We go about our lives, solidly in the mindset that with every passing day, we get a little older and a little less able. But is that always true? Did biology give us the short straw? Is rejuvenation possible?
It turns out that that rejuvenation isn’t some far off technology that people will use in our Star Trek future hundreds of years from now – it is something baked into our biology from time immemorial.
Our bodies have two circuits: one for survival and one for reproduction. Ever since the first organisms evolved on Earth, biology has thrived using these two primary “modes” of operation. In the survival mode, organisms hunker down, do housekeeping within the cells, and ensure that they read the DNA correctly using a bunch of clever enzymes. Thus, if you want to live a long and healthy life, this is the mode you want to spend the majority of your time in.
At other times, energy is abundant in the environment, and organisms go into reproduction mode. They take advantage of the current surplus of food and use it to make copies of themselves. Their bodies dedicate less energy to cellular repair and more to dividing and multiplying.
For humans, there’s a problem, though. Thanks to superstores and fast food, we rarely experience periods of biological hardship, such as hunger, cold, or extreme physical exertion. Our bodies stay in the reproduction mode longer, and we dedicate less energy to cellular maintenance and repair.
While this might not matter over short time horizons, over months and years, it can come back to bite us. We go so long without our cells working to repair themselves that we start aging faster and developing chronic diseases. Being in reproduction mode is okay while you’re young, but deadly when you get older.
The good news, though, is that there are loads of ways to put your body into “rejuvenation” mode. All you have to do is send it signals that it needs to hunker down and repair, ready for the next reproduction opportunity.
So what do you need to do to activate your survival circuits?
Start Eating More Greens
The reason greens are so healthy isn’t so much that they pack a lot of nutrients: it’s that they send signals to your body that times are tough, and it should hunger down and repair. Historically, people would have only eaten greens in times of desperation. Most greens were revolting before farming, meaning that they were food you eat during famine.
Some researchers now believe that it is this that stands behind their many health benefits. They tell the body on a chemical level that you’re enduring hardship and that they should divert more energy to repair. What’s more, the evidence suggests a dose-response relationship. In other words, the more you eat, the greater the effects. Those gunning for longevity should try to get around 250 grams per day of the stuff.
Stop Eating Western Junk Food
Does metabolic renewal work? The answer is “yes,” but only if you stop eating Western, processed industrial food. Modern food is now so far removed from its ancient counterparts that it hardly qualifies as food at all. Industrial food makers extract practically all the nutrients from their products, leaving the body with very little to nourish it.
What’s more, these foods tend to be exceptionally calorie-dense, telling the body that energy is abundant and that the time is right to go forth and multiply. The combination of sugar, fat, and protein is a triple-whammy that completely shuts down repair and maintenance, leaving the body unprotected.
If you eat crisps, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, processed meats, candy, or ready meals, then stop. These foods prevent your body from becoming healthy.
Eat In A Restricted Window
Researchers are increasingly coming to the view that it’s not what you eat. Rather when you eat it that matters the most. Investigators now think that people who move the bulk of their calories towards the start of the day and limit their food intake to 10 hours will have the best health.
Why? Again, it all comes down to activating survival circuits. When you go without food for fourteen hours, you cause the body stress. This healthy stress. This in turn, switches on genes that send out enzymes to repair structures in the body. Thus making a person healthier over time.
You don’t need to fast for very long, either, to experience the benefits. Going without food for twelve hours overnight is usually sufficient.
There you have it, follow just a few of these tips and rejuvenation may not be as impossible to achieve as you may think!
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