What dietary factors are important in Anti-Aging?
Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major contributors to a reduced life span, dietary strategies associated with protection against these killers apply to anti-aging as well. Here are the key dietary recommendations:
1. Eat a “Rainbow” Assortment of Fruits and Vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best bet for preventing virtually every chronic disease as well as fighting the aging process.
2. Eat to Support Blood Sugar Control. Concentrated sugars, refined grains, and other sources of simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and excessive glycosylation.
3. Reduce Intake of Meat and Other Animal Foods. Considerable evidence indicates that a high intake of red or processed meat increases the risk of mortality, i.e., people die sooner.
4. Eat the Right Type of Fats. The goal is to decrease total fat intake (especially intake of saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and omega-6 fats) while increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.
5. Keep Salt Intake Low, Potassium Intake High. Eat less processed foods and salt while increasing the intake of whole foods.
6. Avoid Food Additives. Food additives include such substances as preservatives, artificial flavorings, and acidifiers.
7. Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water Each Day. Water is essential for life. Drink at least 48 ounces of water per day. Even mild dehydration impairs body functions.
How do I know if the recommendations are working?
Get a blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP). This compound is a marker for systemic inflammation. There are many factors that trigger silent inflammation including resistance to the hormone insulin, obesity, emotional stress, environmental toxins, low antioxidant intake, and increased exposure to free radicals (e.g., radiation, smoking, etc.) Measuring CRP provides a general assessment of the aging process. Higher levels are associated with accelerated cellular aging as many of the factors that promote inflammation also promote early aging as well.