Aging is something we all do, right?
Leading neurologists now claim that aging is practically inevitable.
Dr. Robert Friedland says small, simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of dementia and other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Dr. Friedland told Sun Health:
“This is a time when seniors can enjoy retirement, spend time with their families, and devote themselves to special interests without the need for work.
“Unfortunately, the quality of these years is often tragically compromised by age-related neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke.
“A core focus of my work in patient care is improving the health of older adults and understanding why people get these conditions and how to prevent them.
“Our knowledge has improved significantly over the last 50 years, but we still don’t know why most people are affected.
“For years, it has been my mission to proclaim the truth that aging is inevitable. It’s what we do that makes a difference.”
In his new book Unaging: The Four Factors that Impact How You Age, Dr. Friedland says he believes four factors influence aging: cognitive, physical, psychological and social.
By making small lifestyle changes in each of these areas, you can take your time with the aging process and live a long, healthy life.
Here, he shares his top tips for fighting the aging process…
The healthier our brains are, the better they can withstand the damage caused by aging and disease.
Studies have shown that educated people have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a later age of onset than uneducated people.
Mental activity boosts the production of new neurons in the brain and increases growth factors that help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s what you should do to keep your brain in tune.
Stop watching TV and read a book instead
We all love television. But watching TV is a uniquely passive experience.
Most TV shows don’t require much intellectual activity.
Think about what happens when you are reading a book. The pages don’t turn when you fall asleep. To read the book, you must participate.
If you have any doubts about the content of the book, you can go back and read it.
There is evidence that sedentary activities, such as watching television, increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.
On the one hand, research reports that reading can reduce the risk of cognitive decline later in life.
take up chess
A life full of learning is desirable, and there is no reason to believe that mental activity should be confined to childhood.
People can learn at all ages, and participation in learning is valuable to the brain throughout life.
I am often asked what kind of mental activity is best, but there is no conclusive evidence to answer that question.
Playing chess involves predicting future situations and analyzing possible actions.
It also involves interaction with at least one other person, is cheap, and can be played over the internet.
Musical activities are also important. Just pick something fun. If you don’t enjoy the activity, you don’t do it.
Too many people take sleep for granted or see restful sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity.
As we age, sleep problems become more frequent and can affect our quality of life.
Sleep disturbance is seen in several neurodegenerative diseases and is one of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
This is worrisome and potentially dangerous because sleep disorders can accelerate Alzheimer’s disease in the brain, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and stroke.
For a good night’s sleep, go to bed at the same time every night.
Beds and bedrooms should only be used for sleeping and romantic activities, not for other tasks such as watching TV, texting friends, reading Facebook, or paying bills.
Do not sleep with your mobile phone by your bed. Put it in another room and turn off the ringer. Watching the news before bed can also lead to anxiety and poor sleep.
Studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity throughout life have beneficial effects on the development of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
Our dietary choices also affect health and fitness in two ways.
What we eat directly affects the brain and other parts of the body.
However, diet also alters the nature of the microbial population in the gut.
eat less meat
Beef contains more than five times more fat than meat such as deer that our ancestors ate.
Much of our beef comes from grain-fed, factory-fed cows that are high in harmful saturated fatty acids.
Red meat contains more saturated fat than plant protein sources such as chicken, fish, or beans.
It also contains many carcinogens that are produced during cooking.
A British study showed that red meat consumption was associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease, pneumonia and diabetes.
Eating red and processed meat also increases the risk of colorectal and bowel cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
and more seafood
They also eat less seafood than their ancestors. It is estimated that up to 50% of energy expenditure came from seafood in early modern human diets.
This provided n-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid.
This molecule is an important component of brain membranes and may aid in the evolution of the immune and nervous systems.
Fatty fish contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial for health and memory.
They are anti-inflammatory and may also relieve depression. The unsaturated fats in fish are beneficial, as fish is low in saturated fat, high in protein, and is also a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Salmon, herring, lake trout, and freshwater whitefish are all rich in omega-3s.
Studies have shown that periods of no food during the day or every other day have beneficial effects on metabolism and disease.
Gut bacterial diversity may also be enhanced with fasting.
Fasting reduces fat stores in the body, improves blood lipids, lowers blood pressure, improves DNA repair, and may have beneficial effects on cancer, mental health, and blood sugar regulation.
Fasting can also have positive effects on weight, inflammation, neurodegeneration, heart disease, and stroke.
The easiest method is intermittent fasting, where you don’t eat calories for about 16 hours a day.
Fasting may not be good for people with diabetes, kidney or liver problems, or eating disorders, so talk to your GP first.
give up diet drinks
Consumption of sugary drinks has been shown to impair blood flow to the kidneys and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and obesity.
You may be wondering, “What if I switch to Diet Pops?” – I don’t.
Artificial sweeteners should also be avoided as they affect the bacterial population in the gut, which can alter blood insulin levels and impair blood sugar control.
Your microbiome may be altered by artificial sweeteners, increasing your risk of diabetes and weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners are also associated with heart disease risk.
Most people can do some exercise. Those who cannot run should walk.
Those who cannot walk should consider aquatherapy as they may be able to walk comfortably in the pool.
Physical activity should not be weather dependent. When the weather is nice, we go out for a walk, but when it rains or is cold, many people stay at home.
Instead, use home exercise equipment, join a gym, or go to the shopping center and walk indoors.
Diversity is also important. Aerobic exercise is valuable for your heart, lungs, and circulation, while strength training builds muscle mass and strengthens joints and bones.
Simple stretching can also help.
Psychological reserve includes resilience from depression and stress, and effective response to conflict and grief.
People who are more emotionally stable and resilient are more resistant to cognitive impairment.
let go of anger
Anger, resentment, regret, and disappointment carry over from month to year and can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life.
Guatama Buddha says: You are the one who gets burned.
Healthy aging requires understanding that there are things that cannot be changed and must be accepted.
This doesn’t mean you have to forget the stressful life events, but hopefully you’ll gradually be able to remember them painlessly.
The best way to avoid negative emotions is to actively engage in the present moment and plan for the future.
give meaning to life
Meaning is often lost when friends and family die, jobs are lost, and activities are hampered by illness, disability, or lack of money.
It’s important to maintain your uniqueness and search for meaning through your work, hobbies, relationships, and activities.
I can’t wait until I retire. At every stage of life, we must explore and pursue our unique interests and abilities.
silence is golden
Many people lead busy lives and are rarely exposed to silence.
Clearly, the brain needs time to adapt and adjust itself to changing circumstances.
A daily time devoted to silence and meditation can be very valuable.
Silence can be practiced while walking, gardening, or during many other activities such as meditation.
Meditation is extremely valuable in dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.
A recent Norwegian study showed that practicing mindfulness can help counter negative perceptions of oneself and boost self-confidence.
Negative thoughts may not be eliminated, but meditation may provide some distance from those thoughts.
Humans are social beings and our relationships with family, friends and colleagues are important to our health at every stage of life.
Studies have shown that people with poor social interaction are at increased risk of dementia.
give a hug
Even in the 21st century, we still need close contact with others. We need to take care of others and we need to be taken care of.
Physical contact like a hug has important effects not only on our emotional state, but also on our endocrine system, stress response, and blood pressure.
People in long-term relationships have a lower risk of developing dementia.
play sports with friends
Social contact increases physical activity, may help with stress, and promote heart health.
Sometimes I plan to go for a run one day, but I’m too tired to stay home.
But if you book in to play tennis with a friend, they are more likely to go because they know you love to play and they can’t play without you.
keep a pet
Pets help expand social interactions for people of all ages.
Owning a dog is associated with lower blood pressure, an improved lipid profile, and an improved response to stress.
A systematic review of studies from 1950 to 2019 showed that owning a dog reduced mortality by 25% and death from heart disease by 30%.