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The Keys to Healthy Aging: 8 Tips for a Long, Healthy Life

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Healthy aging is key. Living a long life has been a human obsession since before Ponce de Leon’s 16th century search for the Fountain of Youth. While numerous pills, potions and elixirs have been tried and failed, new longevity research reveals how you can extend your life further and remain healthier longer than you ever thought possible.

Today’s scientific studies offer genuine hope for slowing or even reversing the aging process, allowing people to live to 100 years old and beyond in good health. The reality is, not everyone ages in a linear fashion as the calendar flips from one year to the next. Instead, a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic elements affect the rate at which a person’s body, mind and skin age.

Factors Impacting Longevity

“Genetic factors play a role in longevity, but not a dominant role—they contribute 25 to 30% to how long we live,” states Jack Guralnik, M.D., professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Other key factors include lifestyle habits, environmental influences and the ongoing strain someone experience from illness, injuries and psychological stress. Each of these factors has a trickle-down effect on various physiological mechanisms—including chronic inflammation, weight gain, hormonal and metabolic changes, and so on—affecting whether someone ages appropriately or prematurely.

In a recent study involving 1,909 people ages 65 to 90-plus from the Mediterranean islands, researchers examined the factors that seem to contribute to uncommon longevity.  Scientists found that regular walking, a Mediterranean diet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish), mid-day naps and smoking cessation were associated with greater longevity.

Another new study in the Journal of Nutrition found that high levels of polyphenols—antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, coffee and nuts—reduced mortality in older adults by 30%. And resveratrol, the compound found in the skin of red grapes, has long been known to have powerful anti-aging properties that can protect the body from age-related diseases and promote longevity.

Nutrition is an essential element to healthy aging. By eliminating refined sugars and processed foods, you can avoid unhealthy consequences, such as obesity and diabetes. “Obesity accelerates aging by promoting insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes, increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer, contributing to the inflammation, and leading to degenerative arthritis and diseases of the lungs,” states David Katz, M.D., at Yale University Prevention Research Center. “If you prevent obesity, you prevent accelerated aging,” he adds.

8 Tips for a Long and Healthy Life:

1. Don’t retire.

2. Move.

Getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week can help protect your heart and bones, improve blood flow, tone muscles, reduce inflammation and cancer risk and help prevent diabetes, age-related weight gain and dementia.

3. Be less neurotic.

When the body continuously pumps out stress hormones (like cortisol), this leads to wear and tear. Manage your stress by slowly incorporating healthier habits into your daily routine, including mindful meditation, time for yourself, saying “no” and making yourself a priority. This is not pampering; this is good health.

4. Remove toxins.

The more plastics we have in our bodies, the higher the risk for disease. When our bodies contain toxins like plastics, the liver produces an enzyme called GGT in an effort to make glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize toxins.  Elevated GGT levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Avoiding toxins is the best way to live a longer life. Don’t store food in plastics, don’t put plastic in the dishwasher and don’t heat food in plastic in the microwave. If you have elevated GGT levels, you may benefit from intravenous infusions of glutathione. Supplementing with EPA/DHA, vitamin D3 and other supplements specific to your needs can help detoxify your body, increasing your longevity.

5. Stay connected.

6. Floss every day.

7. Sleep 6-8 hours.  As an added bonus, getting enough sleep may also help facilitate your body’s growth and healing which can keep your skin more elastic and thick.

8. Live Blue.

The healthiest people in the world, says Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zone, follow these principles:

  • 80% Rule – Stop eating when you are 80% full
  • Plant Power – Eat more veggies and less protein
  • Plan de Vida – Know your life purpose
  • Downshift – Work less, slow down and take vacations
  • Belong – Create a healthy social network
  • Your Tribe – Make yourself and family a priority

This season, thank your body by leading a healthy lifestyle that will lead you to a longer and happier life!

Learn how neurotransmitter testing can help you lead a healthy life.

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharon Norling is a nationally known and highly respected medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine and practicing advanced functional medicine in Hendersonville, NC. Dr. Norling graduated from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has trained at USC and UCLA. She received her MBA from St. Thomas University.

Dr. Norling’s expertise is based on her years of clinical experiences, former Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and her research. She is national board-certified in OB/GYN, Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Norling combines a credible and responsible academic knowledge with years of experience and a caring nature.

Recognized for her expertise, she has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine Policy. She has served in multiple leadership roles as Medical Director and senior management in two large healthcare organizations.During her years in health care she has been nurse, medical doctor, hospital administrator, advocate and a dismissed and misdiagnosed patient.

Her passion is finding the root cause of illnesses instead of just using a pharmaceutical drug to treat the tip of the iceberg. Hormonal and neurotransmitter balancing is one of her specialties.

Dr. Norling is an international speaker and the author of Your Doctor is Wrong. As a presenter, she is engaging, articulate, humorous, and insightful, making learning a dynamic professional and personal growth experience. Whether you have heard her on the radio, seen her on TV or sharing the stage with celebrities, Dr. Norling is the expert.

Dr. Norling is a medical authority, a visionary and an extraordinary leader who provides real solutions for patients who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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