The topic of this article might have triggered some elements of surprise especially when you consider the fact that, on the other side it’s someone you barely know asking to know your age. But before you draw your conclusion, I implore you to take few minutes – 4-5 minutes should do – to have a grasp of what this is about.

Though it is often said that ‘age is nothing but number' but there are yet a couple of things that could tell the story beyond that number. It is in this view that the terms such as ‘biological age’ and ‘chronological age’ are distinctively used to differentiate and/or speak volume of the changes that had occurred right from our stay in the cradle to this very moment.

While chronological reflects the number of years you have already spent on earth, biological age communicates something much more significant and this often gives an insight on the physiological status of the body. Ever wondered why some persons look older than they really are while others, even without any form of cosmetic manipulation, remain trim, sharp and may be ‘forever young’; it's all down to the biological age which can be affected by certain factors.

Besides, the decline in the physiological status that may accompany aging; there are an ample of phenotypic traits that could yet indicate the rate at which one is aging biologically. For instance, the onset of baldness and wrinkling of skin in one’s twenties could serve as markers for premature aging. However, it has to be stated that greying of hair within such age-range does not necessarily signify premature aging.

Factors influencing the aging process
It is a known fact that not all individuals age at the same rate even in circumstances whereby they share the same chronological age. There are a host of factors that affect the way a person ages in one way or another. Some of these factors are hereby discussed:

Diet: Dietary plan has so much importance in the way we age – whether poorly or in a healthy manner. So important is our diet that nutritionists have chosen to embrace the saying that “you are what you eat”. Sugary foods, as well as fruits that have high fat content – especially low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol – and junk foods are reported to speed up the aging process. Plus, these foods are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and also promote the generation of free radicals. By the way, free radicals are capable of damaging the cells thus bringing about metabolic dysfunction. It is in fighting the negative effect of such food that dietary intake of meals rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and minerals becomes highly recommended.

Stress: A life of stress is bound to age prematurely. Stress further adds to the free radical load which eventually has detrimental effect on one’s body. The skin wrinkles faster, productivity slows down and in no distant time, one may be looking old even while his/her chronological age reads thirty-something. So, rather than you soaking up the stress, you should learn to make out time to ease off probably by visiting a spa, meditating or just rest without having to burden yourself with the ‘things of the world’.

Exposure to excessive UV radiation: You may have heard that the sun is good for the health of the skin since Vitamin D is made available for use but too much of it is in no wise advisable. Staying in the sun unprotected for prolonged period of time will have a damaging effect on your skin. The sun is however not the only source of radiation that can be deleterious to the cells and DNA; devices such as microwave oven, mobile phones, Bluetooth, TV and so on also give off some degree of radiation that may be injurious to an individual in the long run. If you have been victimized by the sun as it regards premature aging, you should consider using some sort of protection as from now on. You can use sunblock cream and stay off the sun-tanning routine if you are one heck of a freak at it.

Also, for their significance in collagen production, foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, green vegetables and fruits such as carrots oranges grapefruit and strawberry are good for the health of the skin. Again, it is important that one prevents dehydration by taking water regularly.

Lifestyle: On the whole, the way each and everyone of us lives his or her life goes a long way to reflect in the biological age sooner or later in life. Moreover, no law is against one living longer in sound health of mind and body. However, a sedentary lifestyle will not only make one age faster but also caused the loss of certain physiological function early in life.

Furthermore, alcohol intake and cigarette smoking are two dangerous acts that can lead to premature aging. I can vividly recall how cigarette commercial always come with the rider that “…smokers are liable to die young”. I have however come to realize that what they were saying in essence was that smokers are predisposed to accelerated aging. Imagine someone in his or her thirties having to depend on a pair of lungs looking aged like that of an elderly. The probability of survival/longevity decreases with every stick of cigarette ‘burned’ and this could also apply to the alcoholics.

In conclusion; it is quite impossible to control your chronological age but you can do something about your biological age. This, you can do by living right...maintaining an active mind, doing exercises religiously and avoiding those junk foods while eating right then you can boldly show the world that age is nothing but number.