We are constantly being told we can’t stop the clock – growing older is inevitable, but actually we don’t have to accept it as inevitable. There is plenty of evidence to show that you can slow down ageing by practising autophagy and fasting, as well as looking after your immune system by taking certain supplements.
Here’s how to take action for your longevity. Firstly, you need to consider autophagy and fasting. Autophagy means self-eating in Greek and is the body’s way of consuming all its dead cells and proteins and regenerating new healthy cells, thus banishing toxicity from the body. Fasting is one of the ways to naturally trigger autophagy.
The basic idea behind autophagy is that if the body is deprived of food, it begins to eat itself, destroying and recycling its own damaged cells and proteins so that new and healthier ones can be built. Autophagy is thought to be essential in protecting against cancer and dementia. Some studies have also found that autophagy helps regulate inflammation and bolsters the immune system which boosts longevity.
Autophagy is known as a form of “cellular housekeeping” that is crucial for cellular quality control. Basically, you are decluttering your old, damaged cells to make way for new ones. Autophagy is a significant way to fight ageing in your body. It turns back the clock by creating younger cells.
So how exactly do you trigger autophagy? Fasting, where your tissues and organs are deprived of food for a significant period of time, results in autophagy.
The fast should last somewhere between 20 and 24 hours during which your body will take your oldest cells and proteins and burn them for energy. Fasting and calorie restrictions have always been associated with slower ageing and longer lifespans. If the idea of fasting for 20 or 24 hours doesn’t appeal to you, know that some form of autophagy happens anyway, even if you don’t fast for that long.
Apart from fasting, a ketogenic diet that is high in fats and low in carbs can bring the same benefits as fasting. In a keto diet, you get 75 percent of your calories from fat and 10 percent from carbs which forces your body to use the fat as fuel. This activates many of the same pathways in your body that fasting does. Intense exercise can also activate your body’s autophagy pathways. Try intermittent fasting or keto dieting, along with a good workout to start the autophagy process.
Secondly, the other important way you can up your longevity is by boosting your immune system because there is a direct link between a declining immune system and a declining lifespan. Quercetin is a favourite supplement of longevity aficionados because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that kill cancer cell, control blood sugars and keeps your heart healthy.
Quercetin is a plant pigment with potent properties and foods that commonly include quercetin are apples, grapes, onions, berries, broccoli, citrus fruit, cherries, red wine, capers, tea and coffee. There are also other supplements you can take to boost your immune system—they include zinc, Vitamin C, fish oils and Reishi mushrooms. The less efficient your immune system, the more likely you are to suffer from inflammation, considered to be a leading factor in ageing. You don’t have to accept declining immune function. You can keep building up your immune system, whatever your age and feel stronger and full of energy!
Feature image via Intermountain Healthcare