Is There an Anti-Aging Diet?
While there’s lots of nutrition quackery on the internet about miracle foods and supplements to slow aging, these claims have little to no scientific merit. Unfortunately, no single food or diet has been proven to fight aging. What research has shown is that certain dietary patterns might reduce rates of age-related diseases, improving your number of healthy years, or what scientists call your “health span.”
Places known as “Blue Zones” have sparked a lot of interest among researchers for their high numbers of centenarians. Okinawa, Japan and Ikaria, Greece (among others) seem to share common diet characteristics—namely, a preference toward plant-based foods.
A traditional Okinawan diet also has similarities to the robustly researched Mediterranean diet, Portfolio diet and DASH diet. These healthy eating patterns have both physical and mental health benefits for aging, like protecting against heart disease and delaying dementia. Importantly—and unlike fads you might come across online—these diets are easy and enjoyable to follow long-term.
All of these healthy eating patterns include:
High intake of unrefined carbohydrates including vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Moderate protein intake with emphasis on plant-based proteins like legumes and soy with some fish and lean meats
Healthy fats with emphasis on mono- and polyunsaturated fats, omega-3’s and reduced saturated fat
Variations of the Mediterranean diet are followed throughout countries like Italy, Spain and Greece, but commonly include:
Lots of veggies and fruits
Legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
Nuts, seeds and olives
Some fish and poultry in moderation
Limited red meat
Olive oil as the main fat source
Moderate intake of wine with meals
Regular exercise and sharing meals with loved ones are also important parts of a healthy lifestyle.
The Portfolio diet is all about adding healthy foods into your meals rather than cutting things out. The “portfolio” is a combination of healthy eating patterns shown to lower cholesterol, and you can incorporate as many or as few of these patterns as you’d like into your diet. Start with adding one of these healthy foods into your day and go from there.
30 grams (or 1 ounce) of raw almonds
20 grams soluble fiber (from fruits, vegetables, legumes and psyllium fibre cereal)
50 grams soy protein (from soy milk and tofu)
2 grams plant sterols (from a supplemented margarine)
5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension, is an eating plan that lowers blood pressure by increasing intake of vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy products and limiting intake of fat (most importantly saturated fat) and cholesterol.
For more information on these diets, visit:
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