WMA Logo Wang's Martial Arts

Home Page

Back to Herb index


Anti- Aging Nutrients
Energy Times: March 2004
The foundation of youth: People have sailed oceans to find it, chanted incantations to invoke its powers, celebrated it in story and song. And while that magic fount of boundless health, energy and vitality has proved maddeningly elusive, modern research inches tantalizingly closer to unmasking the secrets of exactly how to fight aging and keep the body's systems functioning effectively over time.
One thing to we do know is that longevity seems to run in families. In one study, children of centenarians have been found to suffer less heart disease than children of shorter-lived folks. And scientists are intensely studying 100 year-olds from Okinawa to New England to learn their anti-aging secrets.
A sure route to an age-defying body runs along the jogging trail. Regular exercise of all types and intensities-including indoor types like mall walking as well as outdoor mountain biking-helps maintain healthy weight, reducing disease risks-such as diabetes, heart problems and some types of cancer-associated with obesity. But, more than that, physical activity promotes higher energy levels, sounder sleep and a brighter mood, all-important components of an anti-aging lifestyle.
Another approach that seems to slow aging is calorie restriction, which apparently works by decreasing harmful free radicals and an enzyme associated with the aging process. In animals, limiting calories has led to dramatic increases in lifespan; whether such grains can be translated into longer life for human's remains to be proven. However, scientists think that at least one chemical-a red wine component called a resveraltrol- can imitate the effects of a calorie-restricted diet. And most researchers agree that adequate intake of plant chemicals called flavonoids (of which reveratrol is an apt example) plays an important role in maintaining peak health.
An additional avenue of scientific investigation into the aging process involves determining how chronic, low-level inflammation promotes tissue damage and disease development. A number of nutrients, including the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6, seem to help dampen inflammation's harmful effects. Other nutrients, such as vitamins C and natural E, mop up free radicals, those renegade molecules that harm cells. Still other nutrients, such a lutein and glucosamine, help specific parts of the body continue to function as time goes by.
The gift of a long lifespan is a happy genetic accident for some. But living the kind of life that promotes health and well-being well into old age-including a diet that incorporates plenty of the nutrients that fight the effects of time's passage-is within the reach of everyone.