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In an age when stress is dominant and time scarce, some food, fitness, spiritual and mental secrets to being forever young

The thirties is when you are expected to take stock of your career, relationships and bank balance to ensure you are on the right track. Incide-ntally, 30 is also when your body begins to show the effects of gravity and ageing. Wrinkles, brown spots, saggy skin, hair fall, perhaps acne. But you don’t have to make this your story. The slow ageing movement that is picking up speed across the world and is getting popular in our country too, finds the answer in food, exercise and lifestyle. “Hormones are one of the main culprits and the majority of hormone changes start at around 30,” says Dr Hari Kumar, a Kochi-based cosmetic surgeon, Lakeshore hospital. What’s the best way to combat those early signs of ageing or rather, how do you slow the process?

On your plate

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According to restaurateur Vipin Sachdev, 50, who lives a healthy lifestyle and thinks food is the real anti ageing antidote, says most of us tend to eat a lot of food that is unnecessary. His personal diet is free of white food. “Our household thrives on brown rice. I start my day with either a juice made of bitter gourd or bottle gourd and end with a cocoction made of ajwain and methi seeds,” he says. Studies have proved that antioxidants mop up free radicals and help with cell renewal, making you look younger, longer. Thus, dark foods with a purple pigment, such as purple onions, concord grapes, prunes and blackberries, are known for their healing powers. But the actual age defying secret, says socialite Vidya Singh, is to work on your fitness. “Exercise daily, do lots of cardio and weight training. Yoga keeps your body flexible for the rest of your life. Hydrate your body as it helps the skin breathe. Opt for a good body massage or facial once a month,” says Singh.

Finding happiness

Make meditation and yoga your way of life, insist lifetsyle coaches. “Though there is nothing called a stress free life, the secret is in knowing how to deal with it. Good sleep is very important. Don’t give up on your zest for life,” adds Singh who, at 60, is a walking advertisement for sensible living. Dr Hari Kumar says he depends on books to make him feel young, from Elizabeth Bergs The Pull of the Moon, Truman Capote’s Other Voices Other Rooms and good old Tintin. “It makes me happy and that automatically shows on my face.” Join a laughter club, catch up with your school friends, get connected on social networking sites, spend time with your children… the list is endless, when we ask people about their secret to staying young.

Art of breathing

Yoga is universally accepted for its anti-ageing benefis. “Suryanamaskar’s 12 poses maintain your muscles, and help retain flexibility. Practising it at a slow or fast pace will improve digestion, soothe the nervous system and strengthen the heart. Also, they make you feel rejuvenated and keep your anxiety and stress at bay,” says celebrity fitness trainer, Abbas Ali.

— Neelima Menon

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