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HEALTH FRONT

Anti-aging secrets
By Dr. Leow Chee Seng Fellow of British Institute Homeopathy (UK),
Certified Stress Management Professional (US)

There’s a huge difference between your biological age and feeling


psychologically young.

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HEALTH FRONT

S ince the dawn of time, mankind has searched


for a mythological fountain of youth and
anti-aging secrets have been spoken of in the very
getting old. The traditional designation for old age
is 65 years old. Even a judge retires at the age of
65. (Constitutional Law, Article 125). In fact, many
earliest myths and legends. people are vigorous and active at 65.

Every culture has myths about immortal heroes Some researchers refer to aging from the perspective
who found some sort of rejuvenating herb, device of biological age. Biological age refers to changes in
or potion that allow them to stay young forever – or the body that commonly occur as people age. For
at least for a very long time. For example, a Chinese example, vision and hearing abilities reduce as we
legend described the Qin Dynasty emperor Shih age. Nowadays, we can observe that people are
Huang Ti – who ordered his warriors to hunt for biologically old at 40.
longevity potions for him, but failed.
Turning to psychological age, I would describe it
In this universe, no one wants to die, and no one as how a person would feel and at his emotional
wants to grow old. It is no wonder that ideas about stage. For example, a 75-year-old who works and
anti-aging secrets are so widespread all over the participates in different activities is considered to
world. Sorting out the real anti-aging secrets from be psychologically young.
all the myths, however, can be quite a task.
Diet factors
For all we know, the secrets to anti-aging could As we age, hormonal levels diminish and our
be well guarded so that they would not fall into skin, muscles and bones begin to deteriorate. A
the wrong hands. Who knows if somewhere, in an good anti-aging diet should stimulate hormone
isolated village up in the mountains, a whole tribe production and promote strength and flexibility.
of people have learned how to live for hundreds, or
even thousands of years? Natural anti-oxidant sources
The US Food and Drug Administration has
If they knew how to do that, would they share the identified 20 types of food with high anti-oxidant
anti-aging secret with the rest of us? Or would levels.
they keep their precious anti-aging treatment to 1. Red beans
themselves? 2. Wild blueberries
3. Red kidney beans
I have visited several places in Mediterranean; I 4. Pinto beans
observed that the life expectancy of the people 5. Cultivated blueberries
there is higher than other countries. A qualitative 6. Cranberries
research conducted on their lifestyle and eating 7. Artichokes
habits found that people who eat Mediterranean 8. Blackberries
diets tend to live longer and healthier lives. 9. Prunes
10. Raspberries
It is not because they are necessarily wiser or 11. Strawberries
smarter, but because they live in an area where 12. Red Delicious apples
certain foods grow, and have developed a specific 13. Granny Smith apples
lifestyle that contributes to longevity. Olive oil, 14. Pecans
grapes, a diet high in vegetables and fish, and many 15. Sweet cherries
other aspects of the Mediterranean diet contribute 16. Black plums
to good health and long life. 17. Russet potatoes
18. Black beans
When I was conducting a public seminar, a 19. Plums
participant asked me how we could identify if a 20. Gala apples
person has undergone degenerative process or

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HEALTH FRONT

The oxidation process also contributes to aging.


Oxygen is released by plants during photosynthesis
and we need them for survival. However, oxygen
produces by-products that are harmful to our
health.

Clinical research to overcome the effect of the


oxidation process in cells include methods to slow
down the oxidation process or eliminate its effects
– Dr Musalmah Mazlan, a lecturer from medical
faculty, UKM and Associate Prof Maznah Ismail
from medical faculty, UPM are actively involved
in such research. Their findings are that there is a
possible impact of anti-oxidants on aging.

But, when you walk into a pharmacy – where you can


buy different brands of supplement – how effective
that supplement with anti-oxidants is on our bodies
is debatable. Some of us have misunderstood the
importance of balanced diet. Supplements can
never be used to substitute balanced diet.

Besides, beware that we can “over-supplement”


our bodies by taking more than the recommended
daily dosage of certain vitamins and minerals. For
example, excessive vitamins A and E (types of fat-
soluble vitamins) stored in liver and fatty tissues can
lead to toxicity and diseases.
Many of the studies and research done lately about
anti-aging and anti-disease nutrition have focused So, I strongly believe in natural therapy where
on the nutrients known as anti-oxidants. Anti- nutrients are obtained from natural food. In
oxidants help to reverse the oxidation process or practice, we should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
slow down the oxidation process in the cells. in order to obtain high level of anti-oxidants. Thus,
in nutrition therapy session, I always encourage my
Before further discussion on anti-oxidants, it is a clients to take diet rich in fruits, veggies and whole
good idea to understand the concept of aging. grains.
Aging starts when a person is born. An infant
develops and matures into an adult; the aging We all agree that eating the right thing is
process eventually leads to a decline in function sometimes difficult. But when the bleak prospect
that ultimately leads to death. of pain and suffering beckons with the possibility
of getting even cancer, arthritis or arteriosclerosis,
There are several factors which lead to cell a bowl of salad and an orange seems like a very
degeneration – including chemicals, radiation, tasty choice.
environment, drugs and toxins, emotional stages
and stress. The cells die because they can only According to Dr Charles Silverman, a natural
divide for a limited number of times. When a cell therapist, we should take at least two types of food
stops dividing, the cells enlarge and die. Hence, the with high anti-oxidants to maintain our health and
aging process starts. reduce the aging process.

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HEALTH FRONT

Since sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe exercise routine is consistent, the process won’t
and mangoes are great sources of anti-oxidants, have the same effect.
it is recommended to consume them half cooked
or even raw. This way, the nutrients will not be Flexibility exercises are especially important to beat
destroyed by heat during preparation and the anti- the aging process. It increases blood circulation and
oxidants remain at optimum levels. releases serotonin – a chemical produced by the brain
that is necessary for overall health and well-being.
Psychological stress Flexibility exercises are also safe and easy to perform.
The importance of good nutrition to keep away the
early signs of aging is clear, but the truth is that this Further, strength-building exercise helps build
is only the first step. sturdiness and sustain bone mass. Your chances
of having a debilitating injury are lessened as you
Prof Dennis H. Novack, who studied the link build your muscle strength. Exercises to improve
between emotions and health at Drexel University the muscles in your shoulders, back and legs will
College of Medicine in Philadelphia, found that also help with hormone production.
the hypothalamus excretes adrenocorticotrophic
hormone (ACTH) in times of stress. Lastly, I would recommend taking up cardiovascular
exercises. This form of aerobic exercises also helps
The hormone shortens the telomere (structure at fight depression and keeps your weight down.
the ends of a chromosome) and the cells start to Running, brisk walking and any other exercise that
degenerate and aging starts. Stress management will increase your heart rate for a sustained period
techniques like breathing, progressive relaxation, of time releases brain chemicals that produce good
mediation and visualisation should therefore be hormones.
used when there is an indicator of stress.
Don’t forget that the key element to be incorporated
Also, what is the relationship between exercise and into our life-styles if we want to live longer and look
anti-aging? Studies have shown that nothing works younger is to also reduce the amounts of chemicals,
better for anti-aging effects than a regular exercise synthetics and over-the-counter drugs that we
program. ‘Regular’ is the key word – unless your expose our bodies to. OH!

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