How is 2022 shaping up for you so far? I’ve started the new year making a few simple tweaks to my age-well routines, based as always, on the research we’re reading. This is what’s getting me through January:
EATING ALLLLLLL THE HERBS
Herbs have always been part of our Age-Well Project, but I’m using more than ever now. A new study looked at the bio-active compounds, polyphenols, found in herbs in the mint family, lamiaceae. This includes not just mint, but a whole range of other herbs: basil, sage, oregano, marjoram, lemon balm, lavender, rosemary and, interestingly, chia seeds.
The Spanish researchers investigated the impact of active ingredients in the mint family on the build-up of amyloid beta (the toxic protein which clumps together in the brain and is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease). They found that, in a test tube at least, compounds from these herbs reduced build-up of amyloid beta by up to 90%. When the same process was applied to olive oil (another Age-Well staple) amyloid build up was reduced by 100%. Of course, they were just looking at cells in a dish, not real humans. But it’s a reminder that compounds which protect plants from disease have a powerful impact on human cells too.
I eat a tablespoon of soaked chia seeds almost every day in my Age-Well breakfast pot (recipe in The Age-Well Plan) I’m drinking more tulsi tea, a refreshing herbal infusion made from holy basil, and cooking some of our favourite herby recipes from the archives:
WALKING IN THE RAIN
Getting morning light within an hour of waking, and/or dawn, is a key part of our Age-Well routine: it kick starts those circadian rhythms which help us get to sleep when nighttime rolls around. These dark January mornings I’m having to wait for it to get light before I can head out, but the days are slowly getting longer. In the past I’ve been a fair-weather walker/runner but Annabel’s new book, 52 Ways To Walk, has a chapter on walking in the rain and it’s inspired me to get out in all weathers. Feeling the rain on our faces connects us to nature and awakens our sense of smell. The scents released by rain-splattered trees, plants and even concrete are calming and uplifting. And rain drops scrub the air of pollution, a big issue in London at the moment. Annabel’s book is published in February and she’ll be sharing a few of her walking insights over the coming weeks.
TOPPING UP MY VITAMIN D
I might be getting outside every day but there’s little chance I’m generating much Vitamin D. This fat-soluble hormone has been linked to lower levels of inflammation and reduced risk of chronic inflammatory diseases as well, of course, as better recovery from Covid. Research published just last week, looking at the UK Biobank study of almost 300,000 Brits, linked higher levels of vitamin D in the blood with lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
I take my Vit D supplement (I like a spray) when I’m eating some good fats (like avocado, nuts, eggs, or oily fish) to ensure maximum absorption. There’s more on keeping your heart healthy here
We’re always on the look-out for new practices to help us age well. Recently, my interest has been piqued by grounding (also known as earthing). It’s a therapeutic technique which electrically reconnects us to the Earth. The theory is that we’re full of electricity so contact with the Earth’s natural electric charge has a positive impact on health, reduces inflammation, helps with muscle soreness, improves blood flow and sleep. A small number of research papers have backed this up. It can be achieved by walking on earth, or a beach or in the sea with bare feet. Chilly in the UK at the moment, more accessible if you’re in Australia or New Zealand. I’ve tried walking around my small patch lawn in bare feet and while it’s not quite as cold as I imagined, I’ve definitely had pleasanter experiences in the pursuit of ageing well! Grounding mats are available – has anyone tried them? Let me know in the comments if you’re a fan.
I know it sounds a bit ‘woo woo’, compared to eating the right foods and getting plenty of exercise to increase longevity. But I’m keen to explore practices outside these parameters and will report back!
YOUR AGE-WELL RE-BOOT – FREE WEBINAR
Join me for a free webinar – Your Age-Well Re-boot: better nutrition for healthy longevity on:
I’ve been trawling through the latest research into ageing well to bring you a few super-simple tweaks to your daily routine. The kind of easy hacks I’m using in my own life to make me feel confident I’m doing the best for my health. It will be very informal: I’ll chat you through the latest scientific papers which have caught my eye and the changes I’ve made.
I’ll have a few giveaways and goodies up my sleeve too! If you can’t make this date and time, I’ll record it and send you a link. So do grab a ticket anyway and you’ll get the link within 24 hours.
This event will run early in the morning UK time which means evening if you’re in Australia or NZ. I know lots of you are from that part of the world and can’t always make our events. So I hope this timing works for you.
AND JOIN ME LIVE, IN PERSON, AT THE LEWES SPEAKERS FESTIVAL! Sunday Jan 23rd 9.50am
I’ll be talking all things Age Well and would love to see you there. Tickets available here