We all have one thing in common: we aren’t getting any younger. However, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you age better, both inside and out. We spoke with Dr. Jennifer Cornell, a naturopathic doctor who splits her time between seeing patients at KOI Wellbeing in La Jolla and teaching at Bastyr University California, about how to age gracefully. Good news: It’s easier than you think.
1. Eat lots of different vegetables.
Everyone knows that eating healthily is an important part of living well. No matter what type of diet you are eating, including a variety of colorful vegetables gives you the vitamins, minerals and other valuable nutrients that your body needs to maintain vibrancy. As we get older, nutrient absorption slows down. To ensure you are getting absorbing the nutrients you need, you want to maintain a healthy gut. Visceral manipulation can support proper gut health by removing restrictions and supporting the natural movement of the organs. Supplementation, nutrient injections and nutrient IVs are also an option. Tests that assess your gut health, including your gut’s microbiome or bacteria content, are a great way to take control of your overall health. Remember, the state of your microbiome not only affects how and if you absorp nutrients, but it can also influence food cravings.
2. Stay hydrated.
Sweat, replenish, repeat. Water makes up about 50-60% of the human body. To keep things flowing, joints gliding and elasticity in the muscles, tendons and skin, it is essential to drink plenty of water each day. An average water intake should equal half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water. For example, a 140lb person would aim for at least 70oz of water daily. If you workout, sweat a lot, drink coffee or alcohol, your water intake should increase. Coconut water contains good electrolytes and can be replenishing if you’re feeling dehydrated. I’ve also had patients who have reported great success after getting IV treatments for hydration.
3. Move your body every day.
Exercise can be a tedious necessity for some, but there are many ways to make movement fun. Swimming, biking, water aerobics, joining a dance class or just dancing in your living room! Movement is so important for the body as we get older. We are meant to move, not sit all day long. When you are exercising regularly, be mindful of rest time because your body also needs time to recover. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are two of my favorite ways to keep moving and strengthening the body for longevity. Consider craniosacral therapy to keep the body free from restrictions.
4. Take care of your skin.
Part of aging gracefully is taking very good care of the organ we show to the world — our skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and requires attention as we age. For some, maintaining a healthy internal environment is enough to keep skin glowing, but many of us could use some support. Protecting the skin from damaging UV rays is an important step, whether you are using protective coverings like hats or scarves, or using sunscreen and products that contain UV protection (or both!). For the face, microneedling combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that uses the body’s own plasma to stimulate growth factors and new collagen production to reduce fine lines and give your skin a healthy glow.
5. Get good quality sleep.
For some, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. During sleep, your body is able to slow down the processes needed while you are awake and focus on repairing and healing the body. Quality sleep improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your immune system. If your stress levels are high or if you struggle with anxiety, this can impact not only how much you get, but also the quality of your sleep. Turning off screens at least an hour before bed and making sure you are sleeping in a cool, dark room can promote healthy shut-eye. For additional support, neurotransmitter and hormone testing are great options to ensure that your body is balanced throughout the day and therefore promote a healthy night’s sleep. As hormone levels drop with age, supporting the body with supplementation and/or bio-identical hormones can be beneficial without causing harm.
About Dr. Jennifer Cornell
Dr. Cornell practices family medicine, including women’s health, pediatric and adolescent medicine. She believes in working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself and seeks to address the root cause of illness and injury. She uses a natural medicine approach that combines Eastern and Western philosophies, and evidence-based medicine using diet and lifestyle, botanicals, nutrients, homeopathy and physical medicine, including craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation. Dr. Cornell helps patients address a wide variety of conditions, such as allergies, asthma, skin conditions, fatigue and unintended weight gain, chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, diseases of the kidney and liver, and endocrine disorders including thyroid and adrenal function.