Conflicting diet plans and studies can make you confused about what you should eat and how often. Lots of protein/a hand full of protein, eggs are good/eggs are bad, you need milk for calcium/dairy is an allergen…. and so on. One thing, however, we can all agree on—the Standard American Diet is just not working for healthy longevity.
Like it or not, your health is impacted by what you eat and what we collectively eat has changed. The average American family used to survive on a diet of home grown or fresh produce, cooked from scratch. Now many live on processed foods with too much refined carbohydrates, trans fats and other unhealthy fats. Most food is grown with the use of toxic pesticides in soil devoid of nutrient producing essentials.
If you put low quality contaminated gas in your car, you know it’s not going to run right. The same is true of your body, fill it with processed, contaminated food and it’s likely to have problems. Problems like obesity and diabetes, to name just two. There are many others.
So how to navigate this labyrinth of opinions?
Follow some simple guidelines to eating for healthy longevity:
1. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
A healthy life span depends on glucose and insulin control, that is, keeping them as low and even as possible. So eat low glycemic, anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense foods and eliminate toxins. High vegetable and fruit consumption is a good way to start. Check out the Glycemic Index and pick the vegetables and especially the fruits which are low. You’ll find the leafy green vegetables are often the lowest which means they are the best addition to your diet for lower blood sugar levels.
2. Reduce inflammation.
Eliminate the “whites.” White sugar and white flour cause your body to make inflammatory proteins. In addition, insulin levels follow blood sugar levels. Excess insulin causes inflammation.
3. Eliminate toxins.
Toxins are poisons, the greater your toxic load the greater impact on your health. And, where possible, buy organic to lower your toxic intake.
4. Gain nutrients.
Your body’s fuel is made up of the nutrients it gains from food. Eat real food, not packaged and prepared foods–food that you make yourself from scratch. Add lean proteins and again shop organic, you don’t want to eat food raised on GMO corn and injected with antibiotics. Legumes come next followed by nuts and healthy fats like olive oil and fish oil.
These guidelines give you a blueprint for food choices which prevent disease and promote health. If the above form the majority of your food intake, well done– you are on a path to healthy aging. You will find you lose the taste for processed, high sugar foods. And it’s not just knowing you are eating right, the way you feel will be its own payoff as your body, just like the car, starts running smoothly.
I will be talking about eating for healthy longevity at this month’s Sklar Center event. When you understand the basis of eating to prevent disease and gain health it becomes a simple subject that is second nature to you. Join me in learning more on August 24 at the Sklar Center.