Aging is the progressive decline over time in physiological functions, including reflexes, vision, hearing, short-term memory and learning, physical strength and endurance, digestion, cardiovascular function and immunity. Two well-supported theories have been proposed to explain the biological cause of aging.
Based on recent scientific findings, a revolutionary theory called free radical theory of aging has been developed to describe the roles of oxidative damages to cells in the process of aging. The theory hypothesizes that oxidative damage by free radicals to genetic materials, proteins, cell membranes, and other cellular machineries is the genesis of aging and its consequences. According to the theory, free radical damage to our cells accumulates but our inborn ability to resist and repair the damage with antioxidants and enzymes declines as we age, resulting in chemical disintegration of our bodies, increased risk of age-related diseases, and eventually death. Therefore, the battle between free radicals and antioxidants in the body is a major factor determining aging rate and life span.
The AGEs theory of aging is another one with solid scientific evidences. Since 1912 chemists have known that in the heat of an oven sugars and amino acids of proteins form tight chemical bonds - a reaction that turns roasted turkey, toast, and coffee to a tasty golden brown. This Maillard chemistry, as it is known in food circles, also occurs in our bodies. Doctors had noticed for years that uncontrolled diabetics seemed to undergo something resembling accelerated aging. Many of the common ailments of aging, such as cataracts, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, lung and joint stiffening, appeared earlier in diabetics. Years ago, Anthony Cerami put those observations on diabetics together with the Maillard chemistry and concluded that aging itself might be partially due to Maillard or browning products accumulating at a slow rate in the body. He noted that the end result of this reaction was a series of unalterable new chemical structures in our tissues, which he called Advanced Glycosylation End-products or AGEs.
You can never escape aging because natures plan builds it into your genes. Your maximal life span is probably determined by your genetic capacities. However, it is estimated that only 30% of aging characteristics are genetically based. Consequently, how a person lives is an important key to longevity.
Your foods can be powerful weapons in your effort to fight aging. By controlling what and how much to eat as well as what not to eat, you can maximize antioxidant and anti-AGEs capacity as well as minimize the levels of free radicals and the formation of AGEs in your body. Consequently, you can slow down the aging rate and live to the full extent of your genetic boundaries.
Aging is inevitable, but how rapidly you age is not. You can start your journey to youth and longevity with the powerful antiaging foods and herbs.