Whether you’re already in the throes of aging or are curiously peering at your first grey hair, it’s going to happen to all of us. And that’s if we’re lucky. Yes, we must consider ourselves lucky if we get to the point where gravity wins the battle and we have a face with more lines than the average map. It’s better than the alternative.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you should think: “oh, at least I’m not dead!” and let that be the end of it. With a plethora of research, ideas and innovation, there are steps you can take to help the aging process be a little less processed. Throw a spanner in the works; interrupt before the decline comes terminal. Whichever rather depressing metaphor you would rather use.
It’s a complicated world though, full of claims and counter claims. If you’re just beginning to dip your toe into the world of anti-aging, then consider this a primer. To cover all the bases, it’s arranged into a handy A to Z format. There will be no cheating on the tough letters.
(Please note there may be some cheating on the tough letters, unless we can find some kind of way to make a xylophone apply to this. Which we can’t. We tried.)
So let’s start at the very beginning…
A – Vitamin A
This is not cheating. Vitamin A is important to skin health. Many face creams include Retinol, the most well-known compound in the vitamin A group. It’s been linked to wrinkle reduction for years. You can up your intake from food, or via one of the aforementioned face creams.
B – Biotin
No matter what your gender, your hair is prone to thinning as you age. Combat it by supplementing biotin for a boost for hair and nails.
C – Castor Oil
Used in the east for years, castor oil applied daily helps keep skin looking fresh.
D – Detox
In total honesty, there is precious little evidence that detoxing works. At least, the kind of detoxing that involves drinking nothing but maple syrup. If your liver is functioning, you’re detoxing. If your liver isn’t functioning, you have bigger problems than aging. But taking some time off from bad food and alcohol is never a bad idea.
E – Exercise
Keep your joints flexible throughout life with low-impact exercise such as yoga or pilates.
F – Feverfew
This powerful herb is best known for its powers to combat migraines, but it has a great impact on skin health also. Use the oil once a week to reduce redness and age spots.
G – Gelatin
Gelatin is the substance that keeps you flexible, and our reserves of it naturally decrease as we age. By topping it up, you can stay as spry as an Olympic gymnast – well, nearly anyway. You can supplement in powder form or go for natural options like bone broth.
H – Herbal Tea
Raspberry tea is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Peppermint tea soothes digestion. Liquorice root is good for joints. Swap your coffee out for one of these once a week and reap the benefits.
I – Immune System
Support your immune system with healthy eating habits and exercise. However, while Vitamin C has many benefits, don’t think supplementing it will help your immune system. There’s plenty of evidence to say it doesn’t help much.
J – Juicing
A quick morning dose of vital nutrients, juicing has become a phenomenon and for good reason. Stick to vegetables over fruit for full impact.
K – Know Your Limits
If you are stressed or hurt, then learn to take a moment to decompress from it.
L – Lightheartedness
Adult life can be serious and dull, so try and do something frivolous every once in awhile.
M – Magnesium
Magnesium is being depleted in soil due to over-farming, which is alarming due to how important it is to bodily function. Supplement it to keep topped up.
N – Nutrition
Vegetables over fruit, plenty of white meat and staying away from processed sugars. You don’t need a fancy diet; you just need to be smart about it.
O – Oily Fish
Packed with Omega 3 and 6, the benefits of healthy fish are widely known. Two portions of salmon or tuna – preferably fresh – per week is all you need.
P – Peels
Facial peels can take years off your face, while foot peels make sandals a dream rather than a nightmare.
Q – Quality Of Life
If your work/balance ratio is out of sync, take steps to rectify it. Get out into nature every once in awhile.
R – Raw Food
The moment you heat food it begins to become less nutritious. Go raw wherever you can, or try to eat al dente as often as possible.
S – Surgery
Whether you want to get rid of your bingo wings or have bags in need of eyelid surgery, the stigma from cosmetic procedures is lower than ever. If you want it, can afford it and it’s safe – go for it.
T – Telomeres
Telomeres are structures at the end of chromosomes. It is thought damage to them is what causes aging. Meditation has been found to repair and sustain them by up to 40% more than in those who do not meditate, so get aum-ing.
U – UV Exposure
You need some UV exposure for Vitamin D, but mostly, stay out of the sun. Use sunscreen or a hat; your skin will thank you.
V – Vegetables
Far more important than fruit, though often lumped together with them. Most beneficial are the leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli and cabbage, so try and introduce them into your diet.
W – Water
You likely don’t need to be told the benefits of proper hydration, but when did you last actually get eight glasses a day?
X – Xylitol
This artificial sweetener is fantastic for keeping your teeth healthy through the aging process. Chew gum or use a toothpaste containing it.
Y – Yogurt
Preferably live, unsweetened yogurt for the probiotic benefits.
Z – Zzzzzzzzz
It’s the last on the list and you’re probably desperate for a nap by now – so take one. Good sleep hygiene and getting at least six hours a night will make a huge difference to your appearance.