The power of ageing gracefully
Our culture is weighted toward youth in the West, with ageing seen as something to 'fight'. It's a great shame that we've lost the notion of stewardship and wisdom that our elders can offer but instead focus on unrealistic expectations of eternal youth.
The term itself 'anti-ageing' comes with its obvious negative connotations. Ageing is not something we should be against. Not to mention, it's impossible not to age. The process of growing older is inevitable, in fact, necessary. Beauty only exists because it is finite.
New terms such as 'pro ageing' are a welcomed reframing of life's natural process.
Such terms touch upon a broader understanding. Anti-ageing is about hiding and getting rid of any signs of ageing - pro-ageing is about embracing these signs while offering a more holistic approach to maintaining your body as you move through time.
Our food and soil
Research has shown that our food is nowhere near as good as 50 years ago. Looking at nutritional data from 1950 and 1999 in 43 different vegetables and fruits found "reliable declines" in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C. Average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.
It's estimated that some vegetables have lost 57 percent of their zinc - an essential element for the immune system, male fertility and collagen production for your skin. And, you can't simply supplement your way out of this, as we've discussed in a previous article.
One study concluded that you would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin C as our grandparents would have gotten from one.
Healthy soil = nutrient dense food = healthy people.
And though we have no control over our chronological age, we have a lot of control over our biological age. Just because we age doesn't mean we have to grow old in mind, body and spirit.
Soil also has stored in it 65% of our planet's freshwater. Rich soils ensure adequate levels of groundwater and are also integral to the health of tropical river systems. Ensuring healthy soil also prevents the dangerous cycles of floods and drought that afflict so many regions in the world.
The best way to ensure longevity is prevention. It's much easier to maintain than repair. So what are the core tenants of having your skin age gracefully?
A whole food, predominantly plant-based diet full of antioxidants.
Clean organic skincare that works from the inside to support your body's natural regenerative processes.
To maintain your skin's vitality as you age comes back to what we always advocate, simplicity. You want to use skincare that supports your organic process of the skin, working with your body instead of against it for long term skin health rather than short term results that come at a long term cost.
"Pro-aging is about making small adjustments, restructuring habits as we age, and slow and steady increments that add up over the long term," says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Your basic and essential pro-aging regimen is very easy: clean, protect, and hydrate."
Supporting these fundamental processes is what leads to your skin having a healthy appearance.
The ever-growing field of anti-ageing bio-hacks is estimated to gross 67 billion this year alone. But remember, all the treatments and technology aimed at slowing down ageing won't amount to much if you don't have meaningful relationships and an optimistic view of the future. Nothing degrades your body and life energies like the stress of conflict, pessimism and negativity.
Ultimately, life is much bigger than we can ever grasp. In my experience, surrendering to its processes with curiosity and love leads to more fulfilment, joy and life-affirming energies.
Caring for your body is in itself showing reverence for life and nothing keeps you young and glowing like curiosity and a love for life.