We love trying out lifestyle hacks to help boost our health and wellness and even better when they’re free (or at least really cheap) and super easy!
We spoke to Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist Veronika Larisova to get the inside scoop…
There are some basic diet and lifestyle factors that can cause or speed up symptoms of premature aging such as; lack of energy, low immune system, reduction of skin elasticity like a poor diet, too much stress, and not enough sleep and movement.
As I started to get older and said ‘good-bye’ to my 20’s, I got more and more interested in finding the ‘fountain of youth’. My goal was to find a way to feel young forever without having to spend thousands of dollars (and precious time) on expensive procedures and products. I did my research and have been testing it on myself for the past ten or-so years.
Here are my top 10 hacks to promote wellness and slow down the side effects of aging – that are completely free!
Side note: I’ve purposely left out physically activity and exercise, as we know that sitting is the new smoking and that we all have to keep fit to stay healthy and youthful.
Did you know that, besides making you feel great, spending time in the nature has healing properties? It reduces inflammation, which is the main culprit in premature aging.
Why is wilderness better than a local park? It’s due to a unique combination of factors in a forest environment such as reduction of noise and air pollution as well as organic plant compounds released by the trees that boost out immune system. The effects of spending time in the forest last up to seven days. So start booking in those hiking trips every weekend to enjoy the benefits forever ☺
Having a freezing cold shower every morning and evening is the cheapest and quickest anti-aging hack. It helps to reduce inflammation and stress as it sets your nerves in the ‘rest and digest’ mode. It also improves circulation to your skin, makes you sleep better and boosts your immune system.
Start with one minute every morning and every evening and build up to two to three minutes. Anything more than that is just water wastage and no-one is in to that.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body and a key structural component of connective tissues such as; muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and ligaments and tendons.
After the age of 20, the collagen production in our body decreases gradually while the breakdown increases from 40 onwards, which is why our skin loses firmness. A daily dose of collagen is reported to slow this process down and help make the skin firmer and more hydrated.
How much do you need? Around 8-10g (or 8.000-10.000mg) per day. You can get your daily dose from a homemade collagen bone broth (which will cost you $1 per day if you make it yourself) or there are a variety of supplements available.
Keep in mind that the main slayers of collagen in your skin are stress, excessive UV rays, sugar and tobacco smoking. So wearing your sunscreen every day, limiting refined sugar and quitting smoking will be a huge help.
While there are benefits to being out in the sunshine, excessive sun exposure causes premature aging. If taken to excess, UV rays damage the collagen in your skin. However, never exposing your skin to the sun will eventually lead to vitamin D deficiency.
When you don’t have enough vitamin D, it’s pretty much like having infection in the body. It affects your bones, mental health and energy levels. Low vitamin D also causes muscle pain, bone and back pain, extreme fatigue – just to name few nasty symptoms. It causes your calcium to be drawn out of bones and deposited in your arteries. So pretty much, without vitamin D, you will feel old even if you are just 20.
You need to expose your skin to the sun every single day before you apply sunscreen for a short period (then, sunscreen on!). In the summer, that means only 10 minutes between 10am and 2pm. And you only have to expose your face, hands and arms. Get a double anti-aging effect by power walking in your lunchbreak!
Sugar and cheap vegetable oils (found in most processed and junk foods) make you inflamed and we know that inflammation is one of the main causes of premature aging and illness.
Furthermore, sugar in the bloodstream attaches to collagen and elastin molecules via the glycation process, forming harmful new molecules called ‘advanced glycation end products’ (AGE’s). AGE’s not only damage collagen fibres, they also transform the most stable and long-lasting collagen fibres to more fragile fibres. This is one of the main reasons sugar makes us age on both the inside and outside.
If that wasn’t bad enough, sugar competes with vitamin C for space in cells. When your diet is high in sugar, you never get enough vitamin C and your ability to form new collagen fibres is compromised.
The best anti-aging diet is a wholefoods diet. Simply eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (*these are some of the key foods we recommend), consuming adequate protein and good fats and avoiding processed foods, sugary treats and alcohol.
Fasting does not equal starving. It means giving your digestive system a necessary rest to rejuvenate. When we fast, our body produces various compounds that help us to restore and to prevent premature aging. Autophagy also occurs during prolonged fasts, which is a natural way our bodies clear out damaged cells.
Have at least 12 hours break from any food or calorie-containing drinks. It’s easy to implement and you don’t even have to become antisocial. If you have a late dinner, lets say at 8pm, don’t eat anything until at least 8am the next day. Drink lots of water and herbal teas instead.
However, it seems that the best way to fast for anti-aging benefits is to have a very early (and small) dinner around 5pm. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. As simple as that!
Healthy skin contains between 10-20% water. Dehydration (anything less than 10%) is one of the main reasons of premature skin aging and sensitivity.
The issue goes beyond the skin though. Dehydration affects every single of your vital organs as well as physical and cognitive performance and ability to lose fat. Simply put, when you are chronically dehydrated, you’re affected from inside out very rapidly.
In this day and age you need at least 3 litres of water every day to eliminate the internal and external toxins you are exposed to. Your body can only assimilate around 500ml of water every hour, so you need to sip throughout the day. Gulping down 1 litre in one go will result in more trips to the loo, not in adequate hydration.
Instead of counting glasses of water (like, who has time for this?), get 1.5L bottle of water and aim to finish 2 of them throughout the day. Easy.
Sleeping at least 7 hours each night is one of the best and definitely most pleasant anti-aging strategies. We all know it but we often forget. Less sleep equals less time to recover and repair and less growth hormone, the so-called fountain of youth. Get your beauty sleep!!!
We all know we should stretch, but why exactly for anti-aging? When you sit in a slouched position all day long, your intestines, diaphragm and vagus nerve (the ‘rest and digest’ nerve) are constricted and can’t function properly. Without going into too much detail this often causes acid reflux, gas, bloating and constipation AND…it impairs your gut function. When your gut is inflamed, your body can’t absorb the nutrients it needs to keep rejuvenating and you start aging prematurely.
Instead of doing one yoga session every two weeks, stretch out for a minute at the time throughout the day. If your job is sedentary and extremely busy, set yourself an reminder every 45min and do one stretch at the time. Even if it’s just for 20s seconds. Every little bit helps!
You are only as young as you feel. Youthful mindset, calmness, and mindfulness with everything you do, as well as regular meditation will keep you young forever. Your thoughts affect every cell in your body and they can even switch your genes on and off. Adopt a calm, positive mindset and reduce constant worry, stress and negative thoughts. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing or meditation each day has huge benefits.
What’s your top free wellness hack to prevent premature aging?
As a nutritionist, Veronika is deciated to helping people enhance their physical beauty, health and fitness, naturally, through diet. Veronika is dedicated to finding the most effective, natural, anti-ageing strategies and she’d love to study at the Institute of Antiageing Medicine someday. Her ultimate goal is to look gorgeous and feel fabulous when running a marathon on her 100th birthday!