How to slow the ravages of time

A head-to-toe guide by holistic health expert Anastasia Stephens
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Indy Lifestyle Online

INNER EAR: Tinnitus is most common in people aged 40 and over. Hypnotherapy can help by training the brain to ignore nerve impulses in the inner ear that cause ringing.

SPINE: Keeping mobility between vertebrae and strong spinal muscles are key to prevent back pain. Yoga or pilates are both effective at increasing spinal flexibility and strength.

ELBOW: Keep tennis elbow in check with homeopathic remedy arnica. These small, sugary tablets can reduce bruising and swelling after an injury. Their effectiveness is increasingly recognised by cosmetic surgeons, who recommend patients take them after surgery.

HEART: To avoid adding to the heart attack statistics, eat oily fish two to three times a week and embellish it with garlic. Essential fatty acids in oily fish lower bad cholesterol levels and heart attack risk as effectively as cholesterol-lowering drugs. Garlic also lowers bad cholesterol, and helps clear arterial plaque on blood-vessel walls.

HIPS: If you're heading for hip problems — and you can probably feel it coming – invest in some glucosamine sulphate. This supplement feeds the body with the building blocks necessary to make new cartilage. Not only does it trigger cartilage regrowth, it can also reduce arthritic pain as effectively as some medications.

BRAIN: Keeping memory active with crosswords can slow the decline of memory formation and recall. Ginkgo biloba can also help by boosting circulation to the brain.

NECK: Neck and shoulder problems are often caused by poor posture. A good Alexander Technique teacher will observe your posture, point out where you're going wrong and show you how to move in a way that places less strain on your muscles.

LIVER: Suffer from hangover hell? Milk thistle, a herbal extract, stabilises liver cells on exposure to toxins and raises the rate at which toxins break down. Two capsules before and after a dinner party – along with water before bed – will go a long way to fending off headaches the next day.

GUT: Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating can be alleviated by taking capsules containing good gut bacteria. Acidophilus and other bacterial strains normalise digestion and nutrient uptake. They're especially useful after a course of antibiotics or long periods of stress.

HAIR: The herbal extract saw palmetto can help slow age-related hair loss by lowering levels of an active form of testosterone. It won't stop the process completely, so if your recession is looking terminal, you can always disguise what you haven't got by shaving off the lot.

EYES: Eat plenty of bilberries and egg yolks to keep your eyes healthy. Anthocyanidins in blueberries and lutein in eggs protect cells on the eye's retina from damage by UV light. Also, keep eyesight sharp by taking computer breaks to gaze into the distance, then close your eyes and roll them round.

LUNGS: Work out your lungs with aerobic sessions two to three times a week. Even if these last only 20 minutes, you will maintain your lung capacity, which is vital for delivering oxygen to your heart and other tissues. Thanks to exercise, you will be lowering your cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, while also boosting your mood and memory.

LIBIDO: Head for the sauna. One reason for an age-related decline in libido is poor circulation. Heat from a sauna or steam bath boosts both circulation and skin sensitivity. Then try a herbal aphrodisiac: while science has still to gather evidence, herbs such as sarsaparilla, ginseng and damiana have been used for hundreds of years to raise passions.

KNEES: If your knee pain is chronic, see a podiatrist. Assessment of how you walk helps them assess your biomechanics. A tailor-made insole can help your posture, so that you place less strain on your knee joints.

ANKLE/FOOT: Chronic foot pain can set in with age, especially if you are a runner. Try acupuncture: it can be as effective as aspirin at killing the pain of foot ailments without the side-effects.

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