9 things you can do to live longer and fight ageing, according to a French expert

The celebrated French surgeon Michel Cymes shares his insights

Rachel Hosie
Monday 09 January 2017 13:44
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On average, French women live two years longer than British. They’re also known for their youthful looks and chic style at all ages.

But just how do they do it?

In his new book, the celebrated Parisian surgeon Michel Cymes reveals what he believes are the secrets as to why French women don’t grow old. Or do so more slowly than Brits, anyway.

1. Eat more garlic

Not just a tasty and potentially partner-repelling addition to your dinner, garlic contains a host of health benefits that help us live longer.

The French love it - and for good reason: garlic is full of antioxidants and has anti-ageing properties too. Best to eat it raw to maintain as much nutritional value as possible.

2. Drink less but appreciate it more

Alcohol is both life-shortening and ageing, and according to Cymes, we should all drink like a sommelier.

That means drinking slowly and savouring that glass of wine if you want to remain youthful.

3. Clean your fridge

​Cymes stresses how important it is to clean your fridge properly twice a month, the Mail Online reports.

Contrary to popular belief, germs can survive the cold conditions, and of course what’s inside your fridge will ultimately end up in your body.

Cymes recommends using a sponge and white wine vinegar to wipe your fridge down before drying it with a cloth.

4. Take dinner seriously

As a Frenchman, Cymes is, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely anti the TV dinner so beloved of many Brits.

We tend to eat more quickly when watching TV, meaning we chew our food less, don’t realise we’re full and consequently eat more than we would otherwise.

Sit at the dinner table and eat mindfully to avoid eating more than you need.

5. Invest in good sunglasses

Rather than for the sake of looking cool, sunglasses are important for protecting the eyes and skin around them.

Cymes says that when shopping for the perfect pair of sunnies, you should look for ones with big frames and wide arms to prevent light sneaking in, make sure the lenses conform to European standards (check they have a CE label) and are also at least class three if not class four, which is recommended for mountain sports, for example.

6. Take your workout into the pool

High intensity exercise puts a lot of stress on our joints so Cymes recommends exercising in water. His particular workout of choice? Aqua cycling.

Also known as pool biking or hydro-spinning, it essentially means cycling on a stationary bike in a pool.

Being submerged in water means your heart-rate stays lower and you can cycle harder - it feels like less effort but you're actually pushing your muscles more.

7. Look after your décolletage

A woman’s chest and cleavage area contains fewer sebaceous glands than the rest of the body, meaning it tends to become wrinkly quicker.

In order to look after the delicate skin, you should treat it with as much care as you do your face: moisturise, exfoliate and use an SPF.

8. Change your pillow

Very few of us change them often, but an old, worn-out pillow that doesn’t properly support your head can give you troublesome neck ache.

Cymes suggests a thick pillow if you like to sleep on your side, a firm one if you prefer snoozing on your back, and a thin one if you lie on your front.

9. Stop feeling guilty for not being perfect

The majority of people tend to beat themselves up for not ‘having it all,’ but Cymes believes striving for perfection will end in failure.

He recommends remembering three things: nobody’s perfect, being nuanced makes you interesting, and the world is more complicated than just bad and good.

“If you want to live longer, start to live!” he says.

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