There are people who look much younger than their age. Is there a secret formula to that? Is it genetic? Are they particularly lucky?
The answer is no. You can feel and look younger if you want, but you’ll have to build some healthy habits.
Here are a few key habits that can have a strong, positive impact on your life, and help you feel healthier, younger and full of energy.
1. Always Choose Fresh, Whole Foods — and Avoid Processed Foods Like the Plague
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”
— Bethenny Frankel”
It’s well known how fresh and whole foods are good for our body, while, as mentioned in an article published in the Harvard School of Public Health’s blog, processed foods might be harmful for our health in the long term.
This is because fresh foods are nutrient dense — that is, they provide our body with vitamins, minerals, proteins, water, good fats and carbohydrates — and they help our organs function properly.
The importance of whole foods
When we eat whole foods — all those foods that have been processed as little as possible and are free from additives — we are taking care of our body, and keeping it healthy and young.
Every time we eat unprocessed foods, we actually recharge our body.
And, as mentioned by John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof and expert of biohacking, eating whole foods, might also have a rejuvenating effect on our body and help us live longer.
Processed foods instead, are high in calories with little value in terms of nutrients: they don’t provide our body with good nutrients, and they only give our body “empty calories.”
Empty-calorie foods are those foods that contain more calories than nutrients.
All foods contain nutrients and calories, and it’s important to always choose foods with more nutrients than calories.
Nutrient-dense foods are essential to maintain our body young and healthy, as they provide more of the things our body need, rather than just “energy”.
So instead of buying pre-packaged meals, flavored cereals, energy bars, cookies, pastries, hot dogs, sport drinks, it’s much better to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, grass-fed meat, organic tea and herbs, spices and nuts.
Nuts for example should always be included in our diet, since they are high in omega-3, are a good source of proteins, and are good for heart, hair and skin. Also, cereals are high in fiber and amino acids.
When you crave food, instead of eating an energy bar or some sweetened cereals, eat an apple and some nuts for example.
Or a banana. Or maybe a poke salad. Have oats with milk. Eat Greek yogurt with some honey.
But please, avoid frozen pizza, cookies, and co.
2. If You Can, Go to the Beach More Often
“I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.”
— Rosamund Pike
Why is spending time at the beach so important for our health? Spending time in nature has immense benefits on our health and overall wellness – and as a consequence on the way we look.
The beach is one of the best places to be in contact with nature because we breathe pure, fresh sea air.
Fresh sea air helps our body absorb more oxygen.
We always breathe oxygen, but, as mentioned in an article published in the monthly newsletter from the US National Institutes of Health, not always the air we inhale is actually clean and good for our body.
Who leaves in a big city for example, knows how pollution can affect the quality of the air they breathe.
The benefits of spending time at the beach
Sea air may help boost our mood and reduce depression symptoms.
Also, simple things like lying on the sand helps us relax and feel happier.
This is especially because, as Anna Gherini mentions in an article published in Inc, the sound of waves helps our brain release stress and helps our body produce serotonin and dopamine.
Another benefit of going to the beach is its positive impact on our sleep.
And we know how important it is to sleep well and without interruptions.
The fact is that, after a day at the beach you will be more likely to sleep longer and get more quality deep sleep than usual.
Also, something you should definitely do, is to take long walks on the shore.
Not only is it a good way to release stress and boost your mood, it is also considered a great way to exercise.
Walking on the beach makes you use 20 to 50 percent more calories than you would use walking at the same pace on a hard surface.
And you’ll develop more strength in your lower body — that is legs, feet and buttocks — as well.
Also, spending time at the beach is beneficial for your skin.
Doctors often recommend swimming in the ocean or in the sea to patients with dermatitis and psoriasis, as it has been proved how sun exposure and seawater — with moderation — are great natural remedies for some skin diseases.
3. Practice Deep Breathing
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
— Oprah Winfrey
Deep breathing is a powerful tool to release stress. Oxygen is vital for our body, and helps our body stay young and healthy.
Breathing in the right way may help you live longer, it helps prevents stress and boost our mood.
Not only that, it also helps our brain perform well and stay young, preventing several mental diseases.
As mentioned in Harvard Health Publishing, deep breathing exercise improves oxygen delivery. In particular,
“Deep abdominal breathing helps full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Also, it can slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure.”
If you feel stressed sometimes, and you find yourself experiencing tachycardia or heart palpitations, try to lie on the bed, close your eyes and breathe deep through the nose for a few minutes — 5 to 15 minutes — and you will see the benefits.
While doing this, from time to time, hold your breath between inhales and exhales. You can start holding your breath for 3 to 5 seconds and then, after a few sessions, you can try to hold it for a bit longer, up to 10–15 seconds. This is an excellent exercise to reduce anxiety and stress.
4. Avoid Sugar Like the Plague
“Sugar is the new tobacco.”
— Cynthia Kenyon
Added sugar can be unhealthy for our body in the long term.
Avoiding added sugar is essential to control your weight, stay healthy and look younger. This might sound obvious, yet most people don’t get this.
When we eat a lot of added sugar, a good part of it gets turned into fat.
In particular, when your liver can’t process properly the excess of sugar, it just turns it into fat.
How to actually avoid sugar
In order to avoid sugar you have to not only stop adding it to your coffee or tea, but also avoid buying flavored cereals, protein bars and other similar products with added sugar.
Also, remember that it’s essential to avoid starting the day with a high-sugar breakfast, since, as mentioned in an article published in Healthline, it will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels and will make you crave sugar throughout the day.
It’s a much better choice to eat a balanced breakfast; eggs, oats, almonds, nuts, whole wheat bread are all excellent ingredients for a healthy breakfast.
Beware of energy and protein bars, they are often high in sugar and empty calories.
5. If You Want to Look Younger, Eat Fresh, Wild-Caught Salmon
“My life is what a salmon must feel like. They are always going upstream, against the current.”
— Laura Schlessinger
Wild-caught fresh salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
You can find it in almost any grocery store or on Amazon.
It contains more than 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D, which is vital for our bones, heart and brain, may help improve our mood and helps prevent some mental and physical diseases.
Also, it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for our brain functions and improve brain activity.
Also, it has been proven that omega-3 fatty acids may promote healthy aging.
However, as explained in The Nutrition Source, our body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids. This is why it is so important to regularly get them from food.
How to get more omega-3 fatty acids
It’s essential to consume wild salmon — as well as other foods rich in these nutrients like almonds, walnuts, egg yolk, flax seeds, hemp seeds— at least three times a week, in order to ensure a sufficient omega-3 fatty acids intake.
Or you can try omega-3 supplements.
Regarding the salmon, it’s even better to season it with freshly squeezed lemon juice and parsley, which are very healthy.
Lemon enhances the absorption of omega-3s and iron, and is rich in vitamin C.
Parsley helps cleanse your body from toxins as well as lemon, improves digestion and boosts metabolism.
Important: vitamin D is essential to skin and hair health, so you can also consider to buy some good supplements.
Another great way to eat fresh salmon, is to eat sushi.
In this case, make sure to season it well, and minimize the use of processed sauces.
6. Drink at Least 2.5 Liters of Water per Day
“Water is the driving force of all nature.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
Drinking water and staying hydrated is one of the key habits you need to build to slow down the aging process and keep your body healthy.
This sounds obvious, yet 90% of those who claim they know it, don’t drink enough anyway.
According to research, an adequate daily fluid – not water, but fluid – intake is: about 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters a day for women; these recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food.
Consider that about 80 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from what we drink.
When you drink a lot of water – at least 2 or 2.5 liters per day – you help slow down the aging process in your body.
The benefits of drinking more water
In particular, you get rid of toxins, hydrate all cells and tissues in your body helping them perform their normal functions, stay more focused and have much more energy.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line here is that drinking a lot of water every day improves your overall wellness, can help you look younger, and it’s the cheapest medicine in the world.
Don’t expect results overnight. Keep drinking plenty of water for a long time – at least 3 months.
You will see and feel long-lasting benefits, such as a significant improvement in your skin, brain function, weight loss and energy levels.
Remember: when it comes to healthy habits, consistency is always the key to significant and long-lasting results.
If you want to know if your daily fluid intake is adequate, make sure that you rarely feel thirsty and that your urine is almost colorless or light yellow.
Also, if you can, use water filters, as tap water can be harmful sometimes, depending on where you live. And if you can choose between plastic and glass bottles, always choose glass.
Sometimes, plastic bottles might have been accidentally exposed to heat before our purchase, in the summer for example.
When this happens, we ingest harmful chemicals and toxins without even knowing it.
Another good habit is to drink at least 250 ml boiled water (one glass) in the morning, with some fresh organic lemon juice – I normally squeeze one lemon in hot water.
This improves your immune system, prevents wrinkles from forming, and helps your digestive system work properly, boosting weight loss.
Also, adding fresh lemon juice helps cleaning your liver and eliminates toxins.
After you squeeze the lemon, add the juice to the water and drink it right away, in order to avoid the natural lemon juice oxidation.
A good alternative to it is drinking a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
The benefits of drinking water with lemon/acv in the morning:
- It cleanses your liver and colon;
- It’s great if you want to get rid of halitosis;
- It’s one of the best detox drinks;
- Kills bad bacteria;
- Boosts immune system;
- Reduces blood sugar levels;
- Lowers cholesterol levels;
- It’s great for your skin;
- Boosts metabolism;
- Helps balance your hormones naturally;
- It might help prevent obesity.
It’s essential to drink water in the morning in order to restart the daily hydration process and give our body plenty of hydration, since we don’t drink water at night while sleeping.
Many people don’t drink water in the morning, and only drink coffee instead, which has the opposite effect on our body: dehydration.
It’s essential to avoid this, as too much coffee not only might dehydrate our body, but it also might limit iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium absorption during our meals.
One or two coffees per day are fine – much better if you drink organic coffee – but make sure to drink plenty of water as well, in order to avoid dehydration.
Another reason why drinking water is so important, is that it helps cleanse the colon, and this helps our body assimilate nutrients.
When our body gets and absorbs good nutrients and is highly hydrated, our mental performance improves, we have more energy, our skin looks healthy and glowing, and as a result we simply feel and look much better.
When our body is dehydrated instead, the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, anemia and other major diseases increases, we don’t have much energy and we look exhausted – and older!
This is why they tell us to drink at least 1.5 liters of water.
But this intake is still low.
If what you want is to really take care of your body – and slow down the aging process – it’s good to drink at least 2 or 2.5 liters of water every day.
Also, as I recently mentioned, another great way to drink more water is take rooibos tea, as it's high in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage by free radicals.
7. If You Want to Look Younger, Dance
“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”
– Satchel Paige
Believe me, this is a must.
If you want to feel younger, if you want to live longer, and most importantly, if you want your inner beauty to shine through, you should dance regularly.
Dancing is a great way to work out. You can even do it with your partner to try something different, as I recently mentioned on TheHobbyCraze.
It improves physical performance and increases energy levels.
Not only it’s a good way to lose weight, meet new people and have fun, it also makes us feel really good, boosts our mood, benefits our heart and our cardiovascular system, and might help prevent dementia and other mental diseases.
It prevents volume loss in the crucial hippocampus area of our brain and improves memory since memorizing the steps is an excellent exercise for our mental activity and it keeps our brain quick and efficient.
Also, dancing helps reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, it boosts our self-esteem and helps develop our social skills.
Latin dance, for example, is a great way to develop new social relationships and is a very good anti-stress therapy.
If you don’t like latin dance you can try swing or tango for example.
Another benefit of dancing is that it helps control emotional eating in people who eat as a response to stress and depression.
Regarding the benefits on our body, dancing helps slow the aging process, since it keeps our body younger thanks to the toxins release and muscle toning.
As a result, we also feel happier and more relaxed thanks to the development of new social relationships, and to the endorphins production, which dramatically reduces stress and gives us that sense of peace and happiness.
In other words, this is what dancing does to your body:
So, in other words, dancing heals stress and prevents depression – two of our immune system’s biggest enemies – and consequently keeps us young.
As you can imagine, all these benefits make you look and feel younger – and more attractive!
If you pay attention to people who dance regularly, and you compare them with people who usually don’t, you can see that there is a huge difference.
People who dance always look cheerful, have a positive attitude towards life, have more energy and do many things in their life.
They are busy, happy and, as a result, more attractive.
The truth is that dance “wakes” you up, it helps you feel better, gives you that energy boost you were looking for, and makes you look younger than people your same age.
Originally published on The Lifestyle Times