Getting older comes with a list of things we need to pay more attention to, but we promise, it’s not all doom and gloom. As it turns out, there are some self-care practices that will have you aging in reverse — and feeling great! Check them out below.
Sunshine For Bone Health
Time in the sun builds muscle.
Women over 40 risk losing five pounds of muscle and 10 percent of strength per decade. Fortunately, spending 20 minutes a day outside (without sunscreen) can cut your risk in half, suggests research in the journal Clinical Endocrinology. That’s because skin exposed to UV light produces vitamin D3, which kick-starts the formation of healthy muscle tissue.
A daily tipple keeps bones strong.
Sipping six ounces of red or white wine daily can put the brakes on bone thinning in 24 hours, plus slash the risk of osteoarthritis by 45 percent, say researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Credit wine’s phenolic compounds — powerful antioxidants that mimic bone-and cartilage-strengthening estrogen when they latch on to tissues.
Side sleeping preserves memory.
Sleeping eight hours nightly — ideally, on your side — improves focus in 72 hours, plus blocks the buildup of Alzheimer’s plaques, reducing the risk of cognitive decline by 44 percent, say researchers in The Journal of Neuroscience. During sleep, a waste-clearing system in your brain (the glymphatic system) is active, and glymphatic vessels are most open during side sleeping, says study coauthor Helene Benveniste, MD.
Tip: Place a pillow behind your back (or sew a tennis ball into the back of your nightie) to prevent rolling.
Breathing For Digestion
A pre-meal ritual can melt a menopot.
Abdominal weight gain hits half of us after age 50, when mitochondria — the cellular furnaces that convert food into energy — become sluggish. To outsmart the added pounds, take two minutes before meals to breathe slowly and deeply, letting your belly expand and contract. Harvard scientists say deep belly breathing cuts stress hormone release by 33 percent, allowing mitochondria to convert 18 percent more food into energy.
Lutein For Eyes
A lutein-rich diet protects the eyes.
A lutein-rich diet reduces the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration (the most common causes of vision loss after age 50) by up to 43 percent, suggests a British review of 19 clinical trials. How? Lutein’s yellowish pigment keeps the capillaries that nourish your eyes healthy and plaque-free. To get the perks, enjoy one to two eggs a day or one cup of lutein-rich leafy greens, broccoli, or corn. Supplementing with six milligrams daily can also pump up your protection.
Caffeine For Hair Growth
Outsmart thinning hair with caffeine.
DHT, a form of testosterone, builds up on your scalp after menopause, damaging hair follicles. Daily scrubbing helps, but for better results, try a shampoo with caffeine and niacin, like this one from NutraStim ($15.45, Amazon). Italian scientists say the duo inhibits DHT formation, increasing hair growth by as much as 10 percent and producing thicker locks for up to 57 percent of women.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.