The new documentary on BBC One called ‘How to Stay Young’ is certainly worth a watch. It sees journalist and reporter Angela Rippon - who looks fantastic for 72 - and her colleague Dr Chris Van Tulleken travel the world to investigate the latest experiments and research that could help put the brakes on the ageing process.
After just watching two episodes there seems to be a common cure for both mental ageing and physical ageing. You’ve guessed it – healthy eating and exercise!
But Rippon and Tulleken aren’t here to preach about jogging 5 times a week and eating your greens. They’ve been looking into some amazing questions about the human body, including: Why do the residents of Loma Linda, 60 miles from LA, live up to 10 years longer than the average Californian? How can purple food make you live to 100 years old? And how can you measure your biological age (not your actual age)?
It turns out that veganism is in fact the healthiest diet around, reducing the risk of cancer, strokes and heart attacks. Dancing is the best form of exercise, considerably better than going to the gym. Taking your dog for a walk can also help release chemicals which develop new brain cells and make you smarter!
The thing that struck me the most from watching this documentary, however, was the effect of stress on mortality. Tulleken, despite living a moderately healthy lifestyle, was shocked to discover that his “DNA methylation age” was five years older than his biological age – ouch! The doctor put this down to stress, and warned that if he continued this way he was at risk of dementia later on down the line.
Admittedly, whilst watching this fascinating documentary, you do find yourself mentally totting up how many years you could add to your life by dropping this, taking up that, doing more of this. But one positive thing we can all take from this is: it’s not too late!
Research suggests that a positive attitude to our age, an active and varied lifestyle, and plenty of social interaction with close friends and family can add years to your life expectancy.
So, grab a handful of nuts, get into the outdoors for a brisk walk, and make some memories with those you love. That doesn’t sound too bad now does it?
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