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50+: Live Better, Longer

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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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That's what Willcox and his colleagues found when they related eating habits to death rates among 2,000 nonsmoking men. In his study, the men who consumed an average of 1,900 calories per day -- about 15% below the average for the entire group -- were less likely to die over the 36-year study period.

Nobody knows exactly how a lower calorie diet works to lengthen life. Perhaps the secret lies in a slower metabolism that comes with eating less food. A reduced metabolic rate means your body produces fewer free radicals.

Calorie reduction plans also lower the body's core temperature and insulin levels, two indicators of longevity. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that overweight people who cut their daily calorie intake by up to 25% were more likely to have a lower core body temperature and normal fasting levels of insulin in their blood.

Aging: We're all doing it. Perhaps combining a diet rich in "anti-aging" foods with fewer calories overall may help us do it better -- and live longer.

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Reviewed on December 19, 2008

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