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What to Put on Your Plate continued...

If you typically get tuna from a can, choose albacore packed in water for the most omega-3s. If you don't eat fish, ask your doctor if you should take fish oil supplements.

Dairy. The calcium and fortified vitamin D in dairy foods are crucial to strong bones. They help prevent osteoporosis, for instance. Include 3 cups of low-fat milk, yogurt, or other dairy products a day. By choosing low-fat instead of regular dairy, you’ll help keep your cholesterol levels in check, making you less likely to get heart disease.

If you don't eat dairy, look for other foods (like soy milk, almond milk, or cereals) that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

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 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. 

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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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