While the average lifespan in the US is currently pretty high, 72 years, our health span has declined rather significantly. Health span refers to the span of a person’s life when they are healthy, relatively pain-free, and enjoying a good quality of life. This statistic tells us that even though we’re living longer, we’re not necessarily living better. A major contributor to this is cellular damage in the body.
I feel fortunate to have a very healthy, fitness-driven 19 year old daughter, however, I’ve seen the voracious behavior of her generation with vaping and fast food that has seemingly engulfed their daily lifestyles. Let’s set aside the recent statistics of fatality that fentanyl has interjected on the tragic statistics of these young adults, and take a look at the substantial problem that we have on our hands. I recently discovered that it takes 2 weeks to 3 months for your lungs to start to recover from even light to moderate vaping. Your lungs are fortunately self cleaning, but it may take a full year to start to feel the symptoms of coughing or shortness of breath to decrease. While there’s no way to reverse scarring or lung damage that years of smoking or vaping can cause, quitting can most certainly prevent further damage and begin the process of improving your lung health. Now, diet with these youngsters? Where do I even start??
Cellular damage, that is seen often with smoking or vaping, can accelerate the aging process, specifically when it occurs in the mitochondria, the energy center of our cells. This cell damage is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, as the disease process often begins at the cellular level. But not to worry - with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can preserve your healthy cells and rid your body of the damaged ones at the same time.
While it’s impossible to avoid every toxin out there, you can minimize the impact in order to maintain as many healthy, youthful cells as possible. Cell damage is caused by an accumulation of unwanted scavengers called free radicals in the body. These unstable molecules are found throughout our environment. A certain level of exposure to them is not necessarily worrisome, but the concern is when there is overexposure.
Over time, these free radicals lead to oxidative stress and instability in the cell, which increases the susceptibility to disease.
The most common triggers for cell damage are our lifestyle habits and environment:
Cigarettes or Tobacco - If you are an active smoker or are exposed to secondhand smoke, this can directly damage your cells. Consider quitting to protect your cells, and try to limit your secondhand exposure as much as possible.
Alcohol - Too much alcohol in the body produces ethanol, which can directly cause damage to cells. If you currently drink alcohol, it is best to limit your intake to 1 drink per day. If you don’t currently drink, it’s not advised to start.
Diet - A diet high in fat, sugar, and processed foods is linked to free radical production in the body.
Pollution - Excess exposure to air pollutants such as nitric oxide, gas emissions, and the ozone layer are additional contributors to cellular damage.
Pesticides and Chemicals - Exposure to pesticides and chemicals that are present in water, air, dust, and food can contribute to cellular damage.
Even though we may feel like these harmful toxins are all around us, there is good news - cellular damage can be reversed with the right foods and supplements for healthy cells.
Here are 4 key habits to keep your cells healthy and thriving:
Exercise regularly - Regular exercise is paramount to increasing longevity and the number of healthy cells in the body. Research has shown cardio exercise in particular increases telomere length, which are strings of DNA sequences in the body. Longer telomeres are associated with delayed aging and improved cellular health.
Prioritize sleep - Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to cellular damage and premature aging. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine, so you clear your head and fall asleep easier.
Manage stress - Not only is chronic stress utterly exhausting, but it also causes chronic internal stress in your body. We can’t avoid all stress, but learning how to manage it better can protect our cells from its damaging effects.
Eat a nutritious diet - Eating a balanced diet is important, but focusing on foods rich in plant compounds called polyphenols and antioxidants will provide the biggest benefits for cellular health.
If these corrective actions still don’t prove to be noticeably beneficial, come in and try our newest treatment for cellular repair! We offer IV Exosome Therapy that helps manage degenerative conditions, tissue repair, inflammation, and supports anti-aging because it specifically targets aging, injured, or diseased cells, instructing them to regenerate and repair.
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