Note: This is a very long article so be sure to use the Table of Contents to your right to navigate to the information you are interested in!
Although aging can be frustrating due to our bodies naturally slowing down over time, anyone who is old enough to have greying hairs should consider themselves lucky.
Thanks to scientific advancements, humans are pushing biology further and we are learning more about the aging process and how to mitigate its negative impacts on our bodies. Aging doesn't have to be painful or debilitating as long as you view your body as a machine and stay on top of its maintenance requirements.
Why Healthy Aging?
When you are looking up ‘anti-aging’, you often find results that show you how to improve your appearance. But what if you are happy with how you look now, and just want to increase the overall health of your skin and body? This is what healthy aging is all about.
You are maintaining your youth and vitality as long as possible, while also focusing on aging gracefully, instead of trying to look young forever. This is done with healthy lifestyle habits, simple changes, on focusing on both inner and outer health.
Average Life Expectancy
The average life expectancy for men and women in the United States is 78.7 years. For men specifically the life expectancy is 76, and for women it's 81. The truth is that although the average life expectancy is increasing, it's increasing at a much slower rate than in the past.
However, there are more people who are living well past 100 and they're doing it with energy and style. If you aspire to live a long, vibrant, and rewarding life then there are steps you can take to increase your longevity.
What are the Enemies of Staying Young?
One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which causes biochemical changes in the cell. When blood sugar goes up rapidly, sugar can attach itself to collagen in a process called “glycosylation,” or the Browning Reaction, increasing inflexibility and inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a protein in blood plasma, is not found in foods. However, its levels in the body rise in response to inflammation.
The body makes CRP from interleukin-6 (IL-6), a powerful inflammatory chemical. IL-6 is a key cell communication molecule, and it tells the body's immune system to go into asperity, releasing CRP and many other inflammation-causing substances.
Staying away from sugar and high-glycemic (simple) carbohydrates, which the body rapidly converts to sugar, is one of the best ways to decrease inflammation. C-reactive protein (CPR) is a key factor of inflammation.
In a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with elevated CRP levels were four and one-half times more likely to have a heart attack. Not only is elevated CRP more accurate than cholesterol in predicting heart attack risk, but high CRP levels have turned up in people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and in people who are overweight.
A recent study by Simin Liu, M.D., Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School found that women who ate large amounts of high-glycemic (or diabetes promoting) carbohydrates, including potatoes, breakfast cereals, white bread, muffins, and white rice, had very high CRP levels. Women who ate a lot of these foods and were also overweight had the highest and most dangerous CRP levels.
Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products, including dairy items, such as whole milk, cream, and cheese, and fatty meats like beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ham. The fat marbling you can see in beef and pork is composed of saturated fat. Some vegetable products, including coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and vegetable shortening, are also high in saturates.The liver uses saturated fats to manufacture cholesterol.
Therefore, excessive dietary intake of saturated fats can significantly raise the blood cholesterol level, especially the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), or “bad cholesterol.” Guidelines issued by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), and widely supported by most experts, recommend that the daily intake of saturated fats be kept below 10 percent of total caloric intake. However, for people who have severe problems with high blood cholesterol, even that level may be too high.
Excessive Sun Exposure
Exposure of up to 20 minutes in the sun is imperative for Vitamin D activation. It is the sun that is so important in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder. BUT, excess sun exposure without a sunscreen of at least SPF of 15 can damage the skin by starting the inflammation process.
Scientists agree that one of the most significant factors contributing to aging is chronic inflammation. This inflammation process is due to an excess of free radicals which produce harmful oxidation or “oxidative stress” that can damage cell membranes and cell contents. These free radicals cause inflammation.
The main factor in most cases of high blood pressure is an increase in resistance to blood flow. This can occur if the diameter of your arterioles becomes smaller. Your heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood, and the pressure at which the blood is pumped increases.
Sympathetic tone is constantly too high, arteries are constantly constricted, and blood pressure remains elevated to levels that can eventually damage the heart and arteries, kidneys, and other organs. Because the sympathetic nervous system deals with fear and uses adrenalin and noradrenalin as its chemical messengers, it is not surprising that anxiety is a factor in hypertension.
Alcohol stimulates the inflammatory process within the body. Drink only in moderation.
To build and maintain muscle strength and bone mass, start (or continue) a regular program of weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or weight training. A cardiovascular workout is imperative in order to maintain weight and oxygenation of red blood cells. Maintain a healthy weight for your age and sex.
If you smoke, stop. Nothing you can take as a supplement can counteract the negative effects of smoking on your health and longevity. Stopping the habit can! Tobacco, in the form of cigarettes, is the most addictive drug in the world. Nicotine is one of the strongest stimulants known, and smoking is one of the most efficient drug-delivery systems.
Smoking actually puts drugs into the brain more directly than intravenous injection. It is true that one of the “benefits” of smoking is the brief relief of tension; unfortunately, within 20 minutes the tension is back stronger than before, demanding another fix. Learn to STOP Smoking NOW!
Stress can kill you. It is the underlying factor which can undermine anyone suffering from an illness, fear, or just plain insecurity. The mind and body altercation brought on by our own self affliction. Anxiety is a vague, uncomfortable feeling of fear, dread or danger from an unknown source.
For some it may be a one time episode. Other become constantly anxious about everything. A certain amount of anxiety is normal and helps improve our performance and allows people to avoid dangerous situations.
Too much cholesterol in the blood is what creates a problem. A risk factor for both heart attack and stroke, high blood cholesterol increases the chance of plaque or blockages developing in arteries. Lowering blood cholesterol can slow or stop the buildup of plaque. While your risk of cardiovascular disease depends on many factors from genetics to lifestyle habits, keeping your blood cholesterol levels within ideal ranges can greatly lower your risk.
Healthy Antiaging – Increasing Your Lifespan and Improving Your Appearance
Over the course of this article we'll share many ways to increase your life span, feel healthier, look younger and have more beautiful skin. Many of these steps or tactics require lifestyle changes. In order for these changes to be effective and to truly become part of your day-to-day routine, you'll want to tackle one change at a time.
Lifestyle experts suggest that it takes two to three weeks to create a new habit. As you read through the next longevity and anti-aging tactics, identify a few that would be easy to integrate into your life.
Focus on one of them at a time. When you've adopted them and made them part of your life, you can add another tactic. Eventually, you'll be living the healthier life that you desire – and potentially adding decades to your life span.
To help you streamline the process of adding years to your life, the longevity and anti-aging habits are organized by category. These categories include:
5. Body and Skin Care
6. Bonus: For Healthy Aging You Must Understand Antioxidants and Free Radicals!
7. Bonus: DIY Products for Skin Care and Anti-Aging
Your Food – Garbage In – Garbage Out
Let's get started with diet because the food and nutrients you put into your body make a big difference in your health, longevity and appearance.
Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
There are many ways to change your diet in order to live a healthier lifestyle, with incorporating more healthy food choices being at the top of the list. By simply making better food choices, such as adding more fruits and veggies, eating whole grains, and cutting back on animal products like meat and dairy, you have made the first great step.
While it is not mandatory for a healthy aging process, there have been studies to show the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Want to Give it a Try?
If you are interested in trying a vegan diet for the purpose of healthy aging and anti-aging, keep reading this section.
Veganism has taken the world by storm the past few years for good reason. Documentaries like Cowspiracy and Earthlings have revealed how detrimental harvesting animal products is for the animals, the environment, and human health. With meat and cheese substitutes popping up in grocery stores around the world, it's never been easier to still enjoy the flavors and textures of animal products without the added cholesterol, saturated fats, and chemicals that are pumped into the livestock.
Plant-based diets have innumerable positive effects on our bodies and their longevity. People who have adopted a vegan diet have been able to reverse heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses that take a toll on our bodies. Contrary to popular belief, vegan diets are actually much more inexpensive than animal products anyway since fewer resources are needed to produce those foods.
Since a majority of Americans are deficient in fiber, even participating in meatless Mondays can give your body a dose of vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay youthful. Although many skincare companies will claim that their products can magically rejuvenate your skin, remember that our skin is an organ and reflects the health of our insides. If you feed your body what it needs, not only will you have a lot more energy, but you will also be rewarded in your physical appearance as well.
Stay Hydrated – Drink More Water
Water is the ingredient to all life on Earth. Bodies are mostly made of water, so you have to take special care to replenish your reserves every day. Every function your bodies do every second behind the scenes is all possible thanks to water. The benefits and its anti-aging properties are overwhelming.
It can be challenging to drink sufficient amounts when coffee or soda is the more appealing choice, but the health benefits are worth it. Drinking water can boost your metabolism, aid in weight loss, and improve the appearance of your skin.
Circulatory systems are the highways of our bodies and blood is what transports nutrients and removes waste from every cell. By maintaining a healthy circulatory system, you're helping your body fight aging. Thicker blood has a hard time squeezing through our vessels, so drinking water can speed that process up greatly.
Have you ever eaten a meal with a substantial amount of calories and felt hunger pangs? Many people confuse this empty feeling with hunger so they consume more, even though they don't need the calories. When our bodies require water, our stomachs simulate a hunger sensation to alert us to drink more. If you often feel hungry but are interested in losing weight, try drinking one glass of water before and after every meal to prevent overeating.
Eat dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients that can reduce your risk of heart disease. You don't need much – 40 grams of chocolate a day will significantly reduce your risk.
Skip the breakfast cereal
Breakfast cereal is usually a bowl full of refined grains and sugar. These are almost immediately absorbed into your body and cause a spike in blood sugar. Read more about how sugar can negatively impact your health.
Eat your veggies and fruits
You might be surprised to learn that simply eating vegetables at every snack and meal can reduce your risk of stroke by 26 percent. That's five simple servings of fruits and veggies each day. And if you eat a colorful variety of produce, you get more cancer-fighting benefits. Variety is good for your health. If you are a parent, incorporating veggies into your child's diet is crucial. Here are some tips for getting your child to eat more vegetables.
Stay on top of your blood sugar
High blood sugar levels double your risk of heart disease. Reduce your risk by going on a low-sugar diet. This means steering clear of products with added sugar and not eating simple carbohydrates. Studies have shown that low sugar diets reduce the risk of anxiety and depression as well as reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other deadly diseases.
The antioxidants in berries (including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries) have been shown to offer a number of health and longevity benefits. They can prevent stroke and cancer and help keep your mind sharp as you age.
Eat your curry
Turmeric is a compound in curry. It's found to be fantastic for your brain health and it helps reduce inflammation. It's also been shown to fight prostate cancer. Add this tasty spice to your veggies and enjoy better health and delicious food.
Get enough Vitamin E
Vitamin E (tocopherols) is the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body.
One of the most efficient chain-breaking antioxidants available, Vitamin E primarily defends against oxidation and lipid peroxidation, which is the creation of unstable molecules containing more oxygen than is usual. Research has demonstrated the broad role of vitamin E in promoting health.
Vitamin E may affect aging, infertility, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
Vitamin E works together with other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, to offer protection from some chronic diseases. Evidence exists that vitamin E can help prevent atherosclerosis by interfering with the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), a factor associated with increased risk of heart disease.
In 1993, The New England Journal of Medicine published two reports, which found that people who took vitamin E supplements had fewer deaths from heart disease.
Another component of Vitamin E is tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants which work against the damaging of fats by oxidation. Human studies have shown that, in addition to their antioxidant activity, tocotrienols have other important functions, especially in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Test tube and animal studies indicate a possible role for tocotrienols in protecting against breast cancer and skin cancer.
Like vitamin E, tocotrienols may offer protection against atherosclerosis by preventing oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol oxidation is believed to be one of the triggering factors for atherosclerosis.
Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, salad dressings, margarine, wheat germ, whole-grain products, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, spinach, green peas, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts blackeyed peas, almonds and peanut butter.
Recommended doses of Vitamin E tochopheryl are 400 IU before age 40 and 800IU from age 40 onward.
More magnesium please
French researchers have discovered that people with high magnesium levels in their blood may be up to 40 percent less likely to die of any cause. Magnesium reduces your risk of a heart attack and your risk of developing diabetes could be cut by 33 percent when you take a daily supplement.
Magnesium has also been shown to reduce depression and prevent migraines. You can take a supplement. However, magnesium is also found in dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, and bananas.
Take a daily multivitamin
There are conflicting studies about the effectiveness of multivitamins. However, a report from Harvard Medical School advises people to take a daily multi and to make sure they're getting enough calcium and vitamin D for a longer life.
Coffee has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease. Researchers at Brooklyn College discovered that four cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53 percent. If you don't like coffee, you can get similar health benefits from drinking tea. And green tea is phenomenally healthy for you, too.
You are what you eat and when you eat a healthy diet, you improve your vitality and your longevity. However, it's not the only part of the long life span equation. Your attitude makes a big difference too. Next, let's take a look at how to change your mindset so you can live longer.
Laughing helps keep your heart healthy. It improves blood flow, reduces inflammation in your arteries and may actually reduce cholesterol and blood clot formation. If you don't laugh much, make a point of laughing. Find a humor website to follow, call a silly friend, read a funny book and watch funny videos. Laughter relieves stress, too.
Become an optimist
Positive thinkers live longer. In fact, people who are chronically negative, fearful, and worry live an average of 16 years less than optimists. How do you become an optimist? Surround yourself with positive people. Learn to become more aware of your thoughts. Practice gratitude.
Learn something new
Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge helps you keep your brain strong. If you're going to live to 120, you want to be able to think clearly and appreciate your long life. Exercise your brain.
Study after study has shown that married people live longer than singles. It probably corresponds in part with the next tactic.
Have more sex
People who have more sex live longer. In fact, according to a report in the American Journal of Cardiology, men who have sex two or three times a week have 45 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Studies have shown that people who belong to a spiritual community and regularly attend services live longer and happier lives. Being part of a community, feeling like you have a purpose and a support group all help a person experience less stress and feel more optimistic about their life. These sentiments have health benefits and can lengthen your life.
Mindset is part of the mental and emotional health equation. Reducing stress is a very specific component of having a positive mindset and healthy emotional well-being. Next, we'll look at how you can reduce stress and the impact that stress can have on your life.
Stay calm and be patient
Stress, particularly angry stress, can cause you to have a stroke. In fact, men who express anger frequently are more than two times as likely to have a stroke. Find ways to defuse your anger quickly and learn to let go. Your health depends on it.
Embrace your creative side
Expressing your creativity in the form of playing music, engaging in a hobby, painting, singing, writing or any other creative endeavor can help you unwind.
Studies have shown that people who meditate daily can add five or more years to their life. You don't have to meditate for hours, either. Twenty to thirty minutes a day makes a big difference. Start small. Try to meditate five minutes a day and gradually increase your time.
Volunteers live longer. Find a cause that is near and dear to your heart and get involved. It reduces stress, connects you to your purpose, and surrounds you with positive people.
Make time to exercise
On top of a healthy diet, exercise is paramount to preventing disease and maintaining full mobility as we age. Doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise every day because it keeps our hearts strong and improves circulation so our entire bodies can get the nutrients they need.
Exercise actually provides an abundance of longevity benefits. It improves your outlook and reduces depression. It also improves blood flow and cellular function. And when it comes to stress, the endorphins that are released during exercise help you better manage stress and exercise reduces cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that over time can cause damage to your body.
Taking care of your body doesn't mean you have to turn into a gym rat. Studies have shown that dog owners live longer, most likely due to the cardiovascular exercise they must do each day to walk the dog. If you want an easy way to be held accountable for daily exercise, consider adopting a pet to reap the benefits of having a loving companion who will motivate you to reach your fitness goals.
If you are fully committed to slowing down your aging, consider incorporating some strength training into your exercise regimen. This can include using resistance bands and doing pushups, planks, and squats.
Again, a gym is not necessary to take care of your body since strength training exercises can be completed at any time in any place simply by utilizing the weight of your own body to build muscles. Strength training can improve your joints, relieve stress, and fix your posture, all of which are important to looking and feeling youthful.
Make good connections with people and develop friendships. People with social connections and strong ties with friends and family have a lower stress level. They have stronger immune systems and both can help you live longer.
We've talked about diet, mindset, and reducing stress. But that's not all that you can do to live a longer, healthier, and happier life. There are simple lifestyle habits that you can adopt to add years to your life. Let's explore this area next.
Drink less alcohol
A study at Harvard suggests that drinking more than three 4-ounce alcoholic beverages in a 24-hour period increases your risk of atrial fibrillation, which often leads to a stroke. The general rule of thumb is to have no more than 4-5 drinks per week and no more than one drink each day.
The good news is you don't have to give up alcohol entirely. However, some drinks are healthier than others and any alcohol should be consumed in moderate amounts. If you choose wine instead of beer, you get the same calming benefits of alcohol with added antioxidants and nutrients.
Get more sleep
Are you sleeping enough? In 2002, The Scripps Clinic Sleep Center released a study on sleep and longevity. They studied the habits of one million Americans and found that people who slept between six and a half and seven and a half hours a night live the longest.
Other studies have shown that people should try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep to improve their health. However, it's difficult to argue with a study that looked at a million people.
Visit the doctor
Make an annual check-up part of your life. If you catch the symptoms of diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer early you have a much better chance of treating them successfully.
Floss your teeth
Gum disease is related to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. People with gingivitis and periodontitis have a mortality rate that is 23 to 46 percent higher than those who don't. Flossing daily helps keep your mouth healthy.
Get a pet, and play with them
People who have pets tend to be happier people. They exercise more and aren't as prone to depression.
A study by the University of Massachusetts found that people who skipped breakfast or who waited more than 90 minutes to eat after waking, were 50 percent more likely to become obese. Obesity is directly related to your likelihood of developing many conditions including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Don't go to work when you're sick
Did you know that if you go to work when you're sick, you can double your risk of having a heart attack? Stay home. Your co-workers will thank you.
Stop smoking and steer clear of second-hand smoke
Smoking and second-hand smoke increases your risk of lung cancer and can raise your diabetes risk by 40 percent.
Get some sunshine every day
Get outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D. You'll reduce your risk of depression and give your body what it needs to stay mentally and physically strong.
Maintain a healthy weight
Extra pounds put you at risk for heart attack, diabetes, cancer and other diseases that not only deplete your quality of life, they also shorten it.
The reason why so many diets fail is because they can make you feel deprived. Life is all about balance, so finding a middle ground is better for long term diet success. Many things people enjoy often have healthier substitutions that offer better nutrition without sacrificing the taste.
Instead of eating white or milk chocolate, try choosing chocolates with higher cocoa contents to increase antioxidant intake. Dark chocolate also tends to have less sugar and saturated fat, which makes it more diet friendly.
Potato chips are addicting because of how salty, rich, and crunchy they are. While healthy people can still enjoy potato chips in small portions, if you have a hard time controlling yourself, try eating baked varieties with reduced sodium instead. Your heart and waist will thank you!
Have kids later in life
Contrary to what you might expect, you'll live longer if you wait to have children. According to Boston University's New England Centenarian Study, women who have children after age 40 have a greater chance of living to 100 than women who give birth earlier in life.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Chemicals are everywhere. They're in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the products you use in the house and on your bodies. Exposure to harsh chemicals can cause serious damage and should be avoided whenever possible.
If you can afford it, opt for organic foods to better fuel your body. Although going organic can be pricey, think of it as an investment in yourself. If you're going to develop a disease, the cost of healthcare to treat it greatly outweighs the upfront costs of preventative care.
Instead of using bleach and other toxic chemicals in your house, a vinegar and water solution is much cheaper, safer, and just as efficient at sanitizing. Make sure you read the labels of any products you purchase and always choose ones with more natural ingredients.
If you live in a city, taking vacations to rural areas where there is fresh air can really do your body and mind good. Not only will you feel relaxed, but you can absorb clean air to purify your lungs and skin for an all-around more youthful appearance and attitude.
Body and Skin Care
Burn at least 1100 calories each week
Find an exercise program, team, or club that supports you to get rid of your belly fat. Scientists at Duke University learned that when people burn 1100 calories a week, it prevents the accumulation of belly fat. This is the most dangerous type of fat for both men and women. It causes systemic inflammation and heart disease.
In addition to burning 1100 calories a week, at a minimum, add strength training to your workout. It strengthens bones in women and helps prevent osteoporosis. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of stroke. Strength training has also been shown to provide cognitive benefits and it can relieve stress.
Millions of people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year because they spend too much time outside without sunscreen. Not only could sunscreen save your life, but it will prevent the ultraviolet rays from damaging your cells and DNA.
People can get a leathery look to their skin by not using sunscreen. Although Americans value the appearance of a tan and often achieve it by laying in the sun unprotected for hours at a time, this will only lead to a temporary improvement in their self-esteem. You are much better off embracing your natural skin tone and soaking up the sunshine in small doses.
If you struggle with crow's feet, wearing protective eyewear outside can help improve the appearance of the skin around your eyes since you won't have to squint in the bright sunshine to see better.
Upgrade Your Skincare Routine
Although most of skin appearance can be improved by diet and drinking more water, there are steps you can take to really glow. Exfoliation and moisturizing can help your skin look youthful. You don't have to spend a fortune on skincare products, either! Baking soda and coconut oil are cheap and common household items that get the job done.
While you shower, you can take a teaspoon of baking soda and wet it enough to form a thick paste. You can spread it all over your face and gently rub in circles to exfoliate. Since your pores will be open in the steam, the baking soda will cleanse your skin and stimulate better blood flow.
Exfoliation encourages the growth of new skin cells and this can improve the appearance of any skin type. Even using baking soda on scars can help your body heal until it's barely visible.
After you shower, your skin will be more at risk of drying out. Moisturizers work best at the end of your cleansing routine to seal the moisture inside your skin. Coconut oil has many uses for the body, one of which is maintaining smooth skin. Take a dab of coconut oil and massage it into your skin for desirable results. By massaging, you will increase the circulation in your skin, which allows your blood to supply nutrients and remove toxins.
Get Enough Beauty Sleep
Yes, yes, I know we discussed sleep up under Social, but, it's important, so bear with me, please!
Have you ever noticed that older people seem to sleep all day but still complain of fatigue? They're not crazy. The more we age, the less REM sleep we get, which is the most restorative stage our bodies experience while sleeping. Although the quantity of sleep is larger, the quality is usually quite poor.
When we sleep, our bodies go into housekeeping mode so we can wake up feeling energized and detoxified. Getting enough restful sleep is crucial to your anti-aging battle, so any measure you can take to mitigate the natural deterioration of the quality of your sleep is important.
To ensure more restful sleep, stop drinking water at least an hour before bedtime to prevent waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Make sure your room is dark and cozy by your own preferences. Try to avoid using the television to fall asleep since the brightness and volume can drastically change throughout the night and disturb your sleep. Although we all love our pets like family, if you have an animal in your bed, the quality of your sleep will suffer as well.
Although this may sound like counter-intuitive advice due to wrinkles that can form, smiling really does improve your appearance. Have you ever noticed how people radiate when they smile? That's because smiling produces good chemicals in our bodies that reduce stress.
Even if you have wrinkles, smiling can bring a youthful brightness to your face. Besides, you should have a lot to celebrate in life, so relax and rejoice. Aging is natural and happens to everyone, so you should never let shame or self-consciousness prevent you from enjoying each day.
For Healthy Aging, You Must Understand Antioxidants and Free Radicals!
As much as you care about the outside of your body, it is the inside that tells the tale. Older people are living longer and some younger folks are dying. What gives? The answer could lie in how we treat our bodies inside and out. It is a package deal. Our bodies work as a whole machine.
There are reasons why our bodies’ age and how some people are truly growing older gracefully to the tune of 100 years or more. The tools to accomplish this have been in front of us all the time.
It's important for you to learn about free radicals and how they affect our bodies. You will also discover that substances called antioxidants are charged with fighting the damage done by free radicals and turning back the biological clock to keep us healthy.
What are Free Radicals?
The name sounds like a group of people at a peace rally. But, these little chemical elements are less than peaceful. They affect the inner environment and change our bodies for the worst.
We have two ages for our bodies. Have you ever seen those shows that ask people to guess someone’s age? Their appearance reflects the way they have been treating their bodies and makes them seem older to others. This is the biological age of your body.
How old you really are is your chronological age. Certain activities that we participate in can make us look a lot older than our chronological age. Age is truly just a number in these cases.
Free radicals are responsible for how rapidly we age.
What are free radicals? They are by-products of cellular metabolism. On the smallest level, our cells replenish themselves and produce energy to run the processes of the body.
When this happens, certain molecules are left behind. These are called free radicals. They are missing an electron and therefore will go looking for another one somewhere in the body. A molecule in need of an electron is unstable and will latch onto anything that has an electron it can steal away.
Free radicals aren’t always bad things – sometimes the body creates them during metabolism or the immune system uses them to fight an infection. A healthy body can handle free radicals, but if the immune system gets run down or weakened, or if you don’t have enough antioxidants in your system, damage can occur.
Environmental toxicity, pesticides and cigarette smoke can create free radicals. Ultimately free radical damage leads to aging and possibly some diseases too (their role in certain types of cancer, strokes, and heart disease is still being investigated).
Free Radical Damage
The missing electron is the key to what free radicals are after. They roam around inside your body looking for another electron. Free radicals steal electrons from cells, DNA, enzymes and cell membranes. Removing these electrons changes the composition of the structure it was stolen from. Cells are damaged and therefore don’t function normally. Enzymes can’t do their jobs as catalysts for cellular reactions.
Changing DNA is always a bad sign. Compromising the integrity of cellular membranes leaves them vulnerable to attack by viruses, bacteria and other invaders. All of these results are caused by free radical damage. Free radicals are not just by-products of cellular processes. They can be introduced into our bodies from other places.
Foreign substances like cigarette or cigar smoke, radiation, drinking alcohol, air and water pollution or ingesting artificial products can lead to higher levels of free radicals in the body. Certain gases and even sunlight can affect the free radical levels in our bodies.
Scientists have investigated the idea that free radicals are responsible for many diseases in the body that affect us as we get older. As such, the problems that plague us as we get older are a result of the free radical damage done to our bodies.
Diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases have some of their roots in free radical damage.
Tips to combat free radical damage:
- Try to eat a minimum of three portions of vegetables and at least two portions of fruit every day, including at least one citrus fruit – as citrus fruits contain a great source of antioxidants!
- A certain percentage of antioxidants are lost while cooking – so while you needn’t be extreme, try to eat raw fruit and vegetables as much as possible.
- Herbal teas contain great sources of antioxidants – but always purchase from a reputable source. Keep cells hydrated with lots of water too!
- Red wine can also help – only one glass a day is enough to give antioxidant benefit, so don’t exceed the limit.
- Nuts are also a good source of antioxidants – but don’t overdo portions, as the fat content cancels out health benefits!
- Always wear sunscreen to protect your skin against free radical damage and aging.
- Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke inhalation, as this can lead to free radical creation within the body.
The Aging Process
This leads to another question: Are we aging more quickly than before?
The answer lies in the amount of free radicals in our bodies. The body has a defense mechanism that helps defend it from free radicals. Certain levels of free radicals can be managed. Cellular damage is repaired by the body.
Sometimes, our bodies can be overcome with too many free radicals and things go a little haywire. This condition is called oxidative stress. At this point, we become sick while our bodies are being overtaken by free radicals.
This is not an invasion by the body snatchers. The balance can be reversed with a little antioxidant power. Ever wonder why some people age more gracefully than others? They have more cellular protection than others so they don’t fit the preconceived appearance of someone their age. And, isn’t that what we all want?
What are Antioxidants?
Types of Antioxidants
When the inner body is in trouble from free radicals, antioxidants come to our rescue. Their main job is to fight free radicals and win. Antioxidants have been thrust to the forefront of the health scene as a sort of “anti-aging super substance.”
They are quite amazing. The nature of antioxidants is to neutralize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants are molecules that have an extra electron to share with the roaming free radicals. In their presence, they latch onto free radicals so they won’t steal electrons from other vital places.
There are several different kinds of antioxidants. They are categorized by the area of the body where they work. Antioxidants our bodies use: water soluble and fat soluble. If you know anything about the body, it is 90 percent water. There is a significant water composition to our blood.
Our cellular membranes are protected by a double layer that is made of lipids. One side is hydrophobic (water hating) and the other side is hydrophilic (water loving). Cellular membranes need protection from free radical damage too.
Antioxidants help the internal environment of our bodies to stay in great working shape. You can change the outside with surgery and chemicals but if the inside is a wreck, you won’t live as long as you’d like. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other substances that keep cells repaired and lower the levels of free radicals in the system. Our immune systems are given a boost when antioxidants are around. This prevents diseases.
Our skin is an organ. In fact, it is the largest organ of the body. Antioxidants improve the look and feel of the skin which promotes a youthful appearance without benefit of outside sources. You can slow the aging process and live longer with constant ingestion of antioxidants.
Where to Find Antioxidants
Antioxidants, as was stated earlier, do not originate in the body. They come from our food. Some people take supplements, but supplementation is not the natural form for these molecules. The natural form provides not only antioxidants but other health properties for the body.
Eating a daily diet rich in the foods that contain antioxidants will do wonders for your inner body. If you are someone who likes variety, antioxidants can be found in a number of different food groups. Besides, eating these foods more and more will also change your body composition. You’ll have more energy, lean muscle and lower disease incidence. Antioxidants can be further divided into these categories: phytochemicals, anthocyanins, carotenoids and trace minerals. Each can be found in the foods we eat.
When searching for antioxidants, try to choose foods that have no pollutants, pesticides or other compounds added to them before eating. This reduces the amount of free radicals you are introducing into your body along with the antioxidants.
Phytochemicals are only found in plant substances. Two of the main antioxidants here are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each is 400IU. This entire amount can be obtained from food.
Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, green peppers, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, collards and kale are a few of the leafy greens that contain Vitamin C. This vitamin is water soluble.
Water soluble antioxidants work primarily in the blood and other areas of the body where water is the primary substance to build up the body’s defenses against free radicals. They reduce the incidence of age-related diseases including lowering the risk of cancer.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. It can be found in legumes, nuts, seeds, cold water fish, whole grains, sweet potatoes, vegetable oil, nut butters, mangos, avocados and other vegetables.
Vitamin E is fat soluble. This antioxidant works in and around cellular membranes that are composed of fats to fight free radical damage. Bad cholesterol is less likely to stick to arterial walls and form plaques when fat soluble antioxidants are in sufficient quantities.
Trace minerals like selenium and zinc help antioxidants do their job. They are not technically antioxidants but they help to boost immunity. These minerals are found in Brazil nuts, dairy products, fish, chicken, red meat, whole grains and seafood. In their presence the risk of arthritis and skin cancers are reduced.
Anthocyanins are phytochemicals but only exist in certain fruits and vegetables. They add the rich color to purple and blue fruits and vegetables. Blueberries contain antioxidant anthocyanins in large quantities. They are also present in red grapes.
Carotenoids and Vitamin A
Carotenoids are another antioxidant substance. They reduce the risk of heart disease and coronary artery damage. Carotenoids boost immunity and can work to reverse some free radical damage. Some common carotenoids are beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein.
Beta-carotene is most notably found in carrots. And we all know that carrots are legendary as improving eyesight. Other sources of beta-carotene are: brightly colored veggies, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, dairy products, eggs and liver. Beta-carotene converts to a form of Vitamin A called retinol.
Lycopene is most notably found in tomatoes. Grapefruits and watermelon also contain lycopene. The antioxidant reduces heart disease and the incidence of prostate cancer.
Lutein is a substance that is added to multivitamin formulations. Green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain this antioxidant. It is instrumental in preventing blindness. Examples of foods: kale, collards, corn, carrots, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges and egg yolks.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that displays some of the same properties as carotenoids. It is found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables as well as leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collards.
Top 20 Food Sources of Antioxidants
USDA scientists analyzed antioxidant levels in more than 100 different foods, including fruits and vegetables. Each food was measured for antioxidant concentration as well as antioxidant capacity per serving size.
Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest among the fruits studied. Beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes were tops among the vegetables. Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts ranked highest in the nut category.
USDA chemist Ronald L. Prior says the total antioxidant capacity of the foods does not necessarily reflect their health benefit. Benefits depend on how the food's antioxidants are absorbed and utilized in the body.
Still, this chart should help consumers trying to add more antioxidants to their daily diet.
|Rank||Food item||Serving size||Total antioxidant capacity
per serving size
|1||Small Red Bean (dried)||Half cup||13,727|
|2||Wild blueberry||1 cup||13,427|
|3||Red kidney bean (dried)||Half cup||13,259|
|4||Pinto bean||Half cup||11,864|
|5||Blueberry (cultivated)||1 cup||9,019|
|6||Cranberry||1 cup (whole)||8,983|
|7||Artichoke (cooked)||1 cup (hearts)||7,904|
|12||Red Delicious apple||1 whole||5,900|
|13||Granny Smith apple||1 whole||5,381|
|15||Sweet cherry||1 cup||4,873|
|16||Black plum||1 whole||4,844|
|17||Russet potato (cooked)||1 whole||4,649|
|18||Black bean (dried)||Half cup||4,181|
|20||Gala apple||1 whole||3,903|
Another Food of Note
Antioxidants are found in the above-mentioned foods in larger quantities. Another source of antioxidants is chocolate. Chocolate has gained a bad reputation over the years but it has its humble roots in the Meso-American societies of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans.
The cacao bean from which chocolate originates was highly prized. Many early civilizations used the beans as money. A man’s wealth and status were determined by his cache of cacao beans.
The bean was ground into a powder and used in a drink. The drink was prized by royalty and soldiers. Those who drank it noticed that they had increased libido, stamina, strength and less hunger. Part of this is due to the antioxidant properties of the bean.
Today, the chocolate with the highest antioxidants is dark chocolate. It also contains the highest percentage of pure cacao than any other chocolate.
If it worked for the Aztecs it can also work for us centuries later. Choose dark chocolate that has no other add-ins like nougat, nuts, cream or caramel. Eating a small amount of chocolate every day is healthy for the body.
Let's Not Forget Tea!
Did you know that Green and black teas have 8 to 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and veggies, by one estimate? All teas from the camellia tea plant are rich in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant.
According to WebMD, the bulk of research shows that regular tea drinkers, people who drink two cups or more a day, have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL (often called “bad”) cholesterol, and that they recover from heart attacks faster.
Some laboratory tests also show that black and green tea may help boost metabolism to aid weight loss, block allergic response, slow the growth of tumors, protect bones, fight bad breath, improve skin, protect against Parkinson's disease, and even delay the onset of diabetes.
Green tea, black tea[, oolong tea — all of these come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are simply processed differently, which gives rise to the different types/colors. The leaves of Green tea withered and steamed, not fermented, while Oolong and Black teas undergo a crushing and fermenting process.
But what about Roobios?
Red and green rooibos teas originate in South Africa, but the are not technically a tea due to the fact that rooibos does not come from the same camellia senensis plant, but is, instead, from the legume family – and this gives it a different chemical makeup.
Rooibos tea is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves.
According to Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter, “Research conducted in Japan shows that rooibos possesses antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity. Translation – it is powerfully protective. Additionally, rooibos appears to have anti-allergic properties.”
His article on Rooibos tea is fantastic, you should take a minute and read it here: Red Tea, Even Better for You than Green Tea?
Supplements are used to provide vitamins and minerals that you might miss in your daily diet. Being on the run with family and career can make it hard to get all of our antioxidant foods in each day. Some people use supplements.
While it is recommended that a multivitamin be taken each day, taking other supplements can be toxic in large doses. Before using supplementation to take in antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, A, and trace mineral, check with a physician. Although antioxidants found in food provide cellular protection, using too many supplements can actually work against the body.
Exercise – Yep, It helps with free radicals too!
Some athletes are concerned with free radical damage. Exercising increases cellular metabolism and therefore increases the levels of free radicals.
Are they at risk for oxidative stress or premature aging?
The good news here is that if you exercise on a regular basis, your body will compensate for the increase in free radicals with enhanced cellular response. It seems that the body rises to the occasion since exercise is supposed to be good for the body. There is no evidence to suggest that athletes need to ingest higher amounts of antioxidants.
The downside is that if you are a person who exercises sporadically, you could be doing more harm than good. The increase in free radicals from the exercise is not matched by the body.
That is one explanation for why you end up with stress fractures, broken or fractured bones and other “badges” of your weekend warrior status.
Free radicals can lead to premature aging and diseases in the body because of the damage they do to cells and other body tissues. They are in search of an extra electron and will steal it from anywhere.
But, the body is not left without its defenses. To enhance those defenses, antioxidants from our food boost immune response, repair cells, neutralize free radicals and slow the aging process.
You can help the antioxidants do their job by reducing your exposure to outside sources of free radicals. There isn’t much you can do about cellular metabolism as it is a necessary process of life.
Other sources include: pollutants in air, water and soil, cigarette smoke, x-rays and too much sunlight. Stay looking and feeling young with foods rich in antioxidants.
10 DIY Products for Skin Care and Anti-Aging
1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Mask
This first DIY product is going to be good for both acne and anti-aging purposes. It uses baking soda as its main ingredient, but then you will add in some apple cider vinegar, which can brighten your skin and really add some youthful appeal to it. The honey is a wonderful addition, providing nutrients that your skin craves, especially during the summer.
You can also add some other ingredients to this mask, from essential oils to lemon juice, so don’t be afraid to customize it if you need to.
What You Need
The first step to making the apple cider vinegar and honey mask is to gather your ingredients. There are only three ingredients that are mandatory, then the rest depend entirely on you and what you’re looking for. Here are the three ingredients to make sure you have for the mask:
- Raw honey
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- Apple cider vinegar
Make sure the honey is raw, preferably from a natural health food store, not a sugar-filled honey from your regular grocery store.
Making the Mask
Once you have collected the ingredients you need, it is time to put them all together. Masks and scrubs are really easy to make, so no need to worry! Since you are using apple cider vinegar, which is very acidic, you should also have some water on hand to dilute it. Do this in a glass first, then add the diluted vinegar to a bowl with your baking soda and honey.
The amounts you use for the mask depend on how thick or thin you want it. It is recommended that you start with a small amount of baking soda in the bowl, then add the diluted apple cider vinegar and honey slowly, mixing as you go. You can start or stop whenever you are happy with how it turned out.
2. Bentonite Clay Mask
This next product is another type of mask, but this time it is going to use bentonite clay. It is all-natural, easy to make, and uses just a few simple ingredients. Bentonite clay is a type of clay made of various minerals. The clay itself might seem intimidating, but it is actually wonderful for your skin. You will feel refreshed and see that your acne has improved when you use this simple mask.
What You Need
To make the bentonite clay mask, you will need the following ingredients:
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
Keep in mind the essential oils are optional, but they are added to cover the scent of the vinegar. The clay will help a little with the bitter vinegar scent, but oils can really help much better. Test them out with the vinegar first to figure out with scents go together.
Making the Mask
Once you have these ingredients on hand, it is time to make your clay mask. The bentonite clay should be in loose powder form, so don’t worry about having to knead it or soften it. This will be a very easy facial mask to make. All you need to do is mix equal parts bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar in a bowl, making sure it is mixed well. Keep in mind it will feel very thick, since it is a clay mask.
You can then drop in your essential oils. To avoid overpowering it with scent, use just a few drops at a time. You may also want to use a carrier oil, added at the same time, like jojoba or olive oil. Mix it together once more and the clay mask is done.
If you have any left over after this one use, you should transfer it to an airtight container and store it somewhere that is room temperature.
Using the Mask
The bentonite clay mask is used just like any other mask. It is going to be very thick, so keep that in mind when applying. Apply it to your face, being careful to avoid your eyes. Let it sit about 10-15 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water. If you haven’t used this mask before, you might want to choose a shorter wait time.
3. Coconut Oil Moisturizer
The next DIY product you should know about is actually not something you need to make. This is simply using coconut oil as a moisturizer. However, we will provide some different options for adding a little something extra to moisturize your face even more.
Why coconut oil? Simple. It is amazing! Coconut has so many health benefits, not just for your skin, but for your hair, body, and even your teeth. It is naturally moisturizing, so just coconut oil alone will work wonders for you. Take a look at how you can make your own coconut oil moisturizer for anti-aging.
What You Need
- Coconut oil
- Essential oils (optional) (oil profiles are here)
- Carrier oils (optional) (carrier oil profiles are here)
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
For the coconut oil, you need to read the label very carefully. There are different types, so you want to be sure you choose the organic, virgin, unrefined coconut oil. If it says refined, avoid it, as that is overly processed and might contain other additives you don’t want on your skin.
You can then choose any essential oils or carrier oils you want, or you can just use the coconut oil on its own. Here are some fun combinations if you decide to go this direction:
- Lavender oil, rose oil, and olive carrier oil
- Geranium oil, chamomile oil, and jojoba oil
- Lemon oil and sweet almond oil
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
Making the Moisturizer
Once you have decided what to use for your moisturizer, you can start making it. If you are just using plain coconut oil, all you have to do is melt it by running the jar under warm water, then apply it to your skin. However, if you are adding oils, you should put the coconut oil and other oils into a blender to whip it, then place in an airtight container.
Using the Moisturizer
Once you are done making your whipped coconut oil moisturizer, just apply it to your skin whenever needed.
4. Aloe and Tea Tree Acne Gel
This is a unique DIY face product you might not have considered. It is a type of aloe vera gel, but one that sues some other ingredients to provide anti-aging benefits. The sun is harsh on your skin, so using this before and after sun exposure will really help to minimize those sun spots, and fine lines and wrinkles.
What You Need
For this aloe anti-aging gel product, you will need the following products:
Make sure you are using pure aloe vera gel with nothing added to it. Some drug stores have it, but it is often easier to find online or at natural health food stores. You will then want some tea tree oil, along with your choice of essential oils. Use any combination you want, depending on what scent you would like for this product.
The aloe is good for reducing inflammation, as well as killing bacteria, which helps with your acne.
The tea tree oil is great for both acne and anti-aging benefits.
Making the Gel
This gel only requires mixing the ingredients and storing it properly. It helps to make it directly in the airtight container you intend to use for storing it, so that you know what amount to make. Start by filling up the container between ½ and ¾ full with your aloe vera gel. Next, add in the tea tree oil and essential oils, then stir to mix well. That’s it!
Using the Gel
This gel is not used like regular aloe vera gel for just sunburns, though it definitely can be. Instead, you can use it at any time when you want to provide a cooling effect on your skin. It can be used to minimize lines and wrinkles, works great as an after-sun gel, and helps with irritation of the skin as well.
5. Oatmeal and Cinnamon Scrub
If you are looking for a facial scrub that will provide exfoliation, but in a more gentle way, then this is the scrub for you. The primary ingredients are oatmeal and cinnamon, but we are going to give you some variations as well.
The cinnamon is wonderful for your skin, especially if you are acne prone. Cinnamon powder can actually dry out your pimples to reduce them without having to pop them. It can also help bring more oxygen to the surface of your skin, which helps to open your pores and give you a more youthful appearance.
There is oatmeal in this face scrub, which is perfect for providing a coarse exfoliation that isn’t too harsh, even for sensitive skin.
What You Need
The two basic ingredients you need for this scrub are:
- Cinnamon powder
- Dry oats
You will also need a liquid in order to combine the ingredients and turn it into a scrub you can use on your face. You can definitely use just plain water, using just enough to turn it into an exfoliating scrub. Another option is to use part water and part lemon juice for a refreshing scrub.
Making the Scrub
As you might have guessed, all that is needed to make this scrub is add some oats and cinnamon powder to a bowl, then add in your liquids. Start with a just a small amount of water, mixing as you go. This lets you know how much you need according to the consistency you are looking for.
You want a consistency that is thick enough to stick on your face, but not so thick that you can’t move it around and scrub properly.
Using the Scrub
Once you have made your scrub, you can then use it on your face. You should wet your face first, then grab some product in your hand, and rub it onto your face. Scrub it generously on your nose, forehead, chin, and cheeks, being careful to avoid your eyes. Rinse it with cool water once you have exfoliated.
6. Almond and Shea Butter Night Cream
While scrubs and masks are great additions when you want something that works for both anti-aging and acne, you may also want to consider a cream. You can make your very own night cream that is applied at night before bed so that you wake up refreshed with soft, silky skin.
This night cream uses a variety of ingredients, but primarily almond oil and shea butter, which really give your skin a nice glow, brightening, and soft feeling.
What You Need
Here is a list of what to get for your almond and shea butter night cream:
As always, get everything pure, natural, and organic. The coconut oil should be unrefined, virgin coconut oil, and you want your honey to be raw. If you can get local honey, even better. The shea butter and vitamin E oil will help to soften your skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil further helps to give you a thicker consistency, with moisturizing for your skin as well.
Making the Cream
To make your night cream, add the shea butter, melted coconut oil, and honey to the bowl first. Combine these ingredients well, then mix in your vitamin E oil and almond oil. You can also use some essential oils if you want more scent, but it isn’t required. Transfer the night cream to an airtight container to keep it fresh.
Using the Cream
The best way to use your night cream is to apply it before bed, after you have washed your face. Just be careful to avoid your eyes and mouth when using the cream. Try to remember to use this cream every evening, and you will have soft, silky skin that looks more youthful than ever before.
7. Custom Face Oil
This is a fun product because it is completely customizable. You can choose whichever ingredients you want to use for this face oil, which is going to moisturize your face and give you a more youthful appearance. It is ideal if you have dry skin, struggle with lines and wrinkles, or you have acne scars that you want to minimize.
What You Need
The first thing you want to choose with the custom face oil is the essential oil. This can be anything you like, but here are some good oils to consider: (oil profiles are here)
Next is the carrier oil, since you need it to dilute your pure essential oils. Here are some options: (carrier oil profiles are here)
Finally, you have the choice to add an oil to soften and moisturize your skin. Try some of these:
Making the Oil
To make this face oil, you just need to combine the oils together in a small container or bottle with a dropper. You can then apply it to your skin by using a cotton ball dipped into the container. Since it has essential oils, make sure the container or bottle you use is airtight and stored in room temperature.
8. Witch Hazel Natural Face Toner
Facial toner is a type of cosmetic product that helps to cleanse your skin, tighten it, and reduce your pores. Pores can often detract from a nice complexion, plus large pores are at risk forgetting clogged and leading to acne. This witch hazel face toner can help with both acne and anti-aging.
What You Need
This is a really simple and natural facial toner that will help you shrink your pores and help with anti-aging and acne, but won’t be too harsh for your skin. It uses these ingredients:
- Witch hazel
- Essential oils (oil profiles are here)
- Cooled tea
You need to add a liquid to the witch hazel in order to turn it into a toner, which is where the cooled tea comes in. While you can use any tea you prefer, green tea is usually a good choice. Make sure it has completely cooled before making the toner. You can also use any essential oils you want to add more benefits and scent, but those are optional.
Making the Toner
To make this healthy toner for your face, start by brewing the green tea, then letting it sit and get cool. Once it is cool, pour the tea into a spray bottle, followed by a healthy dose of witch hazel drops and your essential oils. You can add a carrier oil as well, but it is only necessary if you are using essential oils.
Give the spray bottle a good shake and it’s ready to use on your face.
Using the Toner
When your toner is done, all you need to do is spray it onto your face, being careful with your eyes, nose and mouth. If you prefer, you can spray it onto a cotton pad and rub that around your face. You will feel your face tighten almost immediately, which feels great. Use the toner after washing your face, but before using moisturizer or sunscreen. It will dry on your face, so there is no need for rinsing.
9. Geranium Body Butter
Before we get to the end of this report, we wanted to make sure to include a body butter! Body butter is a creamy, thick butter you can apply to your skin in lieu of moisturizer. It is a little thicker than moisturizer and best when you suffer from really dry skin. It is also wonderful for anti-aging since it reduces dryness and has lots of natural ingredients in it.
This is a floral body butter using geranium and other floral scents, providing scent and a host of other benefits for your natural beauty.
What You Need
To start with, you of course need to gather the ingredients for this body butter. Here is a list of what you need:
- Shea butter (purchase quality, raw shea butter here)
- Jojoba oil (or other carrier oil)
- Geranium essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Rose essential oil
You can also add in any other oils you want, whether they are floral or not. The carrier oil is recommended to go with geranium, but of course you can also use other carrier oils like olive oil or sweet almond oil. The shea butter is what gives this body butter its thick, creamy consistency.
Making the Body Butter
To make this body butter, you first need to melt your shea butter. It is much easier to do this in a double boiler, instead of attempting to microwave it. Heat it up in the double boiler until it melts, then remove it from the stove. While the shea butter cools, you can go ahead and start adding your carrier oil and essential oils. The amount used depends on how much shea butter you have.
When it is completely cooled and mixed together, carefully transfer the butter to an airtight container. Place it in the fridge to chill, then remove it and put it in a room temperature location. Chilling it will help it reach a creamy consistency.
Using the Body Butter
You will use this body butter just like any lotion or moisturizer by grabbing some with your fingers and rubbing it onto your skin.
10. Honey Lavender Face Scrub
We have just one more face scrub to show you, which helps with your acne and anti-aging. This one is bound to be a fan favorite, since it uses lavender and honey in it. These ingredients combined with others you need for the scrub really provide a refreshing, relaxing, invigorating feel. You will use this scrub and feel like you just had a facial at a fancy spa.
What You Need
For this face scrub, the exfoliant is going to be baking soda instead of salt or sugar. This is best when you have bad acne scars or irritation on your skin, since it is finer and a little gentler on your skin. You will need the following ingredients to make the honey lavender acne face scrub:
- Baking soda
- Raw honey
- Lavender essential oil
For the honey, using Manuka honey is ideal because it is a natural anti-inflammatory. This will reduce the effect of acne breakouts, plus is wonderful for anti-aging. However, you can also use another type of raw honey.
Making the Scrub
To make the face scrub, start by combining the honey and baking soda in a bowl. This is good to do first because you are making a paste and need to know what consistency you want. Pour the baking soda in the bowl first, then gradually add honey, mixing it well, until you have a good paste. Next, you can add in your lavender essential oils and mix well.
Using the Scrub
When using this type of scrub, open up your pores first by placing a warm and wet towel or wash cloth on your face for a few minutes. Next, add the scrub mixture to your face, avoiding your eyes. Use circular motions in a gentle fashion all over your nose, cheeks, chin, upper lip area, and forehead. You can massage it for a few minutes. Rinse it off with cool or warm water.
Pulling It All Together
You now have a bunch of different ways to lengthen your life, feel better and improve your skin and appearance. It might look like an overwhelming list. However, anything is manageable when you take it step-by-step. Identify one item on the list and create a plan to integrate it into your life. Once it has become a habit and you feel ready, add another tactic.
Consider starting with something that you know you can achieve. For example, maybe you make an appointment to get an annual check-up. That's easy enough to accomplish. As you begin to modify your lifestyle and embrace healthy habits, you'll feel more confident in your ability to make big changes. You'll feel empowered to take the necessary steps to live a long, healthy and beautiful life.
What is Aging?
Some scientists and physicians suggest that aging is a ‘disease’. This is not a fair description. Aging is not a disease but part of the process of life itself!
You cannot reverse aging but you can help slow it down to an optimal level which nature intended. So, how long should we live for? This is a subject of much debate and disagreement.
Some scientists claim extraordinary times…200+ years. However, this is really in the realm of science fiction.
The position of Xtend-Life is that it is possible to live to the projected maximum human life span of 120 years. To achieve this, your life has to be well balanced! In other words, your lifestyle, your diet, the amount of exercise you do, the environment you live in and your nutrient intake have to be as close as possible to optimal.