THIS Is the Hidden Secret to Looking Younger and Living LongerLuke Coutinho
What is the unknown secret to looking younger and living longer?
Most people today are chasing the fountain of youth by blowing a big chunk of their paychecks for quick fixes to look more beautiful and younger. On the other hand, some people are less bothered and accept life and graceful aging beautifully.
A harsh truth
For those wanting to look young, I am not against it. But there is one truth that you need to understand and accept.
From the moment we are born, we begin the process of death. Biological aging is a natural and beautiful part of it. You could be pumping yourself with injections, smearing the most expensive creams in the world, and eating all the superfoods. You cannot reverse aging. What is unfortunate is that aging is creating tremendous stress for many people.
The quickest way to age is…
Those who follow me have heard me say this multiple times. Chronic stress is the quickest way to age faster and prematurely. It is a vicious circle. Today we will delve into the science behind aging. Bear with me because it involves some biology, physiology, and chemistry. I hope by the end of this piece, you will stop wasting your resources, money, and emotions on chasing the fountain of youth and realize that it has been within you all along. It revolves around your cells, DNA, and telomeres.
Telomeres and how you maintain their health can influence several factors like how your skin and hair appear, how you age, and even the possibility of lifestyle and genetic conditions.
What are telomeres?
We all have cells. Every cell has DNA sequences that form a pattern called chromosomes. Your DNA structure instructs everything – actions, control, signaling pathways, and so on.
Think of a chromosome as an intertwined shoelace. At the top of the lace is a cap which is your telomere. Your telomere is a nuclear protein structure responsible to protect your chromosomes (a sequence of your genes). What would happen if you removed this cap from the shoelace? It starts to get untwined and frayed up. You will have small strands and particles sticking out. This is what happens to the chromosomes.
How does it work?
Your cells are constantly dividing and forming new cells. This process requires the DNA sequence to be copied correctly into the new cell. When that happens perfectly, you age gracefully. The longer your telomeres, the healthier you are, the longer you will live, and the better your quality of life. Most people today have shorter telomeres impacted not because of our genes but their poor lifestyle. As these telomeres start to get shorter and shorter, the DNA sequence gets more and more damaged.
What happens when you have shorter telomeres?
When your telomeres are short and your DNA is damaged, your cell cannot transfer the genetic code to the new cell. You are now left with less instruction and less intelligence in the new cell. It is how misfiring begins at a cellular level. It can turn on aging quickly and make you more vulnerable to certain conditions. It can also turn on bad genes way quicker in your life at a younger age.
Today you meet young people with graying hair. It could be related to shorter telomeres. Labs are now conducting studies on shorter telomeres. Studies reveal that these are found in highly stressed-out individuals.
What do we need to ensure that our telomeres stay healthy?
Here are some food and lifestyle tips to protect your telomeres:
Scientifically-documented foods for telomere health:
- The whole legume family (chana, rajma, navy beans, pinto beans, and so on)
- Nuts. Stay away from salted, deep-fried, honeyed nuts with maltodextrin. Have soaked and unsalted nuts. Avoid if you are allergic.
- Seeds (pumpkin, watermelon, sunflower, flax, and so on)
- Fruits. Don’t hop onto extreme diets that cut fruits off. People who lose weight drastically by following such extremes start to look haggard. Don’t overdo or underdo fruits.
- Coffee. There is mixed research on this. While drinking 1-2 cups of coffee supports telomere length, overconsumption can shorten your telomeres leading to rapid aging. Make an informed choice and maintain a balance.
- Ethically sourced, hormone-free, antibiotic-free dairy – yogurt, cheese, milk, and so on are excellent for your telomere length. It explains why infants and babies are fed dairy in their early lives.
What destroys telomeres?
- Over-binging on alcohol is the easiest way to shorten your telomeres.
- Processed meats (salamis, hams, and so on) that have nitrates are the worst for your telomeres.
- White refined sugar. Scientific studies show the difference in telomere lengths between control groups having aerated beverages filled with sugar and those having plain water. The more sugar you have, the more rapidly you age because of the DNA and telomere damage.
- Smoking. A no-brainer. It is the fastest way to change how you look both internally and externally – health and beauty-wise. I am not taking a dig at all the smokers. If you have the ability to stop, give it a try. It will benefit you. You cannot be a smoker, take botox injections, and expect beauty to last and aging to slow down.
- Exercise is key. There are two things to be mindful of here. If you are sedentary, you will have shorter telomeres. At the same time, if you are overtraining, you will have shorter telomeres because of the oxidative stress and inflammation it creates. Keep it balanced and holistic. The more training you have, the more rest and recovery you need.
- Don’t be that corporate junkie who sleeps 3 hours a night, runs a marathon, goes into meetings sleep and rest-deprived, works 14 hours a day, and then wonders why they got a heart attack or look older when they work out so well and eat well. Rest and recovery are everything.
- Maintain good social support, bonds, and relationships. All of these bring you joy and are key to maintaining your telomere length.
- Laughter, spending time with people who uplift you, people who make you feel good about yourself, getting rid of people who are toxic and setting boundaries with groups that put you down all the time is important. The mind-body connection is important to maintain good telomere length and health. Every emotion you experience affects trillions of cells. For instance, if someone says something good about you right now, your cells will vibrate with the positive energy it creates. You sit up straighter, feel good in your chest, and puff it out a little. But if someone were to say something negative, it changes in an instant. Your entire body starts crumbling in, and your posture changes because that one negative thought impacts trillions of cells at a DNA level. Build meaningful relationships and social bonds.
- Sleep deprivation = shorter telomeres. It is why they call it beauty sleep. After a well-rested night, you look better, and your skin glows. Sleep is magical. Focus on getting deep-quality sleep. You can use all the concealer and makeup in the world to cover it up, but if you do not focus on getting quality sleep to address your telomere health, you will age rapidly.
- Depression. When you are going through depression, it is crucial to eat right, exercise, and sleep well because depression shortens your telomeres rapidly. It’s not easy, but it is not impossible either. Seeking help matters.
The one thing that everyone can do right now is…
Meditation is scientifically documented to be one of the most powerful ways to improve telomere health. People who meditate even 10 minutes a day can improve the length of their telomeres.
While some stress is excellent for us, chronic stress can be disastrous. Meditation is a beautiful technique to combat it and center yourself.
- Find 5 or 10 minutes in a day to close your eyes and focus on your breath – inhale and exhale.
- If you can’t focus on your breath, put an image in your mind that makes you feel happy. For the next 10 minutes, stay in that happy thought.
- If you are still struggling, start with one minute and slowly build it up.
The more you meditate, the more your telomere length gets to be healthier and longer, improving the quality of your life.
For people who doubt meditation works
Some people say, “Luke, my dad meditated every single day and they still got cancer.” I am not here to say meditation is your preventive band-aid for every condition, but it is a part of the process. Every disease is multifactorial. Just because you’re eating organic food today doesn’t mean you will never get sick. Any disease is multifactorial. Your emotional health, nutrition (quantity and quality), what suits you, inflammation, immunity, external environment, and internal environment – all work together. And then there is destiny, which is outside our control.
Acceptance is everything
From the moment you are born, you begin to age. Acceptance is a huge and beautiful trait. I don’t know why people are fighting aging so much. Perhaps, they are trying to fill up a void. They have made their external beauty their identity. And as that starts to fade away, they feel their identity fade away too.
This is one important reason why we coach our clients to never equate their self-esteem, self-growth, or self-confidence to the way they look because that is going to change. Equate your self-esteem with your values, who you are, your skills, and how you use these to impact lives.
Accept and repeat to yourself – Every day, I am aging, but I can age gracefully. I will age gracefully. Remove the trigger points and lifestyle habits that may make you age rapidly and replace them with changes that will allow you to age gracefully.
If you can’t find 5 minutes or 10 minutes to meditate but you can find 3 hours for a spa day something is wrong. I don’t mean that in a derogatory or disrespectful way. I mean wrong in the way that you see life, intelligence, and your own body. It means your mind is connected outwards with what everyone’s doing and what everyone’s trying to sell you.
I know people who fly around the globe to the most expensive spas for massages and treatments to make themselves look younger. But the moment they step out of that spa, they’re the same – angry, bitter, filled with resentment, guilt, authority, pride, and ego. It is damaging to their aging process. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good massage but the intention, mindset, and belief system matter. You cannot screw up your lifestyle and then expect massages and treatments to make you look young.
I also meet elderly people who have never gotten a massage, never popped a nutraceutical, and don’t even eat fancy superfoods. Yet they have aged beautifully – lovely white hair, beautiful wrinkles, bright smiles. They may not have six packs and size zero, but they’re living disease free.
Accept graceful aging. The more you resist it, the more it becomes difficult. What you keep chasing becomes more elusive. Go back to the basics and make small wins every day for your health and longevity.
Remember, if you are in your 20s and your 30s but you’re looking like someone in your 50s and 60s, it is a warning to you that your lifestyle is accelerating your aging. Listen to these signs and take corrective action.
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