Whether you've noticed the signs of aging in family and friends, or acknowledged how it affects your own mind and body, getting older is an unavoidable part of life. And while Ponce de Leon never found the Fountain of Youth, daily preventative measures can be taken to help you age beautifully both inside and out.The most frequently recognized signs of aging include extrinsic indicators such as gray hair and wrinkles. But have you ever stopped to think about other factors that influence how young we feel and how young others perceive us to be? Here are some tips on how to take aging in stride and help you look and feel your youngest:

o Heart-felt: Choosing a heart-healthy diet may not only lengthen your lifespan by helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, it will also help you age healthier. The FDA recommends eating well-balanced meals low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. Additionally, heart-friendly foods, especially those high in fiber, such as salmon, soy protein, oatmeal and spinach, will help you stay "young at heart."

o Smile On: Tooth stains and red gums can age the appearance of your smile and impact its health. In fact, gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that affects one out of every two adults, can be a major cause behind prematurely aging smiles. "The good news is that it's preventable," says Dr. Jamie Sands, D.D.S. "I recommend using Crest Pro-Health tooth-paste, which helps stop gingivitis before it starts and protects all these areas dentists check most - plaque, cavities, tartar, sensitivity and stains and a power toothbrush, such as Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean, which reduces up to two times more plaque than a manual brush."

o Work It: No one is too old; to reap the benefits of exercise. Regular physical activity provides endless advantages - from reducing the risk of osteoporosis to increased energy and feelings of well-being - even a brisk 20-minute walk several times a week can improve your overall health.

o Skin Deep: Although genes are a major factor in how skin ages, a great deal of visible aging also stems from environmental factors. Just a few minutes of sun exposure a day can cause noticeable changes to the skin, such as freckles, age spots, spider veins, fine wrinkles, and of course, skin cancer. To maintain your youngest-looking skin, avoid deliberate sun exposure, wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat, and apply sunscreen, preferably SPF 15 or higher, year-round.

o Thought-provoking: Studies suggests that people who engage in logic-based activities, such as crossword puzzles and games that involve strategy like Scrabble or chess, are less likely to develop memory loss. Not only will these hobbies keep your vision and hand-eye coordination sharp, but such challenges also help to keep your mind active.

Courtesy of ARA content

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