Aging well has always been my goal.
In fact, for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to live to be 100. Not just any 100, but a vibrant, satisfying kind of century-old status.
I watched my father slip away—first mentally, then physically—with dementia. And I accompanied my mother as she journeyed toward her death. On many levels, I believe the health decline that led to her passing could have been prevented had she been proactive with her lifestyle. Alas, she was not. She only started taking intentional walks in her last year or so. And up until her final months her diet included lots of diet drinks and simple carbohydrates.
Recently additional family members have been diagnosed with conditions I desperately want to avoid, and so:
I launched my journey to source the best practices for aging well.
I began with Max Lugavere’s New York Times best-selling book, Genius Foods.* Lugavere’s mother passed with a heartbreaking combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. With both conditions in my family tree, his book seemed a logical place to start.
I was comforted to learn I was already frequently consuming all ten of Lugavere’s “genius foods.” His list includes: almonds, wild salmon, broccoli, dark leafy greens, grass-fed beef, eggs, dark chocolate, blueberries, avocados, and lots of extra virgin olive oil.
Pro-Tip: If you haven’t already made the switch, think about purchasing organic produce whenever possible. For two reasons. Toxins and pesticides are top risk factors for Parkinson’s Disease. In addition, organic produce is higher in antioxidant polyphenols. Research has shown polyphenols to be protective against inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
To Lugavere’s list of genius foods I would add green tea. Green tea wasn’t on Lugavere’s radar, but a whole lot of other anti-aging gurus drink multiple cups of green tea daily.
Anti-aging experts also agree on a list of foods to avoid.
Those foods include:
- “FrankenFoods”: Processed foods which are hyper-palatable and nutrient poor. They typically are packaged in plastic, cardboard, or cans.
- Worrisome oils (ie. canola, corn, soybean, “vegetable,” etc.)
- Sugar: in most of its forms
- Gluten: You may remember I wrote about decreasing gluten intake in this blog post.
Pro-Tip: For unheated foods and salad dressings, use high quality extra virgin olive oil. For cooking, use an oil like avocado which can withstand higher cooking temperatures than EVOO.
Also consider giving intermittent fasting a try.
Remember this blog post about IF? Tony and I are still at it.
If the thought of any kind of fasting intimidates you, read Dave Asprey’s book, Fast This Way.* This book includes lots of ways to fast as well as several ways to make fasting easier.
Try one of these baby steps toward intermittent fasting.
- Eliminate the meal you feel least passionate about. For many people this is breakfast.
- Eat dinner early then don’t snack afterwards.
- Do all your eating in an eight-hour “window,” instead of non-stop calorie consumption from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.
Click here to read 10 benefits of intermittent fasting.
Guess what the #1 food item is that you should be eating?
If you subscribe to my Foodie Friends monthly newsletter you already know this.
In one study that followed 1,600+ adults for an entire decade, fiber consumption determined healthy aging more than any other variable studied, including sugar intake. Increase your fiber consumption with vegetables and fruits instead of grains.
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