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What to Put on Your Plate continued...

Nuts. The fats in nuts are among the healthiest you can find. If you avoid nuts because  they're high in fat, think again. In fact, one study showed that snacking on nuts cut the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol by about 20%. You only need to eat 1/4 of an ounce a day to get the benefits -- that’s about 4 almonds.

Beans and lentils. These foods give you loads of fiber and plant-based protein, so they’re an age-protecting alternative to red meat with saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Beans and lentils are inexpensive and easy to add to soups, casseroles, and side dishes.

Foods to Avoid

For the best anti-aging diet, it’s important to limit foods that can harm your body. It’s easy if you follow these three guidelines.

  • Go easy on high-fat meat, high-fat dairy, and bakery treats. The saturated fat found in these foods can clog your arteries, which can lead to heart problems.
  • Limit added sugar as much as possible. Eating too much sugar can send your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. Over time, excess calories may cause insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes damages your blood vessels and often leads to heart disease. "The less sugar you eat, the healthier you'll be," Pontius says. 
  • Spare the salt. Eating too much salt, or sodium, can raise your blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can damage many parts of your body, including your kidneys, your eyes, and your brain. Limit sodium to 2,400 milligrams -- about 1 teaspoon of table salt -- throughout your entire day. If you have high blood pressure, are 51 or older, are African-American, or have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, you should eat even less, no more than about 1,500 mg a day. Check labels for the sodium content in canned, frozen, and boxed foods. Packaged foods typically pack in a lot of salt -- you may be eating more than you realize.

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Henry S. Lodge, MD, is an associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University and co-author of Younger Next Year...More

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