When Melanie Avalon, 32, decided to pursue a career in comedy, she was well aware that women in her industry expected to look young forever, so she started looking for ways to turn back the clock.
“I used to do ‘biohacking’ before it was really a thing, like when I was in college,” she says. Avalon was engrossed in all things health and wellness, including dietary changes like intermittent fasting.
But after college, Avalon faced health challenges, like chronic fatigue from exposure to black mold and a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, that prompted her to start looking for ways to feel better. physically better.
This inevitably led her to a new venture, “The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast”, where she interviews longevity experts on healthy aging.
“Honestly, the anti-aging play is pretty selfish. I used to do a lot of theater and I was always haunted by the fear of getting older, and so, I was always really interested in longevity from that perspective,” she said. tells CNBC Make It.
“I thought a biohacking podcast would be the perfect platform to actually connect with all these authors, doctors (and) researchers and ask them all my questions, and share what I’ve learned with other people. “
188 episodes later, here’s what Avalon learned from veteran longevity experts she interviewed about healthy aging.
Getting enough sleep is “the cornerstone of a healthy life”
“A lot of things about sleep are really consistent, and I think looking after your sleep is the cornerstone of healthy living, anti-aging (and) longevity,” Avalon says.
Here are some tips for better sleep that Avalon has heard from several experts:
- Wearing blue-light blocking glasses at night while staring at screens: “You can actually get your body to go into a more natural rhythm,” she says.
- Keep your bedroom really dark and cool
- Limit social media use before bed
Exposure to extreme heat and cold could impact how you age
In conversations with researchers and experts, Avalon says, exposure to extreme heat and cold was often mentioned.
“Before our modern lifestyle, we were exposed to extreme temperatures, and this actually has an anti-aging effect because it activates cellular pathways and stress signals that create repair patterns in our bodies,” adds- she.
Saunas activate heat shock proteins that may extend your lifespan and benefit cardiovascular health, according to a 2021 systematic review published in the journal Elsevier.
“On the other hand, exposure to cold is good for inflammation. It can activate something called ‘brown fat’ (brown adipose tissue) which is actually a type of fat that burns energy and is good for weight loss and body composition,” says Avalon.
Researchers at Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School made brown fat tissue more active in mice and found that their lifespan increased. More research is needed on how this translates to humans.
Exposure to cold can be achieved in several ways, including:
- Go out in cold weather
- Take cold showers
“Moderate alcohol consumption is probably better than complete abstinence”
“If you have a thesis on alcohol and health, and you want to make an argument one way or the other, like if you want to say it’s the worst thing there is or it’s the elixir of longevity, I promise you can find 100 studies to make your case on either side of the spectrum,” Avalon says.
For her podcast, she appeals to people of all different opinions, and “alcohol is always a J-shaped curve,” she says. When you look at the blue zones, the populations with the highest life rates to age 100 and the highest middle-age life expectancies, almost all of them incorporate alcohol into their diets to some degree, she notes.
“For most people,” Avalon says, “it seems like low to moderate drinking is probably better than complete abstinence, and certainly better than extreme drinking, for longevity.”
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