Do you look older than you are?

There is a rare set of people who are blessed with great genetics. It doesn’t matter what they do, they spend their lives with a thick full head of hair, their skin has minimal wrinkles/great elasticity and no matter what they eat, their blood work is always A1. These people often live well into their 80’s and 90’s.

But that is probably not you. Your bad habits have begun to catch up with you as you approach middle age.  The majority of us view aging as a slow and painful deterioration: weight gain, memory issues, tired all the time, less interest in sex and aches and pains all over. We just accept this as a part of getting older. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Your body is quite capable of staying slim and vigorous into your later years and your brain is more than able to stay clear and focused if you give it what it needs.

As you age, your body undergoes hormonal changes. This is quite normal. If you are eating properly and getting ample sleep and exercise you can ride out these hormonal ebbs and flows. The key is to achieve hormonal balance. All hormones work together in conjunction with one another. Insulin, thyroid, estrogen and progesterone each need to be pulling their weight in order to work efficiently as a unit. Here is how you can accomplish this.

Improve the quality and amount of sleep you are getting. Without it, your hormonal system cannot rest and recover. For your hormones to work efficiently you need a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Taking a nap in the middle of the day to make up for the 2 hours you missed at night doesn’t cut it.

Improve your gut health. Start eating probiotics and fermented foods. Try kimchi, sauerkraut and healthy bacteria found in yogurt and kefir. This will keep your digestion system running efficiently inside and out and your hormones in check.

Eat more healthy fats. The nationwide fear of fat needs to be eliminated immediately. Our hormones are dependent on fat to reproduce.  Fat also keeps us fuller for longer reducing the likelihood of overeating. Avocados, almonds, walnuts, olive oil are great. Eat them daily.

Lose the sugar. Too much sugar will send your insulin production sky high. If you are finding that you are tired all the time and have minimal energy to get through the day, it could be that you are consuming too much sugar. Cut out the starches and simple sugars for a while and replace them with cruciferous vegetables and thin skin berries and you will notice an improvement in your energy levels.

Stop eating chemical-laden foods. Begin by eliminating aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose and food dyes. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients listed on the container, don’t eat it. Studies have made claims citing anything from headaches to premature aging to cancer. Whether this is true or not is up for debate. Your best bet is to always read food labels and avoid chemicals as much as possible. By sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store you will avoid highly processed/packaged foods.