Wondering if there’s anything you can be doing to get a leg up on anti-aging?
While you probably have the basics covered, like not smoking and exercising regularly, there is indeed more you can be doing to slow down the aging process.
We’ve got some practical and natural anti-aging tips that might help you age gracefully and less noticeably.
These lifestyle tips actually combat aging from the inside out and have a proven track record for increasing longevity. Many centenarians practice these tips to stay young… and now you can too.
9 Anti-Aging Tips To Steal From Centenarians In Blue Zones
Dan Buettner and his team of researchers set out to discover the secret to longevity by studying centenarians, or people who’ve reached triple digits in age (i.e., 100+).
Data showed the highest number of centenarians came from five specific locations: Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, CA, USA. These areas became known as Blue Zones. In Blue Zones, people reach the age of 100 at a rate ten times higher than in the United States (1).
What made these populations defy aging? Centenarians in Blue Zones all followed nine daily practices throughout their lives:
- Staying active in their environment, whether that’s walking in the neighborhood or gardening in the backyard.
- Having a sense of purpose, which gave them a reason to get up each morning and added seven years to their life expectancy.
- Knowing how to de-stress. From praying and practicing gratitude to taking a nap or going to happy hour, centenarians make their mental health a priority.
- Practicing mindful eating. They stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full instead of 100%. They also begin eating later in the day and finish eating earlier in the evening, like intermittent fasters.
- Drinking a daily glass of wine. Many admitted to enjoying one or two glasses of wine after a hard day of work as opposed to splurging on several during the weekend.
- Eating less meat. Most only ate meat a handful of times each month and many loaded their diets with beans.
- Belonging to a faith-based community. Just five out of the 263 people studied did not belong to a community centered around religion.
- Prioritizing loved ones above all else. Many centenarians were in long-term committed relationships, valued having parents and grandparents around, and enjoyed living with younger generations.
- Having support from friends. Centenarians had at least five friends in their social circle and remained active with them for as long as they could.
Alone or combined, these practices helped centenarians live longer, happier lives. Maybe pick a few of the above that resonate with you and give them a try!
In the world beyond the Blue Zones, scientific research has also brought us a few more tested anti-aging strategies.
The Top 6 Science-Backed Natural Anti-Aging Tips
Rather than waiting until it’s too late to turn back time, use these natural anti-aging strategies that work from the inside out to lessen the effects of aging on your health, skin, and overall happiness:
1. Start a Skincare Routine ASAP
Your skin is often the first place you’ll notice signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, dry skin, and age spots or discoloration. Scientists say pollution, sun exposure, and your lifestyle, diet, and daily skincare habits account for 80% of these visible signs (13).
Since you can’t control your environment, one of the best anti-aging tips is to protect your skin before these signs appear. Dermatologists say an effective daily skincare routine may have the most significant long-term impact on your overall complexion (and appearance) as you age. So to prevent signs of aging sooner than later, make sure to always (14):
Cleanse and exfoliate. Cleansing removes makeup, pollution, and excess oil to keep your skin cells free of buildup, dirt, and grime. A routinely-used cleanser also reduces breakouts and keeps sensitive skin clear of irritants and dead cells. A buildup of dead skin cells creates a rough, dull complexion instead of a bright, radiant, and smooth skin tone.
Since your cell turnover rate diminishes with age, you’ll want to slough off those dead skin cells manually with an exfoliating mask or peel. Exfoliation removes old skin cells and stimulates cell turnover so your skin looks clear, smooth, even-toned, and glowing (15).
In addition to natural exfoliating masks you can make at home or buy, chemical exfoliants containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid may be safely used regularly as well (16).
Moisturize. Your skin will lack essential oils after cleansing and exfoliating. A high-quality moisturizer with a humectant such as hyaluronic acid will help your skin draw moisture (i.e., water) back in, keep it hydrated and supple, and protect it from drying out (14).
Experts from The American Academy of Dermatology say fine lines and wrinkles appear more noticeable when skin is dry. Moisturizing will help fill in wrinkles temporarily so they appear less deep and apparent (17). Look for serums and moisturizers with vitamin A (or retinoids, a vitamin A derivative). These may be helpful for renewing skin cells, acting as UV filters, and improving skin aging (21)(22).
Plus, a moisturizer with a brightening agent like licorice root or water-soluble derivatives of vitamin C may restore luminosity to dull, tired skin. One with sun protection pulls double-duty.
2. Try Collagen
Hyaluronic acid, elastin, and collagen production all decline as you age, which leads to an average 6% decrease in skin plumpness each decade (19)(20). Should you buy the latest over-the-counter night cream or collagen-based skincare products? Maybe not.
See, collagen doesn’t get absorbed properly when it’s applied topically. You’re better off ingesting collagen from your diet with foods such as bone broth (one of the richest sources of natural collagen), gelatin, or through supplementation with collagen peptides.
One scientific review of 11 studies showed collagen helped improve skin hydration levels and elasticity (11). It also increased skin density, another anti-aging benefit expensive creams and drugstore options promise but rarely deliver.
Even though more research is needed on collagen and the appearance of skin aging, results seem promising. Plus, collagen is also great for gut health, which hits another anti-aging strategy.
3. Show Your Gut Some Love
Your gut microbiome, or the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, changes as you get older. However, junk food, environmental toxins, stress, and other lifestyle factors can easily push your gut balance in the wrong direction if you’re not careful.
An out-of-balance gut, research shows, can lead to a host of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and cardiovascular disease (12). Dealing with any of these serious conditions may make you feel sick, tired, and run down, three things that won’t help your anti-aging and longevity efforts.
So ensuring optimal gut health is vital. Stay away from sugary and processed foods, alcohol, and coffee since these can all irritate your gut lining. Take steps to improve your gut health by sticking to whole foods, eating fermented vegetables, and drinking antioxidant- and polyphenol-rich teas.
4. Fill Your Diet With More Antioxidants
Animal studies have also proved that antioxidants help fight oxidative stress, which is when free radicals destroy healthy cells in your body (10).
Adding more anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods to your diet, such as berries, dark and colorful vegetables, and teas, can help create a defensive shield against aging antagonists.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting, which is when you only eat within a certain window of time during the day, has become a popular weight loss tool. But it might also be a great anti-aging remedy.
In one study done on mice, researchers noticed fasting and calorie restriction extended the rodents’ lifespan by 11%, or 102 days (5). This is also seen in humans. According to a team of researchers, fasting (and reducing your calories as a result) helps to trigger a response known as autophagy. When this happens, old, damaged cells are removed from your body, new ones are created, and others are repaired (6).
With healthy cells coming in and old ones going out, you might be helping your body shed the damage from the past and keep renewing its cells naturally.
6. Get More High-Quality Sleep
Sleep isn’t just important for your overall health, it also has a connection to longevity. When 180 centenarians were studied in Rome, researchers discovered that close to 60% of them reported regular nights of high-quality sleep. Only 7% had severe sleep problems (7).
Another body of research shows you need sleep if you want to prevent signs of aging, especially dark spots under your eyes. Scientists learned people clocking at least 7-9 hours of good quality sleep had better skin and higher overall satisfaction with their appearance (8). The study also noted that people who did not sleep well or enough had higher amounts of water loss, which could cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear more noticeable.
So if you’re trying to get rid of dark circles under your eyes, learn how to update your sleep routine and log more deep sleep before buying an expensive retinol eye cream.
Now that you know these all-natural anti-aging strategies, you can try adding them to your daily routine. Begin with one at a time so you’re not overwhelmed with 15 tasks to add to your to-do list. Whether you follow the nine principles centenarians live by or dabble in the six preventative tips we shared, you should feel awesome about taking these positive steps in the right direction.