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Healthy lifestyle promotes long life

ALTHOUGH there is no fountain of youth, many people are attracted to anti-aging medicine that claims to help delay aging and its signs.

All experts say healthy living, regular exercise and eating right are essential to a long and healthy life.

Fundamentally, aging is due to the gradual reduction of cells' regenerative capabilities, according to Dr Li Shu, chairman of WA Regenerative Medicine, a British clinic working in the field for many years.

"Aging involves both the absolute diminishing of regeneration, such as lower stem cell production, and the beginning of errors in the duplication of DNA," says Dr Li.

"Some believe aging is a result of wear and tear, while others hold to the theory of oxidation," he adds. It's probably a combination of factors, and can be influenced by genetics and hastened or retarded by lifestyle.

We all know the numerous biomarkers, including lower energy, reduced muscle mass, increased fat and weight gain, slower reactions, balance problems, deterioration of vision and hearing, loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles, cognition and memory problems.

The chronic diseases of aging include heart disease, diabetes, cancer and for some people Alzheimer's.

"Many Chinese today have realized the importance of quality of life," says Dr Li. "They are willing to spend a lot of money to improve their lifespan if their financial condition permits."

Some choose to travel to the United States or Europe for costly treatments, such as injections of fetal stem cells.

Fetal stem cell therapy is a biomedical treatment that is said to delay aging by improving organ function, and it has few side-effects, according to Dr Edouard Baertschi, of Clinique Paul Niehans in Switzerland.

Actually, many negative aspects of aging can be delayed or reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle with appropriate nutrition, regular exercise and stress management, says Dr Li.

Regular exercise, ideally every day, keeps the metabolism in tune, burns fat, boosts energy, helps cognition and has numerous benefits in preventing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains are recommended. Aim for foods that are high in nutrition and low in glycemic load (a ranking system for carbohydrate content in food portions). These include anti-oxidant foods like tomatoes, grape, green tea, nuts, blueberries, oats and whole grains, broccoli, spinach, garlic and salmon.


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