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By the Editors of Prevention
Thu, Jul 15, 2010

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Look Your Age—Or Younger!
It pretty much goes without saying that smoking cigarettes and frying your skin in the sun make you older, so kudos for quitting and slathering on the sunscreen religiously. But if you’re trying to turn back the clock—or at least slow it down a little—don’t overlook these other habits that may be sabotaging your efforts.

1. You keep your college bedtime
It’s not uncommon for superbusy women to cram a day’s worth of around-the-house to-dos into the late evening hours, a practice that pushes back bedtime into—eep!—Late Night with Jimmy Fallon territory. The problem with this is that too-little sleep is proving to be really, really bad for your health: Research links it to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and even just looking tired and older.

Act your age: We’re not saying you need a perfect 8 hours every single night, but make sleep a priority more often and your body will thank you. Everyone’s sleep needs are different; to find out what yours are, sleep experts recommend you turn off the alarm clock when you’re well rested, and see how long you naturally sleep. (Most people need 7 to 8 hours.)

Instant Health Boost: 12 Quick ways to better your mind and body today!

2. You have a soft spot for sweets
A sugar-packed diet can take its toll on your waistline, but now experts also believe it can make your skin dull and wrinkled too. To blame is a natural process known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop; these damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Act your age: It’s not easy to eliminate sugar completely, but limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories can help. If you’re a 45-year-old woman of average height (5-foot-4), that’s 160 calories (or 10 teaspoons) from added sugar—about the number in one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola or six Hershey’s Kisses. By comparison, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons per day of added sugar, or the equivalent of 465 calories. Watch for stealthy sugar in unexpected foods, like salad dressing. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar, but it’s hidden under aliases—including barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado—on ingredient panels.

3. You’re stressed more often than not
You don’t feel good when you’re stressed-out—be it from work projects piling up, a miserable commute, issues with the kids, etc.—and there’s good biological proof why you shouldn’t. Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, stress that doesn’t go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood—talk about feeling older!

Act your age: Stress will never go away completely, but how you manage everyday blips can keep hormones on a more even—and healthy—keel. Deep breathing is the top antistress pick of Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD: He makes time for it at least twice a day. “It only takes 2 minutes,” he says. “I do it in the morning, when I’m falling asleep in the evening, and anytime I feel upset.” Try it: Exhale strongly through the mouth, making a whoosh sound. Breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale with the whoosh for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle 3 more times.

10 silent signs you’re more stressed than you think.

4. You only exercise to lose weight
Exercise is one of the best turn-back-the-clock agents around, but too many of us don’t reap its full benefits because we only associate physical activity with weight loss. If you tend to hit the gym in 2-week stints to shed a few pounds, but then take a few months off from physical activity, you’re missing out on some major health perks. Research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time.

Act your age: Don’t let your sneakers get dusty. Choose any activity you enjoy—be it walking, cycling, or dancing—and aim for a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes a day. Break it down, if you have to, into two 10-minute sessions. Slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity in small increments. If you miss a day, don’t let it become a habit; just pick up again the next day.

5. You blast your iPod
Nothing makes you feel 80 years old like having to cup your ear and say “Excuse me?” to get your friend to repeat herself… again. Hearing loss typically develops slowly, the result of prolonged exposure to thousands of high-decibel insults to the ear, many of which come from exposure to everyday gadgets, like iPods or hair dryers. MP3 players set at 50% volume can pump out sounds up to 101 decibels, well over the recommended safety threshold.

Act your age: To ageproof your iPod, keep the volume as low as possible. Use noise-canceling earbuds to block out ambient sounds, reducing your need to jack up the volume. Wear earplugs when you’re around other loud noises too, like the garbage disposal, coffee grinder, lawn mower, etc.

14 Everyday ways you damage your health.

6. You never see your girlfriends
Your friends were probably the meat and potatoes of your social calendar back in your 20s; now you spend most of your spare time shuttling your tweens around to their various get-togethers. But here’s why making time to cultivate your friendships is so key: One study found that satisfying friendships predict longevity better than even close family ties, and they can protect against obesity, depression, and heart disease, among other health problems. No wonder you always feel reenergized after a marathon catch-up call with your best college friend or a girls’ night out with your high school crew.

Act your age: Your friends keep you young—simple as that. So if hectic schedules keep you apart, consider carving a more permanent place in your schedule for friend time. Take advantage of Facebook or e-mail groups to stay in touch on a more frequent basis—even clicking through and commenting on a pal’s recently uploaded vacation photos can help you feel closer.

7. You eat veggies—but not daily
You’ve likely heard that antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies can help you stay young. These powerful compounds fight free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your body and skin, damaging cells that can lead to cancer and make you look older. But here’s the rub: Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished, so don’t think you’re set for the week after eating a big salad for lunch on Monday.

Act your age: ODing on veggies a couple of days a week or month—and skipping them the rest of the time—doesn’t do your body any favors. To truly maximize their age-defying benefits, aim to eat antioxidants every 4 hours or so or with every meal.

8. You’ve shunned all fat from your diet
Cutting out artery-clogging saturated and trans fats is a heart-healthy move, but when it comes to your health and vitality, equally slashing unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, is like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. One kind, omega-3 fatty acids, is the ultimate anti-aging fat, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Another kind, monounsaturated, can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, studies suggest that a higher intake of these fats may contribute to longer life expectancy.

Act your age: Remember that fat isn’t inherently evil, and it won’t make you fat per se. About 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat (mainly healthy, unsaturated fat) like those from the above sources.

9. You can’t recall when you last had sex
Yep, sex feels good and does wonders for your mood, but it’s also fantastically great for your health. Research shows that people with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress. The best news: It can even make you look younger—up to 12 years, a study shows.

Act your age: Rekindle the romance between you and your partner. To shake things up, try making the first move next time. “Some women are not active participants in their sex lives,” says Pat Covalt, PhD, author of What Smart Couples Know. “A lot of men would like to be touched more, seduced more. Everyone wants to feel wanted.”

http://health.yahoo.net/rodale/PVN/9-harmless-habits-that-age-you

Unfortunately, our Mother Nature gave us no knowledge about possible foods or herbal remedies, which can reverse the process of aging. But the good news is: there are foods and natural products which can slow down unwanted and damaging processes in our body, including hair and skin changes (hair loss, loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles and brown spots on the skin, etc.), behavioral and mental changes, decrease of vision and hearing, and so on.

oatmeal1. Oatmeal. Oatmeal (as well as beans and barley) is one of the most important anti aging foods. Oatmeal can provide us with the energy we need for our daily activities. Besides, this food has a combination of key nutrients, vitamins, minerals, as well as potent antioxidants that can slow down aging processes. Finally, all these useful elements containing in oatmeal can be easily absorbed without adding a lot of calories. Oatmeal is a perfect dietary food, which can be a great breakfast idea for everyone!

green-tea12. Green Tea. A known source of powerful antioxidants, green tea is definitely the best and the most useful beverage which can slow down aging processes. Undoubtedly, no other beverage can have more of positive effects on your body system functions and especially your skin quality than a high quality green tea. You can drink green tea hot or cold, but remember that, in order to maximize therapeutic effects of this natural remedy, it is essential to drink this beverage with positive emotions and with a great pleasure!

water3. Water. Everyone, who wants to remain young and healthy for many years, should remember that drinking 2-2.5 liters of water every day is crucial for being in good health and physical shape. That excludes the water we receive from fruit, veggies, meals, juices and so on. Water is a principal anti aging element since dehydration affects our skin to the greatest extent. A lack of water causes toxins and harmful chemicals collecting in skin cells, resulting in formation of wrinkles and flaccidity.

carrot4. Carrot. Carrots are a type of anti aging foods which can effectively erase numerous damaging effects of aging. A perfect source of Vitamin E and Beta carotene, carrots can provide us with excellent skin benefits, including moisturizing, sun protection and reviving. Add carrots to your soups, vegetable salads or other vegetable meals. Another great idea for breakfast is to add some fresh shredded carrot to your morning oatmeal!

apples5. Apples. Apples found a place among the most effective anti aging foods for their excellent detoxifying and cleansing properties. Add apples to your daily diet and they will assist your body in removing all harmful toxins and unwanted chemical elements. As a result, your skin will look perfect and smooth, and your fresh complexion is guaranteed! In addition, regular consumption of apples is linked to age-related memory improvement, lower risks of cancer and improved overall health.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

http://guide2herbalremedies.com/anti-aging-foods/

Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money. Montezuma, the famous Aztec emperor, had his vaults filled not with gold but with about 960,000,000 raw cacao beans.

In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree Theobroma cacao, which literally means “cacao, the food of the gods.”

Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.

Sulfur and Magnesium

Cacao is remarkably rich in sulfur and magnesium.

It seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the menstrual period.

Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium.

Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails, hair, beautiful, shiny skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning. Anecdotal reports indicate that cacao detoxifies mercury because it is so high sulfur.

Stimulant or Superfood?

Cacao contains subtle amounts of caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.

Consider the following: Experimental provings of chocolate by Homeopaths indicate its stimulating effect when cooked. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, an excited state of circulation, and an accelerated pulse. Interestingly, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted beans neither effect was noticeable, leading the provers to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting.

MAO Inhibitors

Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) – these are different from digestiveenzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. MAO inhibitors facilitate youthening and rejuvenation.

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-relatedchemical that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. This is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical)

A neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that natural anandamide and/or cacaoanandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao.

Antioxidants

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Compare the cacao bean to processed cocoa powder (defatted, roasted cacao treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolates which range in flavonol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams per 100 grams in normal chocolate bars to 5,000 milligrams in Mars Corporation’s special Cocoapro cocoa powder. Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa has more Phenolic Phytochemicals and a higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine,” found in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication. Scientists have known that cocoa contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were compared with those in red wine and green tea. The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE. Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:

broccoli – 890
alfalfa sprouts – 930
plums – 949
brussel sprouts – 980
raspberries – 1220
spinach – 1260
strawberries – 1540
kale – 1,770
blackberries – 2036
blueberries – 2,400
raisins – 2,830
prunes – 5,770
dark chocolate – 13,120

The ORAC test examines the antioxidant levels of various foods. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society

Cacao and dark chocolate boost antioxidants; however, the addition of dairy products/milk cancels out the effects of antioxidants. Studies indicate that dairy products specifically block the absorption of all the great antioxidants in chocolate.

Other facts on Raw Cacao beans

  • Raw Cacao is the latest Raw Super Food available on the market today.
  • It is a true super food unlike anything that has come before.
  • As already previously discussed, it is the highest known source of anti-oxidants by a factor of almost 5.
  • It has nearly 20 times the antioxidant levels of red wine and up to 30 times what is found in green tea.
  • In nature, the primary source of Magnesium is cacao (raw chocolate beans).

Raw chocolate is known to have the following properties:

  • Diminishes appetite and aids in weight loss.
  • · Increases sensuality and beauty.
  • · Helps to heal and open the heart.
  • · Nourishes the intellect and attracts prosperity.

The flavor of Raw Cacao is similar to dark, bitter chocolate one would normally buy at a store. It is great just eaten plain, with honey, or in your favorite smoothi. (or blend Cacao Beans with Coconut Oil, Almond Butter and Honey – totally divine).

One of the main differences between raw cacao and the chocolate typically available on the open market (cocoa—a processed substance) is that raw cacao has all the original healthy cacao butter, containing all the original essential fatty acids and amazing taste originally found in the bean. Raw cacao or chocolate should not be confused with other substances such as coco (coconut), kola (a nut whose flavor is used in soft drinks), or coca (the leaf of the plant from which cocaine is derived). Cocoa and cocoa butter are cooked, processed substances derived from raw cacao nibs (orbeans/nuts). All chocolate starts out as raw cacao beans (or nuts —they are actually the seed of the cacao fruit which grows on a tropical tree). Processing, cooking and roasting corrupt the delicate, complex flavor of the cacao nib (bean without the skin). Raw cacao is one of the most, if not the most, nutrient rich and complex foods known to man.

http://www.uncleharrys.com/infobase/product/cacao_beans.php

Picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Cocoa_Pods.JPG/240px-Cocoa_Pods.JPG

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