Top 6 Anti-Aging Diet Rules

Shed unwanted pounds and slow aging with these top eating tipsShed unwanted pounds and slow aging with these top eating tipsMore and more research suggests that what we eat is linked to how long we live.
Cheryl Forberg, RD, resident nutritionist on The Biggest Loser, sets eating guidelines to help the contestants get healthy. "What works best for weight loss helps slow the aging process as well," says Forberg, an expert in anti-aging nutrition. Read her top science-based tips to turn back the clock.

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1. Have omega-3s daily

"I like to call them the anti-aging fat," say Forberg. Getting the recommended amount can help lower cholesterol, keep cells functioning properly, and combat inflammation, which reduces your risk of cancer, stroke, and heart attack. Flaxseed, walnuts, and some leafy greens contain omega-3s, but seafood is the best source. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that DHA, an omega-3 found in cold-water, fatty fish, helps keep aging brains healthy.

Add it: Have two 3-ounce servings of salmon, herring, lake trout, or other fatty fish a week; and a daily serving of ground flaxseed, walnuts, soybean oil, spinach, or kale.

2. Eat antioxidants often

These nutrients slow the aging process by protecting our cells from harmful free radicals. But some, such as vitamin C, are water soluble. "That means they only remain in our body for 4 to 6 hours, so you have to replenish regularly," explains Forberg. Vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables are loaded with these disease-fighting substances.

Add it: Have a fruit or veggie at every meal and snack--and aim for three to five different colors a day.

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3. Double your fiber
It may help protect against cancer and can keep blood sugar levels steady and promote heart health. In fact, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, every additional 10 g of dietary fiber consumed daily reduces the risk of death from coronary heart disease by 17%. The daily recommendation is 25 to 35 g per day; most Americans eat half or less.

Add it: Boost your intake with star sources: cooked lentils (8 g per 1/2 cup), cooked chickpeas (6 g per 1/2 cup), barley (16 g per 1/2 cup), apples (4 g in one medium), and raspberries (8 g per cup).

4. Stop before you're full

Centenarians in Okinawa, Japan, practice this eating ritual; they also consistently consume a lower-calorie diet--which researchers hypothesize is a key component to longevity. Eating slowly can automatically help control calories: One study found that women who ate at slower rates felt fuller and ate fewer calories than those who ate more quickly.

Fix it: The key is to stop when you're satisfied, not stuffed, says Forberg. A reminder: "You shouldn't have to unbutton or unzip anything."

BEWARE: Avoid these 8 Diet And Exercise Mistakes That Age You.

5. Eat enough healthy fats
The good-for-you variety--like monounsaturated fatty acids--can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, studies suggest that a higher intake of these fats may also contribute to longer life expectancy. Ideally, you should get about 25% of your daily calories (or 44 g based on a 1,600-calorie diet) from healthy fats.

Add it: Healthy fats include 1/4 cup of pistachios (7 g), 1/4 cup of almonds (11 g), 1 tablespoon of olive oil (10 g) or 1/4 cup of avocado (3.5 g).

6. Pack in protein
Protein provides essential building blocks for the daily repair of nearly every single cell in your body. Getting enough is critical to your health and vitality, especially as you get older, when cellular damage can become more frequent. Aim to get 30% of your daily calories (or 120 g based on a 1,600-calorie diet) from lean protein.

Add it: Good sources of protein include skinless white meat from chicken, pork, or turkey (about 21 g per 3 ounces), fat-free milk (8 g per cup), egg whites (7 g for two), and beans (about 8 g per 1/2 cup).

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