Eat healthier, live longer

Eating right isn’t just about staying ahead of weight gain. More and more research suggests that the best strategies for losing weight may also help slow down the aging process. Here are some of the top science-based tips to help you turn back the clock.

1. Have a daily dose of omega-3s.

Getting the recommended amount of this beneficial fat can help lower cholesterol, keep cells functioning properly, and combat inflammation, which reduces your risk of a heart attack. [1,2]

How: There are different types omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.[2] The first kind, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is found in fatty fish. [2,17]  Aim to have two 3-ounce servings of salmon, herring, lake trout or other fatty fish a week. [2] The omega-3 fatty acid that is predominant in foods such as flaxseeds and walnuts is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). [2] Try snacking on 1 ounce of nuts (about 7 nuts) [17,18] or adding 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds to your diet each day.

2. Eat antioxidants often.

These nutrients -- found in fruits, vegetables and grains -- protect our cells from harmful free radicals. [4] But some, such as vitamin C, are water soluble, which means they are not stored in your body, so you have to replenish them regularly. [3]

How: Getting enough vitamin C is easy if you have produce with every snack and meal. Keep in mind that vitamin C degrades in produce as it ages, so eat as fresh as possible. Fortified cereals can also be great sources, since the vitamin C remains stable in them, as long as they are not heated. [4,15]

3. Double your fiber.

Different types of fiber may help keep blood sugar levels steadier and promote heart health. [5,6] In fact, according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, every additional 10g of dietary fiber consumed daily is associated with reducing the risk of death from heart disease. [5] The daily recommendation is 25g per day, although most Americans eat half that amount or less. [6,7]

How: Add apples or raspberries to high-fiber cereals and salads. Mix lentils and barley into soups. Snack on toasted chickpeas. [7]

4. Savor your meals.

Eating slowly can help you control calories: One study found that women who ate at slower rates felt fuller and ate fewer calories than those who ate more quickly. [8]

How: Stop when you're satisfied (about 80% full), not stuffed.

5. Get about 25% of calories from healthy fats.

The good-for-you variety -- like monounsaturated fatty acids -- can lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol. For a 1,600-calorie diet, that’s about 44 g of total fat per day. Avoid saturated and trans fats, which are found in animal products, such as fatty beef, cream, butter and full-fat dairy, and may raise cholesterol levels. [9]

How: Healthy fats include 2-ounce servings of pistachios, almonds or avocado; or 1 tablespoon of olive oil.[9,10,11]

6. Pack protein into every snack and meal.

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. [12,13,14]

How: Women should aim to get 46 grams of protein per day, while men should aim for 56 g. [12,13] Great sources of lean protein like skinless white-meat chicken, egg whites and fish, [12,13] make it easy to reach your daily goals. For example, just one serving of salmon (about the size of a checkbook) has 19 g of protein. [16]


1. Matthew F. Muldoon Christopher M. Ryan Lei Sheu Jeffrey K. Yao Sarah M. Conklin and Stephen B. Manuck

Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid Is Associated with Cognitive Functioningduring Middle Adulthood

J Nutr. 2010 Apr;140(4):848-53.

2. Mayo Clinic: Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid

Accessed 7/2/2013

3. Office of Dietary Supplements Vitamin C

Accessed 7/2/2013

4. Medline Plus Antioxidants

Accessed 7/2/2013

5. Martinette T Streppel, Marga C Ocké, Hendriek C Boshuizen, Frans J Kok, and Daan Kromhout Dietary fiber intake in relation to coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality over 40 y: the Zutphen Study

Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88:1119 –25.

6. Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber

Accessed 7/2/2013

7. University of Florida IFAS Extension

Nutrition for Health and Fitness: Fiber and Your Diet:

Accessed 7/2/2013

8. Andrade AMGreene GWMelanson KJ.

Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women.

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1186-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.026.

9. American Heart Association: Know your fats

Accessed 7/2/2013

10. CDC: Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats

Accessed 7/2/2013

11. Mayo Clinic: Nuts and Heart Health:

Accessed 7/2/2013

12. American Heart Association: Protein and Heart Health

Accessed 7/2/2013

13. CDC Protein:

Accessed 7/2/2013

14. NIH: Cell Ageing and Death

Accessed 7/2/2013


Vitamin C degradation during storage of fortified foods

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research Vol. 45, 2006, No. 2, pp. 55-61

16. USDA Database Salmon

Accessed 8/6/2013

17. Linus Pauling Institute: Essential Fatty Acids

Accessed 8/21/2013

18. USDA Database: Walnuts:

Accessed 8/21/2013
by the Publishers of Prevention