5. Laugh Out Loud
Find something to laugh about and you’re doing your body a favor. According to a 2005 study presented at the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, laughter improves cardiovascular health by expanding the inner lining of the blood vessels, the endothelium, which enables better blood flow to the heart and other organs in the body. The study also confirmed what other research has shown, that stressful situations have the opposite effect on blood vessels, constricting them. Healthy blood vessels reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as other health problems, which is critical for slowing the aging process.
4. Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon?
Wine drinkers, rejoice! Multiple studies suggest that red wine, in moderation of course, is really good for you. Grape skins contain a compound called resveratrol that defends the plant against disease. The Alliance for Aging Research reports that resveratrol stimulates an anti-aging enzyme that protects cells against stress, extending cell life. Studies also suggest resveratrol has anti-carcinogen and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Fresh whole red or purple grapes provide the same benefit as red wine, so pack some to go the next time you head out the door.
3. Brush And Floss
Infections caused by bacteria in the mouth can cause health issues throughout the body. Plaque, a sticky film made of bacteria, forms on the teeth and gums making the gums red, swollen or tender, causing gingivitis. Proper, daily oral hygiene will eliminate bacteria and prevent further problems. Left untreated, however, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, which is when bacteria grows past the gum line. That causes inflammation and increases the risk of tooth destruction. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, research shows, “an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.” The best form of defense is prevention. You’ve undoubtedly heard this advice since you were a child, but brush your teeth after each meal, floss at least once a day and schedule regular dental visits twice a year.
2. Get Some Sleep
We all realize the importance a good night’s sleep can have on our performance the next day, but it’s also critical for our long-term health. Sleep deprivation can result in a weakened immune system, which causes mental and physical health problems. A suppressed immune system increases the risk of inflammation throughout the body, which can have terrible consequences. When blood vessels become inflamed, the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke significantly increases. Six to nine hours of sleep a day will increase your energy level, reduce your blood pressure, regulate stress hormones and help your nervous system remain healthy. So grab your pillow and cozy blanket and get a good night’s sleep to help your body stay young.
1. Stay Mentally Active
The best way to slow down aging is to live a healthy lifestyle. You’ve certainly heard about how important diet and exercise are to your physical well-being. If you exercise regularly and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole-grain foods, good for you. But don’t neglect your mental health, which in the long run can impact your physical health. Studies have shown that staying mentally active from middle age on can lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Building and maintaining friendships and an active social life have also been shown to decrease the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Help others by volunteering for a cause that’s close to your heart or with an organization in special need of your talent. Or, join a club, start a new hobby, learn a new language, dance, paint, write — whatever your fancy, just do it. Do what you love, to help your mind, body and soul.