Written by Dr. Mani Kukreja
Founder of Livagewell, an integrative health and wellness coaching practice
Better aging and longevity have become trending topics as scientists and consumers alike continue to search for the fountain of youth. For years, aging was an inevitability; however, there is far more debate about what aspects of aging we should accept, and what we can prevent or even reverse.
As we uncover the causality of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, we see that 90% of the time, it is age-related. Simply put, if we didn't get old and our bodies stayed youthful, we would not get these diseases. As our chronological age increases, our body starts to slow down — this becomes apparent in appearance as well as function.
Two-thirds of how we age is related to lifestyle choices, rather than genetics, and it’s promising to see that most of what may be genetically coded can be improved with a few lifestyle tips.
As a doctor, I have researched many ways to improve my own biological age and slow down the aging process, and through my findings, I have uncovered behaviors that have been studied to turn the clock back at a cellular or tissue level. I have put these bio-hacking techniques into practice as part of my morning routine, to improve my body’s recovery from oxidative stress.
I love coffee and thankfully caffeine has many benefits — one of which is a great source of antioxidants that help you rejuvenate your body and keep cells young.
I boost my morning coffee by adding a scoop of clinically studied, and well-sourced collagen peptides, like Skin Boost Plus No Flavor. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body and an essential longevity food. It is the glue that holds the body together, forming the connective tissue of the body through the hair, nails, skin, joints, bones, muscles and tendons.
Collagen peptides have so many benefits, not just for skin health — they provide tensile strength in your tendons; they help repair your digestive lining which has a lot of connective tissue, so it's very important especially for those who are dealing with leaky gut or other similar digestive issues; they have been proven to have amino acids that give numerous anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
With age your body may no longer absorb amino acids or synthesize collagen efficiently, so finding a collagen supplement that has a high bioavailability is important in your daily regime. Choosing a collagen supplement that includes a high quality vitamin C like Nutra-C is another way to improve the absorption and reap the benefits.
On most days, I prefer quick and simple workouts like walking or other aerobic exercise. I choose to have two to three rest days in a week which leaves me with four to five days to work out.
Weight and resistance training improve bone density and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases, like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis which are very common in aging, and improves hormonal imbalance. A good workout will also help your gut microbiome and boost your immune system.
My mantra is consistency. The key to keeping aging at bay is a daily morning exercise routine.
Intermittent fasting, which for me means I eat my first meal of the day at noon, is a real game-changer. Finishing up my dinner by 8 or 9 pm, gives me a 16-hour fasting period which is a time-frame that I have found to be optimal.
The health benefits of intermittent fasting range from reducing sugar cravings to improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It has been shown to increase longevity, treat diabetes, obesity, fight cancer, and boost immunity which in turn will help fight inflammatory diseases. It also enhances your athletic performance and increases energy levels.
While fasting is great, keep in mind that the way you break your fast is just as important. It’s completely counterproductive — and even dangerous for insulin and blood sugar balance — to fast and then binge on unhealthy foods immediately afterwards. Instead, break your fast with a balanced meal of plenty of protein, fiber, vegetables, and healthy fats.
A daily practice I have adapted is time in the sauna counteracted by cold exposure. A simple steam shower, followed by an ice-cold bath resets and calms your nervous system after a long stressful day.
This kind of extreme hot and cold exposure is called hormesis — intentional stress that triggers your body to think that you are under extreme threat. It’s the best thing ever. I feel so awake and alert immediately after.
This practice helps build brown fat, also called brown adipose tissue, which has a high amount of mitochondria. A higher percentage of brown fat can improve immunity and activate the anti-aging gene. The best way to stimulate brown fat is to be cold, especially across your back. Studies have found that men who regularly go to the sauna have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
The takeaway from these daily practices is diet and exercise hold the keys to longevity. You may not be able to change your genetic makeup or age but your metabolic health is certainly something you can control and improve to experience a better quality of life.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your physician before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.