Whether you are 20, 30, 40 or 50-something, staying youthful into your 70s, 80s and 90s requires incorporating some of the exciting nutritional information that has come to light in the last few years. There are no short cuts that will ensure longevity, but researchers have determined that changes in diet, lifestyle and the addition of some special supplemental anti-aging nutrients can eliminate or significantly delay the diseases that prematurely claim the lives of 80% of Americans. "Foods" You Can Live Longer Without Your dietary strategy for a long, healthy life begins by recognizing, then reducing or eliminating foods that steal your youth. Eat Less Sugar.
The average American consumes 60 teaspoons of sugar every day, an amazing 155 pounds a year. Your pancreas must produce a tremendous amount of insulin to transport all that sugar into your body. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin you must produce. Once considered to be age-related, life-shortening conditions such as atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure and adult-onset diabetes now appear avoidable by, among other things, lowering your insulin levels. An occasional sweet won't kill you, but if you want to live to be 102 make sugary foods the exception rather than the rule.
Watch Out for "Bad" Fats Rather than restricting all fats in your diet, cut out the fats that can make you grow old. Trans-fat, also known as hydrogenated fat, is found in margarine and many processed foods and may be the most dangerous fat of all. This man-made non-food is unrecognizable to the body and triggers a torrent of free radical activity. Free radicals are destructive, unbalanced molecules that are now thought to be responsible for many degenerative diseases and premature aging in general. Add years to your life by replacing bad fats with the fats that keep you young; olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil and fish oil.
Be Careful of How You Cook Meats Depending on the type of meat and how you prepare it, meat can promote health or accelerate the aging process. Recently discovered heterocyclic amines (HCAs), created during the browning process, can put you at risk for developing both heart disease and cancer. Research studies have shown HCAs to be powerful free radical activators that damage our cells' DNA and cause colon, breast, pancreatic, liver and bladder cancer. They also attack heart cell mitochondria, the cell's energy factory, and can cause heart attacks. It appears that subjecting meat and poultry to very high temperatures during frying, broiling, grilling and barbecuing generates an especially high amount of HCAs. Roasting or baking meats produce less HCAs, and stewing creates almost none.
To preserve your youth, eliminate bacon, which is the worst offender, and limit your intake of red meat. What type of animal protein is good for you? Fish is thought to be extremely beneficial and should be eaten 2-3 times a week. Sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring are all high in protective Omega-3 fatty acids. Lower your animal protein intake in general by replacing some of it with vegetable proteins like raw nuts and seeds, sprouts, peas and beans such as garbanzo, kidney, pinto, black, white, northern and lentils.
Soybean foods, high in antioxidant protection, are especially good. Eat for The Long Haul The amount of food you eat has a tremendous effect on the number of years you live. In laboratory studies, researchers found that animals fed less calories lived longer than control groups. If these findings hold true for humans, and scientists see no reason why they would not, the average American could live to be 102 years old by lowering his or her caloric intake 30%. Of course, the quality of these calories matters a great deal.
Foods should be eaten in their natural state whenever possible. Avoid processed and refined grains, which have been stripped of many nutrients and actually rob your body of vital elements you need to stay young. Don't buy packaged foods that use the word "enriched" in their list of ingredients. These foods are marketed for profit, not health. They are nutritionally challenged and will not sustain you.
For optimum health and longevity, eat a moderate amount of whole grains and rotate them in your diet. Some good choices include wild or brown rice, millet, buckwheat, barley, corn, oats, amaranth, and quinoa. We Americans eat way too much wheat. To decrease the amount of wheat you eat, eliminate your bread, pasta and cereal made from wheat for a week. Then have wheat no more than once or twice a week. No grain should be eaten more often than that or you run the risk of developing a sensitivity to it.
Increase vegetables and fruits to 40-45% of your total food intake and buy organic produce when possible to avoid the chemical pesticides and fertilizers used to grow commercial produce. The antioxidant protection of fruits and vegetables is an absolute necessity to avoid the degenerative diseases that shorten life. Some amazing fruits and vegetables are the avocados, berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruit, grapes, onions, spinach and tomatoes. Get Sleep If you want to live an extra long life, sleep is a MUST! For millions of years, before the light bulb was invented, we humans were asleep or at rest during the dark hours. The body is genetically designed to take advantage of that down time to do its repair work.
Optimum regeneration and rejuvenation of cells and recharging of the immune system can only take place when you are asleep, allowing the body to channel its energy inward. Without sufficient sleep (most people need 6-8 hours), you wake up each morning a little older than you would with adequate rest. Use Sunscreen (Active Skin Formulas is GREAT!) 10 Ways to Live to Be 100 *Exercise regularly. *Eat frugally and emphasize high-fiber foods.
Reduce salt, fat, fried foods and refined sugars and avoid artificial preservatives and food coloring. *Drink pure water with a high mineral content. *Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. *Avoid loneliness.
*Cultivate positive, mutually supportive relationships with family and friends. *Emphasize homeopathic and herbal medicines to prevent disease and treat conditions. *Enjoy regular sex--even into old age. *Rarely drink alcohol or smoke. *Put more emphasis on enjoying life rather than pursuing wealth.
Helen Golden has over 15 years experience as a wellness expert and co-developed Active Skin Formulas. She has been been fetured on CNN, Good Things Utah, Park City TV, The Rick Sanchez Show and others. http://www.activeskinformulas.com