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5 ways you can actually slow the aging process

There’s no magic pill that can reverse aging, but there are lifestyle changes you can make now—no matter what your age—to keep you feeling young for years to come.

Every human is made to grow and age—that’s just a fact. But how we age depends on a number of factors, and there are ways you *can* slow down the process down, says Robin Berzin, MD, CEO of the functional medicine practice Parsley Health. Here, the Well+Good Council member shares her medically backed advice for aging optimally. Follow it today and your future self will thank you.

Aging isn’t just skin-deep: It’s happening in your cells, tissues, and organs. So while you may be concerned about a wrinkle here or a fine line there, aging, which starts at around age 26, is actually much more complicated.

The process of biological aging is not the result of any one thing.

The process of biological aging is not the result of any one thing, but rather the accumulation of several things, many of them still being studied by scientists. Some theories with the most scientific evidence behind them include the roles of oxidative stress from free radicals, the process of glycation (sugar molecules bonding to proteins in your blood), telomere shortening, and the effect of inflammation.

Your best defense is working to modulate as many of these factors as you can, and it’s not as difficult as you might think to get measurable results.

For instance, one study had one group of participants adopt a plant-based diet, perform moderate exercise, and do stress-reducing activities such as yoga and meditation. The other group did not make any lifestyle changes. The scientists measured the length of telomeres—protective caps on the ends of chromosomes—in both groups’ white blood cells at the beginning of the study and five years later. The group that adopted the healthy lifestyle changes had an average increased telomere length of 10 percent, while the control group’s telomeres shortened by an average of 3 percent.

Why might this be significant? An abundance of research has shown that shorter telomeres are associated with diseases like cancer and decreased lifespan. It’s still unclear exactly how the healthy changes were able to alter telomere length, but the research showed that the more positive changes that were made, the greater the increase in telomere length.

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