How do some people avoid the slowing down, deteriorating, and weakening that plagues many of their peers decades earlier? Are they just lucky? Or do they know something the rest of us don’t? Is it possible to grow older without getting sicker? What if you could look and feel fifty through your eighties and nineties?
Founder of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and one of the leading pioneers of longevity research, Nir Barzilai, M.D.’s life’s work is tackling the challenges of aging to delay and prevent the onset of all age-related diseases including “the big four” — diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
One of Dr. Barzilai’s most fascinating studies features volunteers that include 750 SuperAgers ― individuals who maintain active lives well into their nineties and even beyond ― and, more importantly, who reached that ripe old age never having experienced cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or cognitive decline.
In his new book, Age Later: Health Span, Life Span, and the New Science of Longevity, Dr. Barzilai reveals the secrets his team has unlocked about SuperAgers and the scientific discoveries that show we can mimic some of their natural resistance to the aging process.
In the 1950s, average life expectancy for the Western world hovered around 65-70 years of age, which included a 25% infant mortality rate (dying before the age of 5) and a 16% youth mortality rate (dying before the age of 15). Today, life expectancy in the United States has risen to 78 years of age, which undoubtedly reflects an infant and youth mortality rate that has been brought under control.
Despite enormous advances in keeping young children alive, extending human lifespan over the past century, give or take a decade, has not made much progress. This lack of progress is not for lack of trying. Though we’ve known that cells experience senescence — programmed aging — since the 1960s and that the accumulation of senescent cells eventually leads to dysfunction, disease, and death, there has been little progress made in addressing inevitable, age-related breakdowns. In fact, in many ways, it can seem that we are moving in the wrong direction.
But here are some ways we can stop the clock and promote longevity:
- Be Mindful of Your Calorie Intake – Calories matter, so paying attention to how much you eat and choosing to eat just a little less at each meal can make a big difference. Eating less is healthier than eating more.
- Get Your Macronutrients –Macronutrients are the nutrients we get from proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and water, primarily to generate energy and for tissue growth and repair.
- Hydrating Wisely – While it’s true that water is a macronutrient in the sense that all our organs need it to function, it’s also true that we can drink too much of it. In general, men need about four cups of water a day, and women need about three cups.
- Prevent Obesity – Obesity contributes to type 2 diabetes and other conditions that can shorten our lives, but while we want to avoid becoming fat, we don’t want to stop eating fat because consuming a little of it is good for us and necessary.
- Exercise Promotes Health Span and Life Span – Hands down, the most important intervention we have for aging is physical exercise. Not only does it help improve our cardiovascular health, help to regulate our weight, and lower our risk of type 2 diabetes, it may also help to prevent strokes, dementia, and even cancer.
This eye-opening and inspirational book will help you think of aging not as a certainty, but as a phenomenon―like many other diseases and misfortunes―that can be targeted, improved, and even cured.
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.