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5 signs your body is ageing prematurely

Ageing itself is not a disease. It’s confidence, wisdom and sophisticated beauty. However, making sure you can enjoy your mature years to a full extent takes effort. Biological ageing starts way beyond the surface of your skin, at the cellular level.

Skin wrinkling, lack of energy or changes in your metabolism are just the telltale signs that your cells have gotten tired and are unable to perform their functions like they used to. Find out about the 5 signs of premature ageing and what they might be telling you on a cellular level.

1. Your skin tone has become dull and uneven

Premature ageing shows up on your skin as hyper pigmentation, sunspots, and dullness. One of the main causes of these unwanted symptoms is oxidative stress.Imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, lead to cell and tissue damage. Free radicals attack cells every day, through UV exposure, pollution and lifestyle choices.

While we are unable to avoid the harmful environmental effects completely, managing oxidative stress is important as it has been linked to faster ageing and certain illnesses such as heart and liver diseases.

What can you do?

Avoiding prolonged sun exposure, polluted environments and over processed foods is a good start. In addition to reducing the effect of external factors, you can also help your body fight oxidative stress by supplementing your diet with antioxidant-rich foods such as brightly coloured fruits, dark green vegetables, various whole grains and turmeric – an active ingredient that triggers the production of antioxidants in your body – to your recipes.

2. You are noticing more wrinkles

Seeing wrinkles, fine lines and overall loss of elasticity in your skin might signify that your cells are losing the fight against the biochemical process of glycation. Glycation causes simple sugars to bond to a protein or lipid molecule, resulting in adhesive aggregates that damage cells. The end products of the glycation process are formed with collagen and elastin causing these fibers, which are integral to a supple and youthful appearance, to become stiff, inflexible, and likely to break.

What can you do?

Glycation starts with sugars, so limiting foods that cause rapid, sharp spikes in blood sugar can reduce the negative effects significantly. Taking supplements that help control blood glucose levels and maintain normal protein and glycogen metabolism can also slow down the speed at which these unwanted effects show up on your skin.

3. You feel tired all the time

Physical and mental tiredness and loss of motivation may signify more than just lack of sleep: feeling fatigued can be the sign of chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process that provides cell protection and promotes healing when infection or injury occurs. However, over the years, as some cells in the human body naturally die and some simply stop growing and dividing, their “programmed-death” – apoptosis – does not occur. These redundant cells then accumulate and cause unwanted inflammatory processes. Unlike acute inflammation, the chronic inflammation involved in ageing is not easily detectable and usually shows up in your body as more subtle signals, such as lack of energy and motivation.

What can you do?

One of the best ways to combat age-accelerating inflammation is by supplementing your diet with plenty of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, spinach and blueberries as well as fermented foods, rich in probiotics. Taking certain supplements such as fish oil and turmeric can also help you keep inflammation in check.

4. You find it harder to fight stress

Several studies have shown that stress is closely linked to premature ageing. While the negative effects of stress may show up as headaches, insomnia or inability to focus, feeling stressed can also mean your body is suffering on a deeper level. Stress has a major effect on telomere length which is a reliable marker of your biological age.

Telomeres are structures found at the ends of our chromosomes. Their function is to protect genetic information during cell division. As we age, telomere ends shorten and though we may not feel it happening, stress can speed up this unwanted process significantly, increasing the risk of heart and other diseases.

What can you do?

There are ways to slow down telomere shortening and even lengthen them by taking up certain habits. Reducing environmental stress is an obvious one: by increasing the time you spend in relaxing environments such as nature and finding time for meditation or just moments of quiet can help you turn back the telomere-shortening clock.

When it comes to what you ingest, telomere shortening can be slowed down by taking cell function-supporting supplements, such as phosphorus, vitamin D and zinc.

5. You get sick more often

Susceptibility to infectious diseases is the primary symptom of a weak immune system. The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that defend your body against external factors and harmful processes, such as bacteria, viruses, toxins and cancer cells. As we age, the immune system weakens making it harder for the body to respond well to vaccines and recover from infections, illnesses and injuries.

What can you do?

The wellbeing of your immune system is a complex issue that requires a complex solution. You can support your body’s immune response by getting at least 7 hours of sleep, supplementing your diet with vitamin and mineral-rich foods and staying physically active.

Taking Vitamin D and such herbal extracts as Ginseng and Elderberry is also known to boost the body’s natural defence against disease-causing microorganisms.

Ageing is not a disease and that’s why it doesn’t need a “cure”. However, with the right tools, you can slow down the negative effects and feel that age is in fact, just a number.