Age LESS: Six Things To Do Now To Stay Younger, Longer

There are many things we can do that are proven to keep us younger, longer — not just looking it but physically being it. Simple steps, sans needles or “miracles.”

Skeptical about how much anything you do can affect your biology? New studies are showing that our actions can influence our genes so much as to alter their behavior, slowing the aging process, preventing diseases we “should” get based on our genetic profile, extending life spans…changes so profound we might even pass them on to our children. We’ve chosen the top six most rewarding, most effective ways to truly, systemically age less.

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1.0: Sleep — because…

Sleep Heals

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” could be self-fulfilling. Sleep deprivation promotes everything from obesity to inflammation, skin problems, cancer and, yup, aging. Get 7 to 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep every night. These hours of rest are restorative and vital to health, happiness, looking good and staying young.

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2.0: Eat Good Things — because…

Multi-Beneficial Foods Fuel Youth.

Between brain-building protein, good microbes and healthy weight regulation, yogurt looks like a lifetime food standard — opt for unsweetened and full-fat as most flavored and low-fat options have hidden sugars and more stuff you don’t want. Add fresh fruits or coconut sugar if you can’t do plain.

Even more of a multi-tasking youth promoter (Lena Dunham famously called it the James Franco of oils): virgin coconut oil. Several studies tout its benefits for everything from heart health to brain function and cellular regeneration. Cholesterol-free, it’s known to strengthen cellular walls and reduce the risk of infection. Slather it on for anti-aging benefits on skin, too. Just remember to choose virgin, cold-pressed oils instead of copra or other heat-treated or RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized) coconut oils.

Healthy oils also come from fish and nuts. Most importantly, load up on antioxidants naturally, from fresh fruit and veggies. Antioxidants are what fight aging inflammation and repair the damage our bodies incur as they age

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3.0: Do Something Active Every Day — because…

Daily Exercise Helps You Live Longer.

Studies may differ on how many more years it gives you, on the types of exercise to do, and on how long each workout should be, but the results are otherwise consistent: daily exercise keeps your brain and body functioning at a younger level and extends your life span. Even moderate daily exercise is better than intense workouts three times a week…and loads better than nothing.

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4.0: Don’t Eat What’s Not Food — because…

Junk Ages You.

Soda, chips, most pre-packaged foods (even pre-packaged “natural” snacks) aren’t just not good for you but most contain so many pro-inflammatories that they actively age you.

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5.0: Protect Daily…

Vampires May Be Onto Something.

Don’t hide in the darkness (that’s depressing and has its own health risks) but do stay protected even when indoors. Exposure to UV radiation (and indoor lights) makes you look older but ages you in other ways, too, such as cellular damage and immunosuppression. Then there’s skin cancer which can, you know, kill you. Before you explore life with the undead, try this step (so simple it would be, uh, evil not to): daily sunscreen, indoors and out, all year round. Sunscreens like Armada contain antioxidants to help reverse some of the damage, too.

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6.0: Chill…

You Know What Sucks The Youth Out Of You? Stress.

Stress promotes inflammation. Both are linked to a library’s worth of health problems from depression to obesity, acne, psoriasis, eczema, cancer and systemic aging. Stress isn’t just mental either. Rashes, pimples, allergy flare-ups, itching, fevers, infections are all types of inflammation and stressors. Controlling stress is so powerful it has been shown to influence our proteins, cell behavior and possibly DNA. Meditate, practice yoga (do it with the whole family to teach kids about stress management early on), keep a gratitude jogratitude journal, exercise. Avoid stressors in skin care (like allergens) and ingredients that can lead to inflammation (like comedogens). Get a facial or spa treatment, which does double duty as a concentrated skin treatment and excellent stress reliever.

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