Is your body aging backwards?
You’re not as old as you think – at least the parts of your body that are constantly regenerating aren’t.
In fact, some parts of you are no more than a few days old. Cells die and are replaced all the time in your bones, liver, skin, intestines and other organs.
Age: 1-2 weeks
Your tongue has around 10,000 taste buds and each one renews itself every couple of weeks. They can be dulled by cigarettes, spicy foods and hot food and drinks, so keep your sense of taste sharp by quitting smoking and limiting your intake of these foods.
Age: 10 years
“We replace 10 percent of our bone every year, and our entire skeleton every 10 years,” explains Tereza Houg from the National Osteoporosis Foundation in South Africa. To keep your bones healthy, it’s important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of low-fat dairy.
“Bone is a living tissue that needs to be exercised, just like muscle, so stay active,” Houg adds. Weight-bearing exercise is ideal for building bones, as are skipping, rowing, or running up the stairs.
Age: 2 months
The liver has a phenomenal capability to regenerate. Surgeons can remove 70 percent of a person’s liver and most of it will grow back within two months. But alcohol overconsumption can have lasting negative effects on your liver so limit yourself to 0.34 ounces of pure alcohol per day, with at least three alcohol-free days a week.
Age: the same as you
While life starts with around 100 billion brain cells that we gradually lose as we age, there are two areas of the brain that do regenerate: the olfactory bulb that governs our sense of smell and the hippocampus, an area for learning. You protect the latter simply by using your brain. Socializing, reading and doing puzzles help, as will regular exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Age: 2-3 months
Your top layer of skin is constantly shedding dead cells and replacing them with new ones although the layer of collagen and elastic tissue underneath this top layer depletes and doesn’t renew itself. To protect your top layer, use sunscreen, avoid smoking and increase your antioxidant intake by eating plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits.
Age: 2-3 days
Intestines are lined with cells known as villi, which absorb nutrients from food. Stomach acid and food can cause damage that prevents them functioning effectively, which is why they must renew themselves regularly. Look after your intestines by eating fresh produce and fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, and drinking plenty of water.
Research has shown that some people are, on average, five years older than their actual age due to several health and wellness factors.
Your Vitality Age is a simple calculation that helps you understand more about your health. Your Vitality Age may be higher or lower than your actual age and it serves as an indication of your overall health.
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The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily imply endorsement by Manulife.
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