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Aging Gracefully and Naturally

A look at how - and if - we can delay aging, naturally.

Miracle of Magnesium?

"This mineral is so important for our energy system, nervous system, heart, and blood sugar control and all diagnoses and symptoms we get as we get older that it should be an integral part of a longevity program," says alternative medicine expert Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of several books including The Miracle of Magnesium.

The recommended daily allowance is about 300 to 400 mg for men and women, but Dean says we may even need more since magnesium is difficult to absorb. Absorption also tends to decrease with age.

Boost your magnesium and here's what you can expect:

"Within a couple of days, your energy picks up, your bowel movements are better, and your skin and libido will improve," she says. "When I look at all the different conditions that magnesium can be involved with treating, I am not surprised at the amazing results. Vitamins and minerals are absolutely required to run the body."

Magnesium-rich foods include brown rice, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, and peanuts. If you choose supplements, follow dosing instructions on label.

Gone Fishing

The fountain of youth may be located in the deep sea, says Perricone.

"Certain ways of eating cause a subclinical inflammation that leads to all types of problems from accelerated wrinkling and heart disease to Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers," he tells WebMD. But "fruits, vegetables, and lots of cold-water fish like salmon reduce inflammation on a cellular level."

What's more, "we know that if we eat anything that causes rapid rise in blood sugar, you get a burst of inflammation on a cellular level," he says.

Try the three-day nutritional facelift, Perricone suggests. Here's how:

For lunch and dinner, eat a green salad (making a dressing out of olive oil and lemon juice), 3 oz of broiled salmon or another cold-water fish such as tuna and mackerel, and strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries for dessert.

Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and a deficiency of omega-3 has been linked to an array of diseases as well as premature aging of the skin, he says.

Also, drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep skin hydrated and supple, he says.

"You will see a difference in as little as three days," he says, starting with "a radiant glow, puffiness diminished, and your skin will look more toned. You will see changes in cholesterol levels as your good cholesterol goes up and your blood pressure returns to a normal level. [And] you will have more energy and elevated moods."

Too fishy for you? Take fish oil capsules instead.

Chill Without a Pill

Transcendental meditation is becoming so mainstream in the U.S. these days that it is popping up in schools, hospitals, law firms, government and corporate offices, and prisons. In fact, one study done with researchers from the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science in Cold Spring-on-Hudson, N.Y, suggests people who meditate regularly have levels of an age-related hormone that is comparable to their nonmeditating counterparts who are five to 10 years younger. And a growing body of evidence suggests that transcendental meditation also helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Transcendental meditation involves sitting with eyes closed and thinking of "a meaningless sound" (mantra) for 20 minutes a day.

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