While nothing beats having good genes, there are definitely steps you can take to avoid or slow down the ravages of time.
First and foremost is getting good restorative sleep. Over time we develop habits and patterns of sleep that do not promote health. Overuse of caffeine, cutting back time allotted for sleep, using medications and alcohol to get to sleep, and the development of medical sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are all issues to consider.
As we get older we become less able to manage sugar and easily digested simple carbohydrates as found in breads and pastas, as well as other grains and some fruits. We tend to become somewhat insulin resistant, which creates a vicious circle of obesity causing more insulin resistance and inflammation, etc.
Many people who are overweight, inflamed or just don't feel well find that they really are just eating too many calories or simply the wrong kind. Educating yourself on the right way to eat can be both enlightening and life-changing. One way to gauge your body's metabolic activities is to have your doctor check your c-reactive protein level to measure inflammation, and if blood sugar is an issue, consider having a glucose tolerance test and check insulin levels.
Evaluating and optimizing hormone status can be instrumental in maintaining youth. Some say our hormones decline because we age. Others say we age because our hormones decline. Areas to focus on are thyroid issues, which can produce fatigue and dulling. A phenomenon called “adrenal fatigue” is becoming more recognized as a real issue and testing and treating this can make a big difference for people. Finally optimizing hormone levels in men and women can afford great changes in energy and vitality.
The health and functioning of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is critical to our aging well. About 80-90% of our immune and neurotransmitter system reside in our GI system. You simply cannot be well or age optimally if you have a digestive issue. While some people have very difficult issues to deal with like inflammatory bowel disease, many people are afflicted with what are called functional bowel issues such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and leaky gut that are easily remedied when under the right care.
Being evaluated and treated by a doctor trained in functional and integrative medicine can support you in uncovering and treating issues that will then allow you to age gracefully and leading an active and fulfilling life as long as possible.