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6 health tips to help defy your age

Wednesday - 1/15/2014, 8:52am  ET

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Antioxidant-rich foods and strength training are both two things that can help you look and feel young. (Thinkstock)

Lisa Reed
WTOP Contributor

WASHINGTON - Expensive eye creams and serums are not the only hope for defying your true age. There are several measures of prevention one can take to make your body look and feel as young as possible.

Lisa Reed, an Arlington, Va.-based certified personal trainer and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, says several health and lifestyle habits have a huge impact on reversing the effects of aging. Here are Reed's six tips to defy your age:

  1. Consume an abundance of anti-aging antioxidants: Everyday, our body's cells are constantly threatened by free radicals. These chemicals are inevitable: they are a byproduct from the reaction that takes place when the body turns food into energy, according to The Harvard School of Public Health. Other free radicals enter our bodies from the outside environment. Damage caused by free radicals can result in structural change to the DNA and even structural change to the cell, itself, The Harvard School of Public Health reports.

    Antioxidants are the body's defenders against free radicals. Common types include vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, among many others. And these antioxidants are available in many fresh fruits and vegetables, such as berries, sweet potatoes, broccoli and more. Stock up on these foods to keep your body full of reserves against life's damaging effects to your cells.

  2. Strength train. Exercise is an anti-aging miracle: Weight training is truly the answer to the fountain of youth. Building muscle helps burn fat faster and achieves a toned body that makes you look and feel younger. Best of all, exercise reduces stress, improves your posture and adds a healthy glow to your skin.

  3. Get full on fiber: By adding fiber to your diet, you can consume significantly fewer calories every day. In addition to helping you maintain an ideal weight, fiber can also fight chronic diseases associated with aging. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, as published in The Huffington Post, fiber is key to keeping cholesterol and blood sugar in check, while also kicking your digestive system into high gear, allowing your body to get rid of toxins more efficiently and reducing your body's appetite.

  4. Stay hydrated: Water helps to keep your skin moisturized and firm. Plus, it helps prevent sore muscles and keeps your mind sharp throughout the day. Not drinking enough water can cause your muscles to ache and can make wrinkles more noticeable.

  5. Cut back sugar, increase protein: One of the best ways to maximize your energy is to cut down on the sugar. According to Dr. Oz, sugar causes inflammation in the body and completely depletes your energy. (Think of how you feel after you eat a piece of office birthday cake at 3 p.m. Everything is fine for a few minutes, and suddenly, you want to take a nap on your keyboard.)

    Natural sugars found in fruits are OK, but avoid processed sugars, often found in high-fat foods.

    When you get the sugar urge, replace the doughnut craving with a protein. Adding lean protein (eggs, chicken breast, tuna, fish and tofu) to your snacks and meals revs up the body's metabolism, increasing the amount of lean muscle and the amount of calories your body can burn.

  6. Have a positive attitude: Maintaining a positive outlook on life is one of the best ways to remain young. Having this positive attitude means being happy with yourself now, not when you lose 10 pounds. It's time to shift yourself away from picking out your flaws, and start thinking about what you like about yourself. Increasing your self-esteem will instantly decrease your age.

Editor's Note: Lisa Reed, MS, CSCS, is a USA Fitness Champion, IFBB Pro, personal trainer, educator, motivator and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, LLC, where she leads a team of in-home personal trainers in the Washington, D.C. area. Lisa and her team design online fitness and nutrition programs for clients around the world. She has trained hundreds of elite and professional athletes, including Monica Seles. She was the first female strength coach at the United States Naval Academy, and trained top athletes as a strength coach at the University of Florida. For more information on Lisa, visit her Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel and Instagram account.

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