From tales of The Fountain of Youth to modern day serums and creams that promise to smooth and plump, humans have long been interested in arresting the aging process. Naturally, a healthy diet and active lifestyle can go a long way towards promoting life and fostering a youthful glow, but this may not be the only key. A recent study published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics suggests that how much one eats may actually slow the aging process.
In the study, one group of mice were given unlimited access to food, while the other consumed 35 percent fewer calories. Results showed that the mice eating a calorie-restricted diet lived longer, experienced more energy and fewer diseases. According to scientists of the study, “the restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed down the rate of aging.”
What is the calorie, aging connection?
The study authors found that when ribosomes – the cell’s protein makers – slow down, the aging process slows too. The decreased speed lowers production but gives the ribosomes extra time to repair themselves.
“The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest,” said Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author John Price. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”
Reduced calorie consumption was the key to slowing ribosomes, at least in mice.
Hmmm … but what about in humans?
These findings aren’t entirely shocking. Another study conducted in 1972 found that residents of the Japanese island Okinawa naturally consumed 17 percent fewer calories than the average Japanese person. The Okinawans lived an average of a year and a half longer than those on the mainland and were 60 to 70 percent less likely to die of heart disease, cancer and cerebral vascular diseases.
Still, before you start diligently counting calories, the study authors warn that calorie-restriction has not been properly tested on humans and suggest instead that their findings impart the importance of a healthy diet. “The essential message is understanding the importance of taking care of our bodies,” study authors told Science Daily.
Eat Food: That means food that is unprocessed and doesn’t come from a factory. Shop primarily from the perimeter of your grocery store.
Not too much: One key to not overeating is making sure your meals are satiating. Protein and fat send signals to your brain that you’re full faster than bread, pasta and fruit. Make sure your meals include both.
Mostly Plants: Make plants the superstars of your diet. Rather than thinking of protein as the main, consider meat and fat as the side dish.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance, ”said Oscar Wilde. Why not then, show yourself how much you care this Valentine’s Day? Whether this holiday finds you solo or with a partner in crime, any healthy relationship starts by realizing you’re the apple of your own eye. Here are 7 ways to treat yourself right this V-day and everyday.
Get Your Glow On That is, your post-workout glow. If you’ve never been to the gym on Valentine’s day, you’re in for a treat. It’s usually gloriously empty. Don your red, white and pink workout gear, queue up your favorite beats and enjoy the options before you. Not a gym rat? Grab some friends for a V-Day run, snowshoeing adventure or impromptu dance party. Or, if you’re not crowd adverse, pop into any of the Valentine’s Day-themed yoga, spin, or dance classes in your ‘hood.
Take Yourself On a Date No date? No problem! Sometimes your own company truly is the best company. Plan some quality time for just you. Maybe that’s sitting in a café with a new book and a steaming mug of something? Or, maybe it’s setting up your own one-night stand in a fancy hotel, enjoying a leisurely bath and room service. The only requirement is that your date makes you excited. To avoid crowds and a likely sea of couples, steer clear of restaurants and movie theaters — or not. You’re in the driver’s seat!
Enjoy a Day Off Take a day to love yourself in all the ways that make your heart pitter pat. This is the time to engage all the senses. Break out the candles, essential oils, and your softest, comfiest clothes. Start the morning with breakfast in bed, then maybe an afternoon message and nap. From there, let pleasure be your guide.
Write Yourself a Love Letter How do you love thee? Let thee count the ways, literally. Set aside some time to wax poetic on all the ways you love yourself. Don’t hold back; the beauty is in the details. Recount times when you displayed compassion and/or were of service to another. Think about your traits. How do you crack yourself up? How do you take care of yourself? What goals have you achieved? What goals are you working towards? Think about the special people in your life and how you nurture those relationships. Keep your letter in a special place and refer to it often – especially those days when you’re feeling not so top notch.
Surround Yourself with Beauty Beauty is as beauty does. Let yourself soak it in in a special place that makes you come alive and awakens your creativity. Maybe that’s watching waves crash at the beach, or smelling the sweetness of a redwood forest? Perhaps it’s viewing art at a museum or seeing a ballet? After your beautiful experience, set aside some time to reflect and create your own expression of beauty.
Go Tech Free For a Day What if you were out of communication for a full day? No phone, no email, no Skype or Zoom? What might you do with that deposit in time? Allow yourself to go analog, if not for a full day at least a few hours, and connect with the physical world beyond the screen. Research shows that cutting screen time is not only beneficial for improving our social interactions but also calming the nervous system. Who knows, you might decide to adopt some tech-free time everyday.
Get Mindful Spend some quality time with yourself in a meditative way. Meditation has several benefits including helping to promote feelings of wellbeing and reducing stress. If you’ve never tried meditation before, here are some general instructions to get you started. Don’t be surprised if during your first time, focusing on the breath is particularly difficult. Learning to tame the mind improves with time. Follow up your meditation session with a walk outside using your senses to tune into your environment. What do you see, hear, smell and feel? How might you carry this experience into your day-to-day?