Even if it’s not something we look forward to, aging is inevitable. As the years come and go, signs of aging appear. With time, I’m sure everyone will notice a few gray hairs and (gasp) wrinkles revealing their age when they look in the mirror.
It should come as no surprise that for all the external signs of aging we undergo, we’re actually aging internally as well. You may have already noticed creakier bones, worsening vision, and achy joints—but you may not have noticed the changes to your cardiovascular system.
One of the most important organs in the cardiovascular system is the endothelium, which lines your blood vessels and produces Nitric Oxide. As the endothelium ages, Nitric Oxide production naturally declines. This decrease it completely normal, but since healthy Nitric Oxide production maintains blood flow to your vital organs, it makes sense to do everything you can to make sure your endothelium is as healthy as possible.
The great thing about cardiovascular health is that it’s never too late to start making healthier choices. I was in my 60s when I started running marathons! By supporting the health of my endothelium and heart every day, now that I’m in my 70s I feel better than I did in my 40s.
Make the commitment to your well-being by aging as healthfully as possible. While you can’t stop or reverse the aging process, you can still look and feel great as you get older.
A healthy diet is the cornerstone for endothelial health. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that closely adhering to a diet that emphasizes healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, herbs and spices, and whole grains supports healthy endothelial function.
Movement stimulates the endothelial cells to produce Nitric Oxide, making exercise one of the most important steps to supporting endothelial health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you can move more than that, great! More movement equals more support for the endothelial cells.
In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, be sure your endothelium is getting the nutrients it needs to support healthy function. Dietary supplements like L-arginine, L-citrulline, CoQ10, krill oil, Omega-3 DHA and EPA, and garlic support healthy endothelial cells and Nitric Oxide production.
Laughter has been long known to have positive effects on the body and mind—and it turns out it’s good for the endothelium, too. Research presented at the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology showed that laughter causes the endothelium to dilate, or expand, in order to increase blood flow.
When you’re busy, it’s tempting to scrimp on sleep. Getting plenty of sleep and rest is actually a productive activity for the body, and especially the endothelial cells. Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night gives your endothelial cells the chance to heal and regenerate.
Healthy aging really comes down to healthy living. Take it one day at a time, and remember that each great choice you make adds up to a lifetime of wellness and vitality.