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50+: Live Better, Longer

Aging Well: Eating Right for Longevity

Is your diet the key to longevity? Find out why eating right just may mean aging right, too.
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Extra-virgin olive oil also offers beneficial levels of oleocanthal, a compound that mimics the effects of anti-inflammatory medications including aspirin and ibuprofen.

Tips:

It's good for you, but don't go overboard; olive oil is caloric. Limit total oil consumption to 7 teaspoons daily (assuming all of the added fat you use is from olive oil) on a 2,000-calorie diet; 5 for a 1,600-calorie plan.

  • Make salad dressing with one part olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar.
  • Choose olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
  • Lightly coat chopped broccoli, sweet or white potato, or carrots with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until done.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Produce provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as hundreds of anti-aging phytonutrients. When it comes to age-defying properties, some produce is better than others, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's tests for antioxidant activity.

Still, any fruit and vegetable is better than none. People who take in the most produce -- upwards of 10 servings a day -- have higher levels of antioxidants in their bloodstream, which probably translates to better aging. Produce-lovers also have stronger bones, thanks to the magnesium and potassium that fruits and vegetables supply (dark greens are also rich in vitamin K, necessary to bolster bones).

Top picks:

Fruit: Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, and cherries.

Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, artichokes, avocado, asparagus, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, and onions.

Tips:

  • Include berries at least once daily on top of breakfast cereals, in smoothies or salads, or snack on them as is.
  • Add dried cranberries or cherries to cooked whole grains.
  • Make a quick guacamole by mixing a ripe avocado and large, diced tomato with 1 tablespoon each of olive oil, fresh chopped cilantro leaves, and finely chopped onions.
  • Prepare a pumpkin smoothie with 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, and ground cinnamon and sugar to taste. Heat the remainder of the can as a side dish. Add chopped frozen kale or spinach to soups and pasta dishes.

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