Steps for a Younger You

I was recently struck with the harsh realization that many of us, especially women, dread the thought of aging. The changes in your hair, skin and body allow for only one conclusion: gravity is a cruel and nasty thing. But the harshest sign of aging is the switch from being called 'Miss' one day to 'Ma'am' the next. Then you know that other people are seeing you differently too! Is it my clothes, my "air" of responsibility or my darn crow's feet?

Aging well
Generally, not aging well means you look older than expected for your age. It is also safe to say that if you do not appear to be aging well on the outside, your insides are not aging well either. Ultimately, this affects not only the way you look, but your natural body processes like reproduction and elimination, as well as your risk for diseases like cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

How you age has a lot to do with genetics, but the newest research suggests your environment and lifestyle may have just as much influence as your genes. Taking the necessary steps to prevent premature aging is crucial-not only because of your appearance, but also for your bones, your brain and your vital organs like your kidneys, heart and liver.

Using these tips will not only help to prevent premature aging, but they may also help you look and feel younger than you currently do-no matter what your condition. Start thinking fresh and keep your body and mind vibrant this year!

1. Eat a calorie restricted diet. This is proven to be the number one way to slow the aging process. Several studies have found that eating a highly nutritious, calorie restricted diet slows the aging process. Studies have been completed with mice, rats and monkeys that show calorie restriction slows aging. Include foods such as broccoli, berries (especially blueberries), salmon, avocados and apples-they are full of antioxidants and are great for your skin. See the Truestar Weight Loss Plan for healthy meal ideas.

2. Maintain a healthy muscle mass with resistance training. After the age of 30 we lose approximately one pound of muscle per year if we don't continue resistance training. Fortunately, the trend in resistance training lately is a short workout. My trainer two years ago started me on a weight lifting program that consisted of only 20 to 30 minutes three to four times per week and I gained more muscle than ever-and I have stuck with the workout because it is so short that I really I enjoy it. This means that if you are doing cardiovascular activity most days of the week, it may be too much. See the Truestar Exercise Plan to ensure that you are getting the proper amount of cardio and resistance training to maintain your muscle mass.

3. Take antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E and minerals like selenium and zinc. These help to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. This damage is linked to the aging process.

4. Eat a diet that is almost sugar free and limit your intake of starches like breads, pasta and rice. Sugar and carbohydrates cause an increase in insulin. Insulin is the hormone which allows sugars to enter your cells to be used as fuel or stored as fat if they are not burned off. It also tells your body not to release any stored fat. High levels of sugar and insulin results in "carmelization" of body tissues and accelerates the formation of wrinkles. Alpha lipoic acid helps to reduce the negative effects of insulin and sugar on the body as does eating in hormonal balance. Using skin creams with DMAE will also help your skin look younger.

5. Skip the java. Coffee ages you. Caffeine in coffee and tea causes dehydration, increases the secretion of stress hormones and causes loss of minerals like magnesium. Coffee also makes you more acidic, which is damaging to body tissues like your bones and joints. Choose green tea instead. It is a potent antioxidant and also improves blood sugar control.

6. Take essential fatty acid supplements to keep your skin supple and inflammation low. Take a high quality fish oil supplement daily. Fish oils are great natural anti-inflammatory compounds. They assist in fat loss and they also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Consider using coconut oil topically if your skin is dry.

7. Drink water. Dehydrated skin looks older! Joints stiffen up with insufficient water intake and constipation related to dehydration will only make you more toxic. The best water to consume is reverse osmosis water or spring water-not distilled.

8. Eat your veggies. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and unsaturated fats has been found to increase immune system function and ward off wrinkles. Try drinking vegetable juice or take a green food supplement if you find you are having trouble getting these foods into your diet. Skin-friendly foods include green leafy vegetables, beans, olive oil and nuts.

9. Be happy. Stress kills-and it accelerates the aging process. Cortisol, the hormone released under chronic stress, damages bones, the immune system, the brain and your mojo! Laugh every day and surround yourself with positive people. If your work environment or home environment is negative, look at what you can change. Remember: you cannot change other people's actions, only your reaction to them. Check out the Truestar Attitude section for hints on attaining a better mood.

10. Don't smoke. Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your skin and overall cellular health. Along with being high in toxins, it causes a decrease in the blood supply to the skin. Puckering your lips will eventually cause the lines to remain.