Anti-aging science has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years. We now have a much deeper understanding of the factors that accelerate the aging process and how to fight them. One of the main culprits that hastens aging at the cellular level is inflammation – so much that this process has earned the moniker inflammaging. The science is clear: combatting inflammation is key to successful long-term health. Certain foods, herbs, and even activities are naturally anti-inflammatory. Incorporating these on a regular basis can shave years off your biological age and increase your health span. Here are three powerful steps to defeat inflammaging.
Notice how you feel achy after sitting for long periods? Being sedentary promotes inflammation. Physical activity generates some inflammation in the short term, but the body responds to this by mobilizing a healthy anti-inflammatory response. Overall regular exercise combats inflammation and the aging process.
Optimal intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) is fundamental for a balanced inflammatory response. Research shows getting enough omega-3 helps turn back the clock at a cellular level, but this can be tricky through diet alone.[i] Salmon, sardines, and other deep, cold-water fish are an excellent source of omega-3s, but even wild-caught fish contain environmental toxins, making daily consumption problematic. A high-quality fish oil supplement is free of the contaminants normally found in fish, providing a reliable and safe source of omega-3 EFAs.
One of Nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories is found in the herb turmeric. Curcumin is the active ingredient that also has free radical fighting actions, an added bonus for aging well. While enjoying curry or turmeric lattes can be part of a healthy diet, to make the most of curcumin’s pain-relieving qualities, look for an enhanced absorption supplement. Be aware there are big differences between curcumin products on the market that aren’t evident from label information. Shopping at a store where staff are knowledgeable will help guide you in choosing the right product for you.
For the time being aging is still inevitable, but the rate at which we age is not. We can definitely slow aging. Minimizing inflammation is key to that process.
Kate Rhéaume, ND is a graduate and former faculty member of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is the author of the best-selling book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How A little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life (HarperCollins).