Most patients who come to see me do so because they want my help maintaining a youthful glow. Sometimes that involves softening crow’s feet with Botox® or restoring volume to cheeks with Restylane®. Other times it’s about getting rid of love handles with CoolSculpting® or double chin fat with Kybella®.
But while my patients’ cosmetic concerns vary, there’s at least one thing they all have in common: They don’t want to look older — but they don’t mind growing older as long as they are feeling healthy and happy — maintaining a quality of life.
Fortunately, we happen to be alive at a time when it’s no longer uncommon for humans to reach 80, 90 or even 100 years old. In fact, the average life expectancy for Americans is at an all-time high, rising from 69.6 years in 1955 to 77.9 years today, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Even more encouraging: It’s projected that by the year 2050, there will be more than 3 million centenarians worldwide, up from fewer than 200,000 today.
At La Chelé, I use the latest, most cutting-edge techniques to keep you looking as fresh and vibrant as possible on the outside. To recreate those effects on the inside also requires adopting the most up-to-date practices — and every day, researchers are learning more and more about what really works, ensuring a growing number of us will hit that century mark. But it’s not only about what we can do for you but more importantly what you can do for yourself. Living a healthy lifestyle not only enhances your treatments and maintains a longer effect but also helps mother nature repair and restore the body.
Which is why I’m so excited to share with you my latest nonfiction book find, The Big 5: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life, by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. I recently caught Dr. Chopra on a podcast talking about his book, which is billed as a no-gimmicks approach to achieving greater longevity, and I came away inspired by the easy, accessible advice he shared. Drawing on reams of the latest medical data, and reflecting the results of thousands of test subjects, The Big Five is packed with inspiring stories that prove you don’t have to undergo a major life overhaul to get major results. You just need to commit to daily, consistent practice of five common behaviors.
Ready to begin? Here, per Dr. Chopra, is a summary of the five key steps to living a longer life, each of which should be done every day:
1.) Drink at least two cups of coffee. Countless studies have proven that coffee has powerful compounds that do everything from reduce inflammation to positively impact blood pressure. That’s great news for me; after all, with two kids and a thriving business, I rely on coffee just to get me through my jam-packed schedule! Now I can indulge my java habit guilt-free, knowing it’s actually good for me.
2.) Find time for a (short) workout. So I’ll admit it: This is an area I struggle with. There just never seems to be enough time! Mornings take all my energy just to get everyone dressed and out the door, and after a long day at work I’ve got my second shift at home, helping the kids with their schoolwork and getting dinner and chores done. But here’s the good news: You don’t have to slog through hours at the gym to get the full benefits of exercise. Incorporating just enough movement to make you break a sweat — experts say that can be in as little as four to 15 minutes! — does the trick.
3.) Take a Vitamin D3 supplement. All right, those of you who know me know I will have a lot to say about this one! As Dr. Chopra points out, with the increase in understanding about the role the sun plays in causing skin cancer and other skin types of skin damage (uh, wrinkles!!), most of us are now slathering ourselves in sunscreen (yay!). But because sunlight is a primary source of Vitamin D, as the use of sunscreen has gone up, so, too, has the increase in patients who are Vitamin D-deficient. That’s why Dr. Chopra suggests a daily Vitamin D3 supplement of 4,000 mg — or, if you think you can be really disciplined about it, no more than 20 minutes of sun exposure, sans sunscreen, per day. However, given the ways I’ve seen the sun destroy skin, I think the risks are too great to go outside for any length of time without protection, so I advise the supplement route.
4.) Eat a handful of nuts. Isn’t it great when your favorite foods also turn out to be good for you? That’s the case with me and nuts, because I love all kinds: Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, I could go on and on, although I should point out that almonds, in particular, are one of the most skin friendly nuts as they are anti-inflammatory and often used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Even if you don’t like any of the nuts I’ve mentioned, there are dozens of varieties of nuts to choose from — and science says they all have at least some of the good stuff that keeps us healthier, longer. So go ahead and chow down! And for those of you used to counting calories who worry about the high fat content in many nuts, think of it this way: Eating 20 nuts (about a quarter cup) typically has the same calorie count as a can of soda — but soda has none of the nutritional value.
5.) Meditate. While the word “meditation” often conjures up images of a guru sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat (yes, I have seen Eat Pray Love!), that’s just one version of it. Really, meditation is all about finding time — whether it’s two minutes or two hours — to just stop and reflect on what’s happening around you. For me, I like meditating in a hot bath with a glass of red wine; others might find their quiet time sitting in their garden, or in church. Whatever the case, approach meditating as a valuable opportunity for you to clear your head, take stock of your life, and move forward.
Until next time!