basic foundation for staying vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, 90s…and beyond. For even more simple, natural, healthy aging strategies, I encourage you to check out my protocol, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” I just updated my protocol with all the latest, important information. If you’d like to learn more about this online learning tool or enroll today, simply click here.
“Your Guide to a Healthier, Happier, Longer Life,” AARP Bulletin, 1/2/2019. (aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2019/guide-healthier-longer-life.html)