On a podcast from MindBodyGreen, Harvard geneticist David Sinclair explained that what drives the aging process is the lack of stress our bodies experience. In order to truly optimize our longevity, Sinclair wants us to add more stress to our lives.
That doesn’t mean working more intensely or taking up new roles. What he means is placing our bodies under controlled stress or discomfort—similar to the discomfort you feel as you do a bicep curl. To help your body slow down the aging process, here are 3 simple ways to create that extra bit of stress on your body.
Eat fewer calories
Sinclair isn’t talking about intermittent fasting (IF). While he mentions that IF is incredible for longevity, he acknowledges that some people have trouble maintaining a fasting schedule. An easier way to reap the longevity benefits without necessarily fasting is to just eat fewer calories overall. That means avoiding high-calorie foods such as meat.
In order to promote longevity, Sinclair says we have to trick our body into thinking it’s stressed (“even though we live in a utopia compared to our ancestors,” he says). And a great way to trick our bodies into being stressed is to eat foods that are stressed themselves.
Sinclair says that organic foods are a bit more stressed because they aren’t handled with the same amount of cautions, such as wearing gloves. This stress leads to brighter colors in food, which are indicators that the food has produced “xenohormesis molecules,” which activate our sirtuins that give our bodies an extra boost for longevity.
Experience cold temperatures for at least one minute
Finally, Sinclair believes that in order to boost our longevity, we should experience extreme cold—such as through taking an ice bath. By doing this for a minute, you spark a stress reaction in your body that optimizes your aging process.