Sonja Morgan, cast member of Bravo reality series The Real Housewives of New York City, has always considered herself relatively healthy. She takes care of herself, does yoga and eats well. But at age 47, she saw the signs of age creeping up: Dry skin, cravings for salty snacks, irritability and that impossible-to-lose bulge around the midsection. Should she just chalk it up to getting older, Morgan wondered, or pay closer attention to her body's built-in warning signs?
Whether cosmetic or emblematic of a deeper health issue, signs of premature aging of the skin, hair, brain or body may add decades to your chronological age. ForbesWoman spoke to dietitians, neurologists and dermatologists to find out how to decipher the danger signs and their best tricks to turn back the clock.
Store Up Calcium Early To Ward Off Bone Loss
Before you feel those middle-age morning aches and pains, store up on calcium while you're young. Dietician Elizabeth Somer says we build up the lion's share of our bone density by our mid-30s. Some perfect calcium-rich foods that will keep you fit include low-fat Greek yogurt and soy milk.
Eat Spinach And Mangoes To Reverse Sun Damage
Sun damage is one of the most common premature agers: deepening wrinkles and diminishing skin's elasticity. Dermatologist Audrey Kunin cautions against dismissing skin issues as "just" age, warning that skin cancers can develop as early as one's 20s and 30s. Fruits like watermelon and mangoes and veggies like spinach and sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A and help repair skin cells.
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Supplements May Reduce The Likelihood Of Dementia
Interrupted sleep cycles, fatigue and memory loss are the first signs of "brain shrinkage," says Eric Braverman, a neurologist and the author of Younger (Sexier) You. A recent study found that taking Omega-3 DHA supplements takes three years off the brain, improving memory and learning skills, and may also help ward off Alzheimer's and dementia. Additionally, doing puzzles, learning new subjects and keeping socially active will stimulate brain health.
Glycolic Acid And Retinol Can Restore Glowing Skin
A faded complexion may have a deeper meaning than you realize. Anti-aging specialist Lorraine Maita says yellowness could signify liver problems, a gray tint might indicate kidney issues, and sagging skin serves as a red flag that tissues are breaking down. Luckily, foods rich in antioxidants and topical creams with buffered glycolic acid or retinol can rapidly restore skin to a youthful glow.
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Cut Red Meats And Processed Foods To Slim The Bulge
Neurologist Braverman says extra body fat, usually inserted on the belly and triceps with age, will trigger other organs to begin shutting down prematurely. Stay lean by eliminating excess saturated fats and sugars found in red meats and processed foods. If paired with regular exercise, you'll live longer and look younger.
Add The Moisture Back To A Drying Body
Damaged skin, dry hands and fried hair will instantly add a decade or more to your perceived age, indicating an underlying dehydration of internal body systems. Add moisture back by regularly applying lotions, upping water intake and cutting coffee and soda, which are both diuretics that dry out hair and burn up nutrients.
Once Bravo's Morgan began her anti-aging routine, she says her skin became suppler, she felt younger and she stopped craving coffee, alcohol and sweets.