The Anti-Aging Diet

A co-worker showed me a picture of the Krispy Kreme burger this week. If you have not heard of this nutritional monstrosity yet it is a bacon cheeseburger that uses a sliced Krispy Kreme® glazed donut in place of a bun. Legend has it this heart attack on a plate was created by Luther Vandross and when it was sold at the west Springfield agricultural festival in October of last year, they sold 1000 of them a day for 17 days! Estimates of total calories of this behemoth is between 850 and 1500 calories with at least 50 grams of fat. I could go on for pages about how one of these burgers ravages your body and accelerates aging but the focus of this blog is anti-aging so we will leave that topic for another time.

In anti-aging medicine the focus is to slow down the aging process and promote longevity, adding years to your life and life to your years. We are a generation that has collectively made a choice to fight the aging process every step of the way. Our retirement will be training for triathlons and hiking in the Rockies instead of shuffleboard, golf and rocking chairs.

Inflammation is the underlying cause of aging and disease. The goal of your diet should be to reduce this inflammation. So what do we need to include in our diet to achieve these goals? Read on…

  1. I have written in prior blogs that adding fruits and vegetables to your diet pretty much dwarfs almost anything else you can do to promote health and longevity. Try to eat 500 grams of vegetables and 300 grams of fruit daily. This is generally 5 servings or cups of vegetables daily and 3 cups of fruit. Generally aim for a variety but focus on dark green and brightly colored vegetables such as spinach and red peppers.  Focus on berries for fruit servings.
  2. Aim for a 40/30/30 ratio of carbohydrates/protein/fat. Made popular by the book The Zone Diet it offers the healthiest combination of nutrients by giving your body a variety of fuels and the protein and fat consumed with each meal slows down carbohydrate absorption and a steady blood sugar level. Steady blood sugar levels equal low insulin levels which reduces the inflammatory state of your body and make it easier to lose weight.
  3. Include foods rich in anti-oxidants on a regular basis. Fruits and vegetables have been discussed already and provide a lot of these free radical scavenging nutrients. Other foods rich in anti-oxidants include onions, garlic, green tea, red wine and dark chocolate. These foods all provide different types of compounds referred to as phytonutrients and provide a variety of protective affects from fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, and detoxing our bodies of the harmful substances we are exposed to in our foods and environment.
  4. Include high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. If you read my prior blog on omega 3 supplements you will understand the many benefits of this powerful nutrient. Found in large amount in fatty, cold water fish such as Salmon, Omega-3s help to reduce the inflammatory state of your body, can reduce triglycerides and increase the good cholesterol HDL, and improve the health of your skin and hair. In addition you should be taking a purified fish oil supplements. I recommend 2 – 3 grams for most people but if you have autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus, Cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, or if you have a high CRP (lab test that measures inflammation) I would increase to 6 – 8 grams daily. If you take a blood thinner called Coumadin® however you should discuss taking fish oil supplements with your physician before starting.
  5. Avoid drinking your calories. Our bodies are not meant to ingest concentrated liquid calories; it rapidly increases blood sugar and insulin levels which is a major cause inflammation in your body. Stick with purified water as your main source of liquid intake. Mix in unsweetened green tea and red wine in moderation for additional anti-oxidant sources
  6. Drink alcohol in moderation if at all. Alcohol is neurotoxic so the old joke,” I killed a few million brain cells last night,” is a little more than just a joke. Alcohol in moderation has some health benefits but those brain cells you are killing do not regenerate so over time the damage is cumulative.

These are great first steps to get you going on your own personal anti-aging program. If you want to feel the results of eating to promote super wellness take this challenge:

For the next 7 days include the following in your diet and pay attention to the affects it has on your body and mind:

  1. Get in 4 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit daily for the next 7 days. Start the day with a smoothie with a cup of berries – any assortment but include blueberries. For lunch eat a large salad with mixed greens or spinach leaves with at least 2 other vegetables of your choice. Make sure there is protein in the salad – chicken, fish, or other protein source of your choosing as well as in your smoothie such as natural peanut butter or whey protein to make sure your are getting the 40/30/30 distribution of nutrients. For dinner stick with a 4 – 5 oz serving of protein such as lean meat or fish with a couple servings of steamed vegetables – try to include broccoli as one serving.
  2. Drink at least 6 glasses a day of purified water daily
  3. If you need to snack in between meals, stick with nuts, seeds, and low fat yogurt with active cultures.
  4. Add a glass of red wine or a serving of dark chocolate a few days a week.
  5. Take 3- 4 grams of Omega 3 supplements daily
  6. For the 7 days try to avoid anything that has the following ingredients:
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Enriched flour (white bread, white rice, pasta, crackers etc)
  • Sweetened drinks
  • Anything from a fast food restaurant
  • Processed meats

I guarantee if you can get through a week following these guidelines you will have more energy, better digestive function, less hunger, and better focus and clarity.

Until next time, Stay healthy and live well. – Dr. Mike

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Dr. Michael Heim

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