65 going 50!

My 15 Secrets of LOOKING & FEELING 15 Years Younger

My age barely mattered to me until this recent October when I turned 65.

Sixty-Five! I heard the neurotic, unwelcome roommate living in my head screaming. Right then, for the first time in my 65 years on this planet, I became aware of the fact that I am getting older.  

But then I realized that I am already living healthier and more actively than the generation before me in my family – and that my health, well-being, and degree of overall happiness and satisfaction with my life have also already exceeded that of the generation before me. Aging may be inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you have to age in a way that makes you feel discontent with yourself. 

So, being the party-loving Brazilian I am, I decided to celebrate this momentous occasion by throwing myself a birthday bash in one of the world’s most iconic and party-loving cities, my hometown of Rio de Janeiro. 

Although most of the quests knew it was a 65th birthday party, the ones who did not know were genuinely surprised that I was turning 65. “No!” they screamed. “I could swear you were turning 50”. Another guest went a little further, suggesting that I had had plastic surgery to make me look 45. I have not.  Suddenly, the subject became infused with passion about why some people look so much younger than their age while others look so much older.   

The explanations ranged from the health of their skin, clothing, happiness, finances, nutrition, community, and good sex, among many others. “Write another book and tell us your secret, Edison,” a friend suggested. At first, I thought he must be joking. But quickly, I was met with intense looks and suggestions that I start typing! This article may become the initial notes for such a book. We’ll see.

Given my passion for integrative and functional medicine over the last two decades, I have found anti-aging tips for my patients on everything from nutrition and sleeping to hydration, kindness, and happiness.

My party guests wanted these tips and my secrets to looking youthful, which got me thinking. Baby boomers, like me, are all getting older and spending billions of dollars annually trying to hide it. Recent statistics have indicated that Americans spent over $1.3 billion last year on surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic surgery for men alone was up an astounding 375 percent in the last two decades, with age-disguising facelifts and eyelid lifts among the most popular treatments. But the good news is that you don’t have to shell out mega bucks or go under the knife to wipe a few years off the clock. 

Instead, here’s my 15 secrets to looking 15 years younger…

Stand for something. Be confident. Purpose contributes to happiness—research has shown that when people have a greater sense of purpose, they tend to feel more positive emotions—specifically contentment, relaxation, enthusiasm, and joy. And they feel less angry, anxious, sluggish, or sad. They also report greater satisfaction with life and overall well-being. (https://www.forbes.com) 

How many cards have you received on birthdays that remind you your age is “a state of mind”? And though trite, this is also true. Somewhere between your job, your kids, and your taxes, you may have lost that carefree youthful feeling. Getting it back is a tall order. But you can do your part to reduce stress with yoga, running, or meditation. True, all of these require time, and lack of time may be the very thing causing you stress. However, researchers at UCLA found that just 12 minutes of yoga daily over eight weeks lowered the body’s inflammatory response — a marker for stress, aging skin, and several chronic diseases. 

To look good on the outside, you must care for the inside. You can’t act like you did in your 20s. You know the rules: get plenty of rest, eat right, drink water, don’t smoke, leave the booze at the bar, and get some exercise regularly.

  1. Decrease Sugar Intake

Or, if you can, cut it out altogether! Sugar is an inflammatory food that will show aging effects on your face. Not only that, but it can inflame your brain, making concentration and memory more challenging. If cutting out sugar feels too daunting, I recommend substituting it with monk fruit sweetener and eating sweet fruits. This will satisfy the sweet craving while helping develop healthier sugar habits!

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Make this a priority. Sleep changes everything and is a critical part of slowing the aging process! Many of us try to use the late-night hours to finish our to-do lists or get alone time. I understand completely. But your body needs adequate rest, as this is when cells regenerate and any inflammation in your body drops. If you keep your adrenaline going long after your body wants to rest, you will continue to produce stress hormones instead of allowing your body to wind down.

Start small. Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier for one week, then add another 15 minutes the following week. Make a point of reducing screen time beforehand so your brain can start to produce melatonin, which will help you fall and stay asleep faster. With more sleep, you’ll feel and look more energetic and happier.

  1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

This includes pesticides and industrial solvents such as paints and varnishes. Even household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can overtax your system. When the body tries to process these chemicals from the environment, it can cause chronic inflammation, which wears down your cells. Switching to natural products will immediately relieve your body’s detoxification system and slow aging. This applies everywhere, from gardening and household work to hair and skin care routines.

  1.  Switch Out Facial Products

Ditch the harsh soaps and cleansers for gentler ones. Also, skip any toners that contain alcohol, as these will dry out your skin and increase the appearance of fine lines. Remember to moisturize day and night – applying a moisturizer twice daily keeps your skin supple with a youthful glow.

  1.  Smile Often & Care for Your Teeth

Protect your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly – and see your dentist every six months! Dental visits are essential to remove plaque, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria. Plaque buildup can cause tooth decay and gum disease. With good oral hygiene, you can’t help but flash your beautiful smile. Smiling instantly makes you look younger. 

  1. Embrace a healthy diet & lay OFF the Alcohol.

We can’t forget about nutrition!  An impressive body of research has shown over and over that people who consume a diet mainly consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes—are also less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular illness, and respiratory and neurodegenerative disease.

Lycopene, for example, found in tomatoes and most other red fruits and vegetables protects the skin against UV rays. Some research even shows that it can reduce the impact of sun damage in the future. And Eat More Grapes. Yes, grapes! Sorbitol, which gives grapes, berries, plums, and pears their sweetness, is a humectant that attracts water when applied to the skin, helping it absorb and retain moisture. It’s a natural treatment for dry skin and can be helpful regardless of skin tone. Fueling your body with natural sources of moisture is especially effective when combined with appropriate creams and lotions.

  1.  Load up on these essential Vitamins & supplements.

An impressive amount of research has also shown us that probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, CoQ10, vitamin D, green tea extract, vitamin K, and curcumin are some of the best supplements for longevity. (akashanaturals.com)

Vitamin K, for example, is found in kale and other green vegetables such as spinach, collards, Swiss chard, parsley, lettuce, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin K helps your blood coagulate, reducing the impact of bruising and stretch marks while potentially creating younger-looking skin.

  1. Eat Oily Fish

Wild Alaskan Salmon is an excellent example of an oily fish rich in DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This compound boosts muscle tone and is a common ingredient in expensive creams for mature skin. Eating oily fish twice a week offers the same benefits. Not to mention, oily fish is incredible for brain health! AkashaNaturals.com

  1.  Exercise 4+ Times a Week

You’ll fend off muscle loss and sleep better when you exercise at least four days a week. Combine cardiovascular exercise for the heart and lungs, resistance exercise for muscles, stretching for flexibility, and balance exercise for coordination. Weight training is an incredible option for bone health and will fight against osteoporosis, making you feel strong and confident as you increase muscle tone.

  1. The Magic of H2O – Stay well-hydrated.

The role of water in our lives is like no other!
Water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. It helps convert food into energy, lubricates joints, regulates body temperature, and protects and cushions vital organs.  According to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal eBioMedicine, one of the keys to longevity is staying hydrated. The study showed that without proper hydration, sodium levels increase, which can, in turn, increase the risk of chronic diseases and shorten lifespan.

  1. Take care of your Skin, Your largest organ.

Take care of your skin, especially your face. Getting back to my party, the first thing that my guests commented on was my face. They thought my skin glowed. I don’t do too much, but I will share the three things I do for my skin. Number one is using a micro abrasion tool. At Akasha, we use micro-needling and PRP.   You’re likely going to want to do this probably once a month for the first 2-3 times, depending on the health of your skin –  and then, once it starts to look the way you want it to look, the management should be 2-3 times a year. 

Number two is I wash my face and apply an organic fragrance-free skin moisturizer at bedtime.  And number three, I always wear sunscreen when out in the sun. 

In my Book, BLOATED (bloatedbook.com), I report that the gut microbiome plays a vital role in your health by helping control digestion, strengthening your immune system, and impacting almost every aspect of your health. An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the gut may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and other disorders. The gut breaks down your foods and absorbs nutrients that support your body’s functions. Research has shown us that our gut microbiome can affect every organ in our body.

A healthy gut and digestive system can affect energy levels, motivation, clarity of thought, and intuitive decision-making.

  1. Get rid of Inflammation.

Left unaddressed, chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs and may cause internal scarring, tissue death, and damage to the DNA in previously healthy cells. Ultimately, this can lead to the development of potentially disabling or life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer or Type-2 diabetes.

In addition to eating healthy nutrition, sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night and drinking at least the equivalent of ½ of our body weight in oz of water will reduce inflammation.

For those with a high degree of inflammation, taking Metformin (usually 500 mg a day, if recommended by your healthcare practitioner) can significantly help decrease the amount of inflammation in your body. 

For decades, we’ve known that metformin does more than help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. It also offers them cardiovascular benefits, including lower death rates from cardiovascular disease. Metformin has been referred to as a miracle drug because of some early findings in studies showing that it may prevent cancer and slow down the aging process.

  1. Show KINDNESS and Be of Service to Those in Need.

Being kind and of service to others helps you feel connected to the world around you, which can boost your longevity. Acts of kindness can also boost your confidence, happiness, and optimism. These acts also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they’ve experienced themselves, thus contributing to a more positive community.

  1. Belonging to an Active Community

Most people do not realize how much the health of their community impacts their personal health, including how long they may live. People with strong social support networks have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Social connection has been linked to improved immune system function and decreased levels of inflammation, which is associated with chronic diseases and accelerated aging.

Edison Cartwright de Mello, MD, Ph.D. – is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine (akashacenter.com) and Akasha Naturals (akashanaturals.com). His book, BLOATED – How to Eat Without Pain – Describes Dr Mello’s approach to treating DIS-EASE. His signature approach to every patient he encounters is to “ Meet my patients before I meet their diseases.”. Dr. de Mello passionately believes that helping those in need has significantly contributed to his excellent health, happiness, and longevity.