If there’s one thing that bonds human beings together, it’s probably the fact that we all age, whether we like it or not. It’s a big deal for us, as we are the only known species on Earth to celebrate birthdays, right?
While some of us embrace aging (and wrinkles and white hair and baldness), others are more concerned on how to avoid aging.
If you’re part of the latter group, you may be interested in reading a study published in the journal Cell, where scientists explain why humans get old and discuss strategies to improve longevity.
According to the scientists, aging, as well as development and maturity, is ultimately determined by metabolism — the process by which our body converts what we eat to energy. Basically, as we age, our metabolism becomes less efficient, which in turn, damages our DNA and causes our cells to stop functioning efficiently — which can be detrimental to our health.
True, aging is inevitable and there seems to be no plausible way to absolutely stop it, much less reverse it; but because metabolism is likewise linked to nutrition, there are ways in which we can at least slow down the process.
Scientists identified what they call “Westernized lifestyle” as an aging accelerator. It’s characterized by hypercaloric nutrition with excess fat and protein intake but limited amount of healthy food, exposure to environmental toxicants, and exaggerated sedentariness — things that are highly discouraged if you want to live long.
So if you want to increase your health span, scientists recommend that you follow these metabolic interventions:
- Mediterranean diet. It’s composed of healthy fats like olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish, and little red meat or sugar.
- Caloric restriction. It means reduced intake of calories but without causing malnutrition.
- Exercise. Well, of course it’s on the list. We all know how important physical fitness is to longevity.