Genetic Aging vs. Organic Aging
This topic has become quite popular with the debate being between genes and lifestyle. Although these two possess their own argument, there are aspects of equal significance to both genetic makeup and lifestyle choices. I want to begin by stating that biology is not destiny. Of course, you cannot change your genes, however, you can slow down aging with proper nutrition and exercise. Cardiologist, Donald Lloyd-Jones states, “…healthy lifestyle trumps inherited risk.” Some scientist believe that only 25% of the variation in human longevity is due to genetic factors. That leaves a lot of responsibility for you to make heathy lifestyle choices. Here are some topics to think about that you can control when it comes to aging.
Hormones play a lead role in aging. Hormones are considered part of the endocrine system which is made up of glands, located throughout the body, that produce a multitude of hormones to regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, sleep, mood, etc. Hormone production decreases with age, resulting in a decline in the body’s ability to repair and function in top form.
A healthy lifestyle has a major impact on your endocrine system. Stress, environment, and disease all wreak havoc. Eating a well-balanced diet is considered essential for maintaining precise hormonal balance. Keep in mind that whatever you are eating is either promoting hormonal production, or causing unpredictable imbalances.
Here is a variety of foods that promote balanced hormones:
raw nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, avocados, veggies (colorful/dark green), starchy veggies, seasonal fruit, healing spices and herbs (turmeric, cinnamon, maca, ginger, garlic, rosemary). Don’t forget, clean water is important!
Free radicals are produced as part of the millions of chemical reactions your body performs to sustain life. Free radicals are also produced by your body in response to environmental toxins. Environmental toxins can come from cigarette use (1st and 2nd hand), alcohol consumption, pesticides, processed meats, heavy metals, and the list goes on. Free radicals sacrifice healthy cells to make themselves more stable. Overtime cells accumulate free radical damage resulting in destroyed/altered DNA.
When cells are continuously exposed to free radicals, the body’s defense system declines, allowing cell damage to persist. This process accelerates aging. We can remember the “Use It
and Lose It” theory-when our organs are consistently overused, deterioration and destruction are the result. Eating a diet high in antioxidants will assist in warding off free radicals and also help battle the damage that has been done.
Aging will always be unavoidable. It is a continuous process that affects all the systems and tissues. Premature aging is mostly caused by lifestyle, dietary habits, mental health, environmental factors in addition to genetic factors. Remember, you choose your lifestyle. That opportunity allows you a lot of power over the quality of your aging.
Author: Maggie Vogelsang, Copyright 2017, Sullivan Personal Training LLC