Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, nutritionist based in Post Falls, Idaho, and author of more than 30 books, including Hot Times: How to Eat Well, Live Healthy, and Feel Sexy During the Change.
Wouldn’t it be nice if those headlines about living vibrantly to age 100 were true? And, even better, if it didn’t require voodoo or new-age machinery to do it? Well, it is…and it doesn’t. You just need to understand the root causes of deterioration as we age, most of which are because the body accumulates pro-aging toxins faster than it can eliminate them.
At the cellular level, aging is caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that break down our bodies’ cells and damage DNA. By doing this, they create a sort of cellular chaos—called oxidative stress—that can hasten aging and fuel the development of disease.
Most approaches to fighting oxidative stress involve antioxidants—restorative vitamins and minerals in food and supplements—to counter the effects of free radicals. But all the kale in the world won’t help you keep pace with the alarming rate with which free radicals infiltrate the body.
Best defense: Integrate smart, sciencebacked strategies into your daily life to reduce the amount of pro-aging toxins that enter your body and eliminate the ones that do get in.
AGEs are inflammatory compounds formed when high-heat cooking methods (grilling, broiling, browning, roasting, frying) alter the fat and proteins in food. AGEs also are created when proteins and fats in certain foods—particularly animal-based fats (butter, meat,cheese) and processed foods—mix with fructose and glucose in the bloodstream. The resulting “sticky” molecules promote oxidative stress and signs of aging in the body, from the skin (that sagging skin on your upper arm) to the heart (arteries stiffened by AGEs can nearly double the chance of dying from heart disease). Self-defense…
Choose the right fats—olive oil and avocados…and avoid the wrong ones— bacon and fried foods. You can eat nuts and seeds raw or lightly toasted—roasting can double their AGE content.
Eat plant-based foods. Fruits and veggies are low in AGEs and rich in detoxifying enzymes, fiber and antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Avoid high-fat animal products such as bacon and cheese.
Limit “high and dry” cooking methods, such as grilling and roasting. Go for low-heat, wet cooking methods including simmering, braising, steaming, poaching and slow-cooking to maximize nutrients while limiting AGEs. If you grill, first marinate the fish or meat in an acidic medium such as citrus juice, organic grass-fed broth, apple cider vinegar— even olive oil will work. Per pound of meat or fish, use four to six tablespoons of liquid (plus enough water or other ingredients to cover the food), andadd herbs and spices for flavor. This can slash AGE formation in half.
Metals and minerals such as aluminum, mercury and copper suppress the immune system, speeding aging and development of degenerative diseases.
Aluminum increases osteoporosis risk and is linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It enters the body in aluminum- containing medicines and foods cooked using aluminum products. Self-defense…
Minimize use of aluminum-containing medications and products. Many antacids, antidiarrheals, OTC painkillers and deodorants contain aluminum.
Use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil when cooking.
Replace aluminum pots, pans and cookie sheets with stainless steel, glass, Pyrex and ceramic nonstick cookware.
Mercury exposure occurs through consumption of certain fish and seafood… medications and personal-care products…and dental amalgams (mercury fillings). Mercury damages nerves’ protective covering, which impacts cognitive function and may lead to Alzheimer’s. It also can cause tinnitus (ringing inthe ears) and hearing loss. Self-defense…
Avoid eating large fish (swordfish, ahi tuna, orange roughy, king mackerel and shark).
Skip mercury-containing self-care products, including Preparation H and some contact lens solutions.
Consider having mercury fillings removed. Mercury vapors may be released from fillings. Visit the website of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM.org/ location) to find a dentist trained in mercury filling–removal protocols.
Copper comes in two forms—monovalent, or food-based (found in avocado, asparagus, mushrooms, nuts, liver and chocolate)…and divalent, or synthetic (mostly in environmental sources such as drinking water from copper pipes, multivitamin/mineral supplements, copper-lined cookware and copper IUDs). Monovalent copper is essential for healthy bones, connective tissue, red blood cells and the immune system. But divalent copper accumulates over the years and is highly inflammatory, paving the way toward the destruction of brain cells and possibly leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Self-defense…
Test levels of copper in your drinking water. It should be a conservative 0.01 ppm(0.01 mg/L) or less. Home-testing kits are available at WaterCheck.com. If the copper level is over 0.01 ppm, install a copper filter (such as a reverse osmosis filter) on the tap used for drinking and cooking water.
Avoid copper-containing supplements. Multivitamin/mineral supplements often are enriched with copper.
Supplement with resveratrol, a plant compound that binds and removes copper. I like the Longevinex brand (one to two capsules per day).
Cell phones, smart devices (including smart thermostats and doorbells), Wi-Fi and cordless phones emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs), a form of radiation linked to fatigue, migraines, back pain, cognitive issues, problems with the heart, digestive system and sleep, cataracts—even brain tumors and cancer. They also raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can accelerate aging, disrupt sleep and increase risk for cardiovascular disease. Self-defense…
Hard wire your home using Ethernet cables instead of Wi-Fi. If you have Wi- Fi, turn it off at night to slash exposure while you are sleeping. Keep cell phones away from your head—instead use a speaker phone or an air-tube headset, rather than wireless ear buds. Keep your phone off or on airplane mode when not in use, and never leave it next to your bed when you’re sleeping. If you need an alarm clock, get a battery- or electricitypowered one. Try to limit cell-phone or smart-device use to areas that have excellent reception—these devices use more power (and emit more radiation) in areas with poor reception. Avoid 5G-enabled devices. Until now, the wavelengths of all generations of wireless telecommunications technology, including 4G, have traveled along the surface of the skin, but 5G wavelengths are absorbed by the skin.
Eat hemp seeds, rosemary and miso soup, all of which absorb radiation and mitigate its effects in the body.
Supplement with magnesium, which helps offset the effects of EMFs. Take 5 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight per day.
Decorate with plants that absorb electromagnetic radiation—snake plants, aloe vera, rubber plants and cacti.