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I’ve always believed that there are benefits to be gained from starting an ‘anti-aging’ diet from an early age. I wouldn’t recommend calorie restriction before age 20, but eating healthily from a young age is important. It never made sense to me to start eating healthily and looking after yourself when the damage has already accumulated and is visible on the outside.
It’s thought that our appearance reflects what is going on inside the body. So, if someone looks quite healthy on the outside, there’s a good chance that the person is healthy on the inside as well. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s generally true whether you’re looking at animals or humans.
In a recent study, researchers recruited about 1000 people and looked at their biological age over a period of 12 years, starting from age 26, and tracked changes in 18 biomarkers across chronological ages: 26 years, 32 years, and 38 years, to determine the pace of aging among the individuals.
They looked at their metabolism, mental abilities, telomeres, and others biomarkers associated with organ function, and found that most people’s biological age-matched closely with their chronological age, but a few aged more slowly (or not at all), while others aged much faster than normal. I’m sure you’ve already noticed this when you look around you and see that some people appear to be much younger or older than their age.
As you can see though, most people’s biological age closely matched their chronological age (38), but there were a few outliers.
It was found in the study that their internal health as measured by various tests, reflected how old they looked on the outside. People who had a younger biological health profile also appeared to look much younger than their age. And those who had worse results tended to look older than their chronological age.
That in itself shouldn’t be much of a surprise, actually, but then again, seeing such a dramatic difference even at a young age does show us that we need to take action early in life to have the biggest impact on aging and staying young.
It’s assumed that we are optimized and functioning at peak performance for being able to deal with the day-to-day damage when we are young, and that better lifestyle choice wouldn’t really affect the rate of aging all that much, but as shown in this study, this appears to be wrong. The earlier we start looking after our health, the better off we’ll be in the long run.
Although the body can tolerate a lot at the age of 25, it’s by no means immune from the damaging effects of bad lifestyle choices; whether it be from eating copious amounts of junk food, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or suffering from a lack of sleep.
The study also suggests that there might be room for improvement and that we can make our cells and body more resistant to damage even in our 20s. This should hopefully encourage you to take action now and change your lifestyle for the better if you’ve been holding off.
As we age, the risk of developing many diseases of aging will grow exponentially. After a certain age, we start to we notice the effects of aging beginning to accelerate, especially after the age of 60. It could be argued that the greatest impact from changing our lifestyle would only apply at middle age, but the study above refutes that idea.
Anecdotally, I can say that I know people who have looked after themselves when they were younger and are now benefiting from it. I’ve seen it time after time: people who take care of themselves from a young age will remain exceptionally young for much longer than normal.
Starting a healthy lifestyle early in life means you get to enjoy more of your youthful period of life.
Inspiration from people who look younger than their age and remain healthy
I know of three people who are really impressive when it comes to looking younger: Masako Mizutani, Lure Hsu, and my friend Paul Roe (he’s almost 50 and looks like he’s in his late 20s.) It’s incredible and hard to believe! They all look very young, it’s quite amazing.
And of course, it’s not all about how old a person looks either, but it does help, as it reinforces and validates that the healthy lifestyle choices you’ve been making are actually making a difference.
My questions to you: Do you know anyone who looks very young for their age? And do you think your diet has slowed down aging for you?
People age at wildly different rates, study finds (CBS MORNING SHOW)
I’m really interested in hearing from people who’ve been eating either a raw food diet, been on calorie restriction, or have been eating healthily for decades. I want to know if you’ve managed to stay younger than your chronological age from the lifestyle choices you’ve made.
I’m also aware of course that sometimes genetics play a huge role in how old someone looks. But studies have shown that aging is mostly under our control; it’s not down to the genes. Therefore, we can take some responsibility for our health and lifespan.
Not forgetting good skin care
While our diet is super important in helping us remain young-looking, our skin is also affected by external factors that we have a lot of control over. For example, if you’re getting a lot of sun damage while you eat a healthy diet, this can still cause accelerated skin aging and make you look older than your chronological age. I recommend that you use sunscreen and prevent your skin from burning.
I am also a big advocate of using skin serums with active ingredients in them such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Both of these have been found to have impressive anti-aging effects on the skin. There are also many other great skincare products that I’ve used for many years that I recommend checking out.
Looking after yourself internally and externally will produce the biggest impact and help you remain youthful for a very long time!
Article reviewed and updated: February 2019.