If you think that growing older is totally predetermined, then think again. The rate at which you age is something that is primarily under your control.

That’s not just the opinion of some random blogger on the internet, either. Instead, it’s the conclusion of renowned Harvard geneticist and researcher, David Sinclair. His lab showed in the early 2000s that it was possible to give yeast cells grape extract and make them live longer. Since then, he’s demonstrated that you can increase the lifespan of multiple species through simple diet and lifestyle changes.

For you and me, this is all good news. It means that there really are things that we can do to slow down the march of time. According to Sinclair, our bodies keep a memory of our youthfulness throughout our lives. If we can access it, we can potentially turn back the clock and be younger for longer.

Of course, the practicalities of making this happen are challenging, to say the least. Transforming the way that your body operates is no mean feat. However, research from animals suggests that it should work in humans. Furthermore, we now have ample evidence that many populations live longer than others, thanks to specific lifestyle factors.

So, do you want to look younger for longer? Here’s what to do:

Eat A Diet Of Mostly Whole Plant Food

While your body can cope with the odd bit of junk from time to time, you should endeavour to focus your diet primarily around whole plant foods. If you look at some of the healthiest and longest-lived cultures in the world (and throughout history), you find that this is precisely what they do. They consume roots, tubers, vegetables, greens and fruits according to the seasons.

Researchers believe that whole plant foods are effective at slowing the aging process because of the various phytonutrients they contain. Certain compounds appear to interact favorably with our cells, activating our innate rejuvenation capacity. When this happens, our tissues can actually become functionally young again.

Get More Sleep

The second pillar of looking more youthful is to give your body the sleep that it needs. When it comes to shut-eye, we’re all different. Some of us need a full nine hours at night to feel our best, while others can get by on six.

The trick here is to know how much you need. Listen to what your body says. If you’re yawning throughout the day, it’s a sign that you’re not getting enough.

Sleep is critical because it is when the body does the lion’s share of repair work. Cells go into maintenance mode, fixing problems that they were too busy to fix in the day. People who get enough sleep tend to have the best double-strand DNA repair, allowing them to live longer and appear more youthful for their age.

Take Care Of Your Hair

Greying and thinning hair is one of the first signs of aging. Some people see the effects in their twenties, even when their skin is still bright and firm, and they have no health issues.

The good news is that there are several things that you can do to take care of your hair. The first is to eat right and get plenty of sleep. This is essential.

The second is to make sure that you’re eating foods that can stimulate hair growth. For instance, in Ayurveda, traditional healers used amla fruit to restore health to youthfulness. Today, you can get it in powder form. Take it orally for maximum benefits. It activates follicle-stimulating hormone, encouraging more hair growth on your scalp and the rest of your body.

You can also try using a hair regrowth laser cap. These activate damaged or dormant hair follicles, encouraging them to restart hair production. As with red-light skin therapy, clinical research shows that it is highly effective.

Get Into A Routine

If you study the lives of some of the longest-lived people on the planet, you discover something interesting: most of them have a healthy routine they’ve maintained throughout their lives. Usually, it consists of waking up with the sun, doing some form of manual labor or exercise, and then eating a diet of beans, vegetables and whole grains.

These individuals tend to keep things simple. They don’t allow the stresses and strains of life to affect them. Instead, they simply plot through, taking each day as it comes, and celebrating it. They don’t grasp or clutch at life: instead, they allow it to unfold naturally.

If you can get into a routine like this, it could help you tremendously. Don’t become attached to work or relationships. Focus on maintaining beautiful chemistry within your own body. Allow yourself the luxury.

Always Wear SPF Outside

While the body’s metabolism is responsible for part of the aging process, it’s not the whole story. The sun plays a role too.

The reason UV light is so damaging is that it creates double-strand DNA breaks. These breaks are much harder for the body to fix, and often, they go unrepaired.

Staying out of the sun or wearing SPF reduces this kind of breakage to a minimum. You’ll notice that your skin appears smoother over time compared to people of a similar age who aren’t using SPF.

Move More

Staying youthful is also about keeping your body moving. Too many people today lead sedentary lives. They sit at a computer from morning until evening, tapping away, without really considering their bodies.

Moving more, though, needn’t be challenging. It’s something that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. For instance, you might start cycling to work or going to a yoga class in the evening.

Cut Down On Alcohol And Caffeine

Lastly, if you want to maintain your body’s youthfulness, reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume. Alcohol is damaging to the liver and causes dehydration and additional stress on your body’s defenses. Caffeine doesn’t harm you directly, but it can affect your mental state, predisposing you to stress, panic and anxiety.