By Mary-Ann Shearer
Theories of aging, and aging naturally
When we are born our cells are already programmed to die by a certain age: this depends on your parents and grandparents, skin type etc.
Wear and tear
An organism has to achieve a balance between the energy it puts into reproduction and the energy it puts into maintenance. The better the maintenance, the more the organism approaches immortality. However, some energy must always be put into reproduction or the species would die. So maintenance can never be complete and wear and tear is inevitable.
Adverse environmental factors may occasionally accelerate aging but mostly they increase vulnerability to the diseases of old age, including those that are potentially fatal. The basis of preventative medicine is to remove negative environmental influences such as a high fat diet, or else increase beneficial ones, such as exercise. There is some evidence that dietary restriction without malnutrition can slow down ageing.
The aging body
The potential lifespan of a human is probably finite and around 115 years. Deterioration in body function, and death, is ultimately inevitable.
“Ageing seems to be the only available way to live a long time.”
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871), French composer.
The aging immune system
Slowing of cell division, which may occur through DNA mutations, reduces the response of the immune system, which depends on rapid defense cell reproduction and mobilization. Reduced immunity with age means that:
- Infections are more likely to take hold.
- Dormant infections can be reactivated.
Auto antibodies (directed at their host body), and therefore autoimmune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, are more common in old age. As well as causing autoimmune problems, auto antibodies may be implicated in a number of age-related problems, including vascular disease.
Aging and your Skin
The skin ordinarily receives little respect or attention until something goes wrong and it either itches, flakes, burns, or erupts in a rash or blemishes or we notice the effects of ageing. From a creative or architectural point of view, the skin is one of the most amazing organs.
The Aging of the Skin
Although the skin is constantly aging, aging becomes more pronounced in the late forties (for the average Western person). Around this time, collagen fibres (elastic fibres) decrease in numbers, stiffen, break apart, and form into a shapeless matted tangle. The Langerhans cells (Immune system) dwindle in number, decreasing the skin’s immune response. The oil glands decrease in size and function, tending to result in a dry skin. The number of functioning melanocytes (pigmentation cells) decrease, and the hair becomes grey. Some melanocytes increase in size, and produce pigmentation or “liver spots”. “Liver spots” cannot be reversed, but their development can be slowed down by following a diet high in antioxidants (raw food). In general, the skin functions less efficiently, becoming thinner and more susceptible to skin cancer, itching, pressure, sores, and shingles.
Ageing of the skin can be slowed down and be a lot more “gracious” if plenty of natural antioxidants like vitamin A, C, and E are available in the diet, as well as natural Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s). Natural vitamin A, C, and E in raw foods help to boost the Immune system (Langerhans cells) and the EFA’s help the sebaceous (oil) glands to function properly (including the Endocrine system, which also helps the skin function efficiently).
Natural antioxidants help to prevent damage done to the skin by free radicals Free radicals are electrons that have been literally thrown out of orbit in the cells, by radiation, bacteria, dead cell debris, medical or street (recreational) drugs, or rancid and heated fats. These antioxidants are most easily available in raw fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Barleylife and Just carrots are particularly high in many antioxidants.
In barley leaves anti-oxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C has been isolated at the University of California. 2’-0-Glycosylisovitexin, was also found in extremely high, but safe levels and these together with an enzyme called peroxides have been shown to be anti- carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic. Peroxides actually break down and neutralize Try-P1 and P2 a carcinogen in grilled meat and fish and 3-4benzypyrene, another carcinogen in tobacco.
Therefore people who smoke or eat cooked animal products would reduce their risk of cancer, by taking in a regular dose of Barleylife.
In fact anyone with cancer or trying to avoid it would do well on Barleylife.
SOD or Superoxide Dismutase has been isolated, which is an extremely powerful ‘anti-aging’ antioxidant. It converts a harmful substance called Superoxide, into water and oxygen, which is completely harmless.
George Washington University found in 1994, a Vitamin E succinate. This was shown to improve or modulate growth hormone. Growth hormone slows down the aging process.
Overeating also tends to speed up the ageing process in the skin. Rats fed less than their usual amount of food were, over a lifetime, smaller as adults, but they lived twice as long and aged more slowly. Research done in 1959 by Czech scientists showed clearly that collagen in the skin was stronger on a lower calorie intake, resulting in slower ageing of the skin.
Richard Passwater did research in 1975, showing that animals fed natural foods, containing high antioxidant levels, lived much longer and when compared to a human life-span, the animals lived to 124 years as opposed to 75 years.
The Hunzas of Pakistan eat a diet high in natural antioxidants, e.g. apricots, peaches, pears, apples, mulberries, apricot kernel oil, fresh vegetables, and freshly ground grains with very little animal products. Their skins and bodies age very slowly, with the average life expectancy being 120 years.
The Vilcabambans in the Andes still work at the age of 100, with many people living to 150. Their diet too, is high in natural antioxidants, consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, very little fat, and animal protein and a little honey.
Quick fix anti aging
Things to DO
- A period of supervised fasting, preceded and followed by a 100% raw diet, and then progressing to a minimum of 75% raw fruit and vegetables with proper food combining and eating only whole, natural foods, is the best way to slow down the ageing of the skin.
- As the skin is controlled by the endocrine system it is vital that you pay attention to this system. The chapter in Perfect Weight called Happy Hormones covers this function and how to eat.
- Then an absolute must is Barleylife, Organic Carrot Juice (Just Carrots) and AIMega EFA supplments.
- Essential fatty acids are exactly that and taking in enough of them on a daily basis will make a huge difference so include either avocado, raw nuts and seeds, olives and cold pressed oils including Millbrook flax oil and extra virgin olive oil.
- Exercise has a profound effect on the endocrine system and 20 minutes daily of brisk walking is essential. On the other hand extreme exercise like doing 3 hours a day can actually speed up the ageing process.
- Anything that helps to slow down ageing in the skin also slows down general ageing of the entire body. Your external appearance reflects the condition of your body internally.
Things to AVOID
- It is best to eat a low salt, gluten free diet. Gluten tends to dry out and age the skin.
- Alcohol, caffeine, gluten, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, heated fats, lack of EFA’s etc all interfere with endocrine function. The bad news; people who drink alcohol in any quantity, smoke, eat a high salt diet and don’t exercise on a daily basis age a lot faster than those who do not have these bad habits.
- Slapping on expensive creams no matter what the manufacturer claims is pretty futile. These creams tend to clog the pores and at best have a temporary effect, in that when you stop using them the skin returns to its natural state.
Cleaning the Skin
The best and most natural way to clean the skin is with a brush or loofah. Most writers of natural skin care suggest dry skin brushing towards your heart. I personally prefer brushing in the shower as it is more comfortable for me. Decide what is comfortable for you.
- Stimulates the Skin
… and helps it to be more efficient at cleaning out the waste products (up to 250g per day) directed to it. By brushing the body, many pressure points are activated, which in turn naturally stimulate and invigorate the Central Nervous System and all the systems connected to the Central Nervous System, like the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, and muscular systems.
- Removes Dead Skin Cells
It leaves the body’s natural oils behind, as well as maintains the slightly acidic skin pH.
- Increases the Flow of Oxygen and Blood
… to the skin which brings more nutrients and keeps the skin looking younger. This reaction has helped many people get rid of a headache just by brushing their bodies.
- Helps to Tone and Tighten the Skin
… by exercising the skin. In so doing, you will notice that it is a lot easier to get rid of cellulite.
- Helps Oil Glands to Function
… more efficiently and lubricates your skin far more efficiently than any body lotion.
All you need is a natural fibre body brush or loofah. It is best to start with a softer brush or loofah, and then progress to a firmer brush. I find it comfortable to use a natural sea sponge, soft brush, or small soft loofah on my face and neck, and a firmer brush on the rest of my body.
How to Do It
Brush very gently before you bath or shower (for dry brushing), or in the bath or shower for wet brushing (which is gentler as the brush softens in water).
Brush in the direction of the heart. The whole body should take 5-10 minutes. Do not over-brush as you can irritate the skin, and do not brush a skin that has a rash or a wound.
Do not put soap in the water or on the brush. Soap removes the natural oils of the skin, leaving behind the dead skin cells and altering the pH. In doing so, the skin feels dry and tight and you will feel a need to add artificial oils and creams.
The best oils to use (if you must) are cold-pressed olive, Extra Virgin coconut (my personal favourite), avocado, sesame, grape seed or almond oil, but continual use can prevent your skin from producing its own oils.
If you do use skin care, it can take 1-4 years to wean your skin off a lotion or cream. At the same time you should be improving your overall diet.
Ageing Gracefully – The Natural Way
To age gracefully you need to prepare for the process, you cannot just decide you want to age gracefully when you retire, and it starts now; just like you cannot start saving money when you retire. At the same time you may have invested wisely with your money and assets but have neglected to invest in your body; resulting in money in the bank and bankrupt health. Bankrupt health will soon drain your financial resources. The good news is that the sooner you start the better but even if you do start later you will see results pretty quickly.
The most common results of bankruptcy in health are
Senile Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Your body sends you signals though long before that
The first signs that your health is going to be bankrupt are
Digestive disturbances – diarrhea, flatulence,
Lack of energy
High blood pressure
This is what you can do
- Eat a fruit meal a day
Fruit is loaded with anti-oxidants like carotenoids, Vitamin C and water soluble fiber. Carotenoids and Vit C help the immune system function more efficiently and help slow down the ageing process externally and internally. Taking these in supplement form can cause damage. Beta Carotene in tablet form appears to contribute to cancer but in plants protects against cancer, Vit C prevents Parkinson’s but in supplement form can cause arthritis, osteoporosis, gout, stomach ulcers.
Water soluble fibre will prevent the most common of cancer colorectal cancer and help regulate bowel function
- Make sure you have at least 1 portion of dark green leafy vegetables daily
These foods are the most alkaline and have the best calcium to phosphorus ratio both which help to prevent osteoporosis far more efficiently than dairy products.
These are best eaten raw or juiced and you can have wheat grass or Barley grass juice like Barleylife.
- Start all your cooked meals with raw vegetables
Vegetables are alkaline forming – prevents osteoporosis
Excellent source of fibre – prevents bowel problems
High in natural Vitamins and minerals – slows ageing
- Include a portion of natural fats on a daily basis from an unheated plant source
Avo, nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils
Over and above that try and include some flax like Aimega daily
- Use your muscles or you’ll lose your bones
Resistance exercise causes the muscles to pull on the bones, this has the effect of strengthening them. Dig, lift things, do weights, just use your muscles any way you can
- Use your lungs
Aerobic exercises helps regulate 18 different hormones many of which help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure
- Use your brain or you’ll lose it
Your brain is like a muscle; use it daily by learning new skills. Stretch yourself mentally. Make a list of things you want to learn and cross them off as you do, then keep adding new things.
- Keep your animal protein intake to not more than once a day preferably not more than 3 times a week and you can provide all your protein with nuts and seeds if you like.
- Keep your concentrated carbohydrate intake to not more than one a day, again 3 times a week is even better if you are trying to maintain an ideal body weight. Make sure these are only unprocessed i.e. baked potatoes with skins, brown rice and other whole grains.
- To help correct digestive problems keep you meals simple by eating carbohydrates and protein at separate meals, this will help increase energy levels and reduce flatulence and allergies.
- Then make sure you are passionate about what you do on a daily basis, if you hate your job, find something you love and do that.
- Aim for spiritual balance, people that believe in a higher power live longer and are healthier and are less likely to suffer from depression. Read a Proverb a day.
Remember to have fun as you invest in your health.
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