Beginning in middle age, many adults start noticing the signs of aging that can begin to affect their health, appearance, mobility and overall well-being. But recent studies have demonstrated that lifestyle changes that include adjustments to diet, sleep and exercise can have a significant impact on biological aging.
As reported in Fortune, six women between the ages of 46 and 65 who participated in an 8-week program that altered their lifestyle habits, provided probiotic and phytonutrient supplements, as well as nutritional and relaxation coaching, were able to lower their biological age by an average 4.6 years. The study, published in the journal Aging, used blood tests to show a reduction in biological age of up to 11 years.
Chronological age is simply how long you have been alive, while biological or epigenetic age reflects how old your cells behave – and these changes in cell age can be influenced by environmental factors including stress, diet, pollution, and drugs. These changes, however, appear to be reversible, according to this type of research.
Participants were asked to eat certain foods daily including leafy greens, seeds, colourful vegetables, eggs, beets and liver or a liver supplement. They were also instructed to eat two servings of foods daily that support DNA methylation – a process that controls gene expression, such as wild berries, garlic, green or oolong tea, rosemary and turmeric.
Study participants were also asked to follow these daily lifestyle habits:
- Take 2 probiotic capsules
- Take 2 servings of “greens powder”
- Drink 8 cups of water per day
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes
- Practice breathing exercises twice daily
- Sleep at least 7 hours
- Fast 12 hours after their last meal of the day
None of the women in the study were able to complete all the outlined lifestyle changes, but improvements were found among women who stuck to the recommendations 82 percent of the time. Coaching, especially for stress management, appears to play a significant role in the study participants’ high level of adherence to the program. Prior research shows that stressful events can suddenly accelerate biological age, although aging can be reserved when the stressor is resolved.