Your daily habits and choices can determine how your future unfolds. The picture of these two people and the way they look may have some relevance to genetics but more likely have a very high probability to do with the choices they made in their everyday living. There has been much confusion over the years with fad diets and different foods to avoid as well as many harmful added ingredients to not only foods and beverages, but also products like make-up, personal care products and cleaners to name a few.
If you’re looking to make changes, here are a few simple and uncomplicated things that you can do to add quality of living to the aging process. And it’s never too late to begin to make changes that will impact your immediate and long term health.

1. Eat clean and Whole Foods
There are now over 10,000 additives (chemicals) approved to be added to foods and drinks in the United States. Some of these are harmful to the body in children and adults and have been known to cause disease or are hormone disruptors linked to developmental, cognitive and other health problems in babies and adults. Read the ingredients on the labels and if the product is processed or has an extended shelf life, you are almost guaranteed it has some of these harmful additives.

Not to mention all the added sugar these prepackaged foods contain. Sugar consumption per person in 1850 was about 5 pounds and in 2020 consumption per person was 175 pounds. This turns people into stagnant toxic bodies that breeds cancer and disease. Be aware of and limit added sugars in foods and drinks.

Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables with no added sugar or sodium for starters. You want to find foods that have simple ingredients and words you can pronounce. Include carbs, proteins and fats in each meal for a balanced diet. Bottom line, read your labels and be informed about what you are putting in your body.

2. Drink more water
The human body contains up to 60% water. The brain and heart compose of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery at 31%. The body needs a lot of water to carry out many essential functions such as balancing the internal temperature and keeping cells alive.

Drinking more water will allow your body to function properly. You can add fruits or essential oils to make water more flavorful. Try to avoid electrolyte drinks containing High amounts of added sugar, unless you are planning on exercising and burning that sugar during your workout. Recommendations for daily water consumption vary but you can drink 8 ounce glasses of water a day or half your body weight in ounces.

3. Exercise
We have often heard and seen as we age we can lose muscle & bone mass which can cause your strength and endurance for activity to change. If your posture becomes more stooped (bent), the hips and knees become more flexed and your movement becomes slower and shorter and walking could become more unsteady. Fluid in the joints may decrease which causes the joints to become stiffer and less flexible. Is all of this normal for aging? It’s normal if you decide to become sedentary and inactive, but if you continue to move and exercise you could possibly dodge the severity of these common aging factors.

Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or even prevent problems with the joints, muscles and bones. A moderate exercise program will help you maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. Movement is the key to preventing some of these common issues associated with aging that has been accepted as normal aging process. It’s when a person sits and becomes inactive on a regular basis that brings about these changes, perhaps even more rapidly.

It has also been shown that moderate exercise is not only good for your body but good for your brain. Exercise has shown to increase the neurons (neurogenesis) in the brain which will help with the prevention of cognitive impairment and memory and will help the brain become more alert. There are many benefits to exercise, so why not get moving!

4. Limit exposure to harmful chemicals
Harmful chemicals found in cosmetics, personal care products such as sunscreen, lotions, deodorant, laundry detergent and cleaners are all highly absorbed through the skin. Many of the chemicals are toxic and disrupt hormones, harm reproductive systems and have been linked to cancer; and because we use products like these on a daily basis, they tend to accumulate over time in our bodies. Just like with food labels you need to read the ingredients on the products that you are using and be aware of what they contain.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help reduce our chemical exposure. Here are a few tips to get started. First, start small and remove products from your routine that calls the most risk. Secondly, Nontoxic Revolution offers a variety of resources to help educate you on ingredients to watch out for and safer product alternatives. There’s also the EWG‘s skin deep database to search thousands of products by category or brand-name and see what these products contain. Lastly, shop local when possible and support those with clean nontoxic products.

Making changes in any or all of these categories can seem overwhelming , but it can be done over time. These choices have a direct effect on your health and well-being as well as those habits you create for yourself and for those around you. If you don’t know where to start or if this process seems overwhelming you can start by reaching out to professionals who understand the industry and who help people simplify daily changes that lead them to successful healthy habits. Reach out to a nutrition or health coach or personal trainer who can walk you through steps to get started and stay healthy for life.