6 Powerful Ways to Reverse Your Biological Age

The secrets to the fountain of youth, backed by science.

By: Lexy Parsons

Despite the negative connotation of aging, growing older is an inevitable part of life. In fact, we should wear our age with a badge of honor! The lessons, hardships, and experiences we endure each year shape us into who we are today. That said, the desire to maintain our youth is only normal. And, if pursued with a healthy outlook and approach, reversing our biological age can be a (very) healthy aspiration! However, in doing so, it’s important to discern our chronological age from our biological age. As the saying goes, “Growing old is a privilege, but becoming old is a choice.” The idea is that our numerical age shouldn’t define us; instead, it should inspire us to make healthy choices that promote longevity and make us feel strong, vibrant, and youthful — both inside and out. 

Ahead, learn what the science says on how to reverse your biological age. Plus, healthy practices that promote longevity and challenge the traditional constraints of growing old in ways that celebrate and support our life’s journey!

What is Your Biological Age?

What is your biological age? And how does it differ from your chronological age?

While chronological age is simply the number of years you’ve been alive, biological age takes into account various physiological factors that contribute to the aging process. 

For example, two individuals who are both 50 years old chronologically may have different biological ages based on lifestyle choices, genetics, and health practices. Say Person A eats a whole food-based diet, exercises regularly, and meditates several times a week. Person B, on the other hand, lives a high-stress lifestyle due to job burnout, resulting in poor sleep, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise. Despite being the same birth age, the stark contrast in lifestyle practices between Person A and Person B showcases how biological age can vary significantly. By prioritizing health-promoting habits (like Person A), individuals can potentially reverse or slow down their biological age, while less favorable habits and lifestyle choices (as seen with Person B) may actually accelerate the aging process. 

The good news is that unlike chronological age, which is constant and will continue to increase with every birthday, you can take proactive steps to positively influence and potentially reverse your biological age. Ahead, everything you need to know!

How to Determine Your Biological Age

Before adjusting your biological age, you must first determine what it is! While there are many online calculators and formulations that can help guide you, the most accurate way to access your biological age is through testing your epigenetic data. This can be done through various methods, such as DNA methylation testing (which is performed through a blood draw or cheek swab). Though not as precise, biological age calculators are another (more accessible) option, which may be a great place to start!

What Factors Influence Your Biological Age?

If you’re looking to reverse your biological age, understanding the factors that influence your health is key.

#1 Genetics

While you can’t change your genes, understanding your genetic predispositions allows you to make informed lifestyle choices that can positively influence how your genes are expressed. For instance, the APOE gene is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing your APOE status can guide you in adopting brain-healthy habits, such as a nutrient-rich diet for cognitive health, to potentially mitigate the impact of this genetic factor and support a healthier biological age. These insights into your genetic profile can serve as a powerful tool, helping empower you to make informed decisions and develop personalized strategies to optimize your health.

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Those With Alzheimer’s Disease, According to Research

#2 Diet & Nutrition

Your diet plays a pivotal role in influencing your biological age — for better or worse! According to research, a nutrient-rich diet, abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that help to combat oxidative stress and slow down the aging process. There’s even research to suggest that the Mediterranean diet, one of the healthiest diets for longevity, can slow biological aging and support overall health.

RELATED: 7 Essential Nutrients to Support Longevity (No Matter How Old You Are)

#3 Physical Activity

Regular exercise has been consistently linked to a lower biological age, so much so that it could even shave nine years off your biological age! Not to mention, data showing physically fit individuals averaging 75 years old to have almost identical muscles as 25-year-olds at the cellular level — impressive. All this to say — exercise slows the aging process! From HIIT, to walking, to yoga, and strength training, there are so many exercises associated with longevity — it’s about finding what works for you, and staying consistent with it!

RELATED: The Anti-Aging Benefits of Exercise, According to Research 

#4 Sleep Quality

Adequate sleep is one of the best secrets to slowing the aging process. Not only does adequate sleep help to slow biological aging, but poor sleep can have the opposite effect, accelerating aging by affecting cognitive function, hormone regulation, and immune response. Even one night of sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk for chronic disease and activate genes related to increased biological aging!

RELATED: Science Says Not Getting Enough Sleep is a Threat to Your Health

#5 Stress Management

And don’t snooze on stress management. Chronic stress is a sneaky culprit that contributes to a whole host of unsavory health conditions, including accelerated aging. Shown to cause inflammation and DNA damage in cells, chronic stress can lead to premature aging. The good news is that once the stress is removed, the body is able to return to baseline. That said, implementing stress-reducing practices such as meditation, yoga Nidra, and breathing exercises can go a long way in positively influencing biological age.

6 Powerful Ways to Reverse Your Biological Age

The best strategies to reverse your biological age, according to science:

#1 Incorporate Daily Movement

Whether it’s strength training, kickboxing, yoga, or a brisk walk, engaging in exercise has been linked to a reduction in biological age and improved cognitive function, promoting overall health and longevity. To have the most profound impact on your biological age, you’ll want to incorporate both aerobic and resistance exercises into your weekly workout regime.

#2 Consider Intermittent Fasting

While not for everyone, some data suggests intermittent fasting can enhance the cellular repair processes and potentially slow down cell aging. In fact, when combined with other healthy lifestyle factors like sleep, exercise, diet, and stress management, mild intermittent fasting appeared to reduce biological aging by nearly 3.5 years. However, what works for one person may not be best for you. It’s important to find a dietary style that fits your health goals and lifestyle, and speak with a registered dietician or health professional before making significant changes.

#3 Optimize Your Sleep Habits

An incentive to get to bed, sufficient sleep has been shown to support longevity and promote healthy aging. We’ve been seeing data stress the importance of regular sleep for over ten years, with recent research showing the positive influence on life expectancy. However, too many Americans are sleep deprived, which has been shown to be a major risk factor in accelerated aging and chronic disease. Even less than six hours of sleep per night has been linked to dementia and stroke. 

To reverse your biological age, support your sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, and winding down with a calming evening routine.

#4 Prioritize A Nutrient-Dense Diet

The foods you put into your body are quite literally fuel for your cells — make sure you’re supplying them with quality ingredients that will help promote longevity (rather than hinder it!). 

According to research, some of the best nutrients to reverse your biological clock include:

  • Antioxidants (especially berries and green tea) 
  • Cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Gut-healthy foods such as prebiotics and probiotics 
  • Lean proteins 
  • Whole grains
  • Herbs and spices

In fact, by eating an anti-aging whole foods diet with similar foods, research participants were able to decrease their biological age by nearly 5 years in just 8 weeks. However, high-sugar and processed diets, on the other hand, are associated with increased cell aging, not to mention inflammation, chronic disease, and poor overall health.

Adopting a longevity diet like the Mediterranean Diet has proven very beneficial in reversing biological aging. Here are some easy-prep recipes to help inspire your cooking!

#5 Adopt Stress Reducing Techniques

We know that chronic stress wreaks havoc on our health, so it’s no surprise to learn it accelerates the aging process. Luckily, the effects aren’t permanent, so long as you adopt stress-reducing practices to combat your cortisol. This could be research-backed practices like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and tai chi. Or, reducing stress could mean finding time for silence in your busy day, going for a walk when stressed, listening to music while browsing the aisles of the grocery store (oddly therapeutic!), or taking yourself on a self-care date. Whatever feels best for you, do more of that!

RELATED: 14-Day Self-Care Challenge

#6 Foster Meaningful Social Connections

Similar to adopting stress-reducing strategies, building and maintaining meaningful relationships and connections is a science-supported way to promote longevity. Not only can having a support system positively influence biological age, but lack thereof may be even more detrimental. According to research, feelings of loneliness and hopelessness — associated with lack of social support — have been shown to increase biological age, even more than smoking. Which, as we know, is a huge health risk. This speaks volumes! Whether it’s volunteering, finding support from a therapist or other medical professional, or simply confiding in friends or family, make time for meaningful connections — it matters!

The Takeaway

We were taught that aging is inevitable. And while this holds true, there’s more to the story! Chronological age is inevitable — but our biological age? We have a lot of say in how that progresses! By managing stress, optimizing sleep and exercise, prioritizing what’s on our plate and when we eat it, and making time for friends, family, and social connections, we can take proactive steps in aging gracefully and maintaining our inner and outer youth. And how exciting is that?