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“If living a long and healthy life is Key, there are steps you can take to turn back the hand of time” — Paul Ebeling
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, whose award-winning research into DNA methylation, e.g., the regulation of gene expression, has been studying the difference between biological and chronological aging, and she’s narrowed down how people can feel their best longer in her upcoming book, “YOUNGER YOU: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better.”
Utilizing epigenetics, e.g., the study of how environments and behaviors impact gene expression, the book details the 8 wk clinical pilot trial Dr. Fitzgerald led that reportedly shaved off 3 yrs on participants’ bio age with accessible diet and lifestyle tweaks.
Dr. Fitzgerald says that motherhood and reports on American life expectancy going down inspired her to study biological aging. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most updated life expectancy repository, the average American lifespan is 78.6 anni, while the average health span is 66.6 anni.
“Our biological age is moving faster in this country than our chronological age,” Fitzgerald said. “And those last 16 years are spent with at least one – and for most of us – two diagnoses of chronic disease. We’re not well. We don’t spend our later years healthy.”
While stats show Americans are biologically aging at a faster rate, Dr. Fitzgerald’s research indicates there are ways it can be slowed, and the process is simple and cost-effective.
When it comes down to reversing our biological age, she recommends shifting your everyday diet to include nutritious real foods, herbs and spices all of these have the ability to change our genetic expression towards something more youthful when taken together.
Other nutrient-rich health foods Fitzgerald recommends includes low-sugar fruits like avocado, blood oranges, blueberries, grapefruit and green apples; clean animal proteins like eggs, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, organic pork , lamb and salmon plus healthy monosaturated, saturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fats that can be found in a variety of nuts and seeds.
Aside from a poor diet, stress is a leading cause of premature aging.
“We are so stressed out as a country. And stress is like gasoline on the fire of aging. But, research also shows that reversing that stress like engaging in meditation or maybe yoga or tai chi – have really good effects on our genetic expression like contributing to that biologically younger profile.”
For her clinical trial participants, Dr. Fitzgerald prescribed a “basic meditation protocol.” She typically recommends 10 mins of meditation 2X a day.
Getting enough rest is the other Key to staying biologically youthful. Getting at least 7 hrs of sleep each night not only helps to keep our energy level high during the day, but it is conducive to healthy DNA methylation.
“Sleep, if it is sound will keep us biologically younger,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “If we are not sleeping well, we will change our genetic expression towards something that increases our risk of chronic diseases, which in turn increases our biological age.”