Do you remember scrambling to find the best boxed hair dyes after spotting your first gray hair? Or slathering on the creams after noticing your turkey neck? Whether it's trying a new make-up routine or paying for corrective surgery, many people shell out loads of money each year in order to look younger. But you really don't need to. There are plenty of ways to defy looking older than you are that cost very little. Here are just six of them.
1. Drink more tea.
People in the Far East were on to something centuries ago when they began drinking green tea for its health benefits. Today, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, following only water. Thanks to its strong antioxidants, green tea has the ability to quell inflammation, which plays a part in various other diseases. (Experts say you'd need to drink three to four cups a day to see this benefit.) Researchers also have discovered that green tea can inhibit oxidative stress and the potential inflammation that might result from it. Regular consumers of green and black teas enjoy a reduced risk for heart disease. If all that weren't enough, green tea -- as well as white tea -- are rich in an anti-aging antioxidant known as EGCG, which helps fight wrinkles by increasing cell turnover. The Chinese even mix green tea powder with brewed white tea to create a face mask designed to load up the skin with plumping antioxidants.
2. Cook with olive oil.
Ever wonder why the people on the Greek island of Crete enjoy low rates of heart disease and cancer? Most likely it has something to do with the olive oil in their diet. Studies have shown that olive oil's strong antioxidants may help protect against stroke, heart attack and other age-related diseases. One study from 2013 even found that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 30 percent. But even healthier fats like olive oil can be high in calories so use them in moderation.
3. Exercise -- in the right way.
In May 2014, findings from the longest-running clinical trial on the relationship between physical activity and aging were revealed, naming exercise as one of the best ways to prevent the loss of mobility that often accompanies old age. And, in a small study, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario found that exercise may not only keep skin younger, but may also reverse skin aging. They found that this holds true even for those who take up exercise later in life. Great anti-aging exercises include walking -- which has been shown to protect against dementia -- and Tai Chi -- which has been shown to help raise the numbers of a stem cell important to a number of the body's functions and structures. And exercise isn't only good for the body. It also can be good for the brain. Try activities like tennis or Zumba that force you to focus.
4. Have more sex.
You surely don't need convincing, right? But if you do, just remember the 10-year study by Dr. David Weeks, a British consultant clinical psychologist and former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. He found that those between the ages of 40 and 50 who reported having sex 50 percent more than other respondents looked five to seven years younger. It's not 100 percent clear why this was the case, although it could have something to do with the human growth hormone released during intercourse, which makes skin look more elastic. In addition to looking younger, sex also can help you live longer. Weeks cited a Welsh heart disease study from 1997 that found a 50 percent lower mortality risk in men who enjoyed two or more orgasms a week compared with men who reported fewer orgasms. In short, sexual satisfaction is key to maintaining a high quality of life.
5. Buy a better bra.
No, we're not talking about the special nighttime bras designed to prevent cleavage wrinkles -- (although they may be helpful too). We're talking about a better-fitting bra worn during the day. Indeed a proper-fitting bra can not only make a woman look taller and slimmer, but it also can make her look younger by giving aging breasts a real lift. Although there's no way to prevent the sagging that often comes with aging, experts say a good bra can actually delay the process. If that weren't enough, a good bra also can improve posture and ward off back pain.
6. Slow down and think positive.
Spiritual leader Deepak Chopra has told Oprah that one can reduce their age through the power of thought. He advises repeating a daily mantra and slowing down. "Change your relationship with time," he said. "Because if you're always in a hurry, then your biological clock will speed up. People who are saying, 'I'm running out of time,' their blood pressure goes up, their heart rate speeds up." His main maxim? "People don’t grow old; when they stop growing, they become old.”