Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Nutrition Diva: 5 Ways to Slow Aging

    Several years ago, I co-wrote a book about anti-aging medicine. My co-author was a physician who practices anti-aging medicine in Northern California and the book basically outlines the protocols he uses in his practice. We wrote a lot about what causes the signs and diseases of aging at the cellular and molecular level.

    And then, we spelled out everything you can do to forestall aging—everything from diet and exercise to vitamin supplements, drugs and hormone injections.

    Now, the idea of looking and feeling like a 30-year-old when I’m 60 is as appealing to me as it is to anyone. But even as I was writing this book, it was clear to me that I did not have the discipline—or the discretionary funds—to mount this sort of massive frontal assault on the aging process.

    Instead, I took everything I learned writing that book and formulated a guerrilla campaign against aging—underfunded and somewhat haphazard but highly effective.

    My Guerrilla Campaign Against Aging

    If you want to live a long and healthy life, but don’t want to make a full-time job out of it, here are the five things that I think will get you furthest--no pills, shots, or trust funds required.
    1. Maintain a healthy weight

    Last year I went to a medical conference at Tufts University entitled "Living Well to 100." Toward the end of the conference, a large panel of powerhouse researchers were asked to agree on a short list of the most important factors in healthy longevity.

    The #1 recommendation was to maintain a healthy weight!

    But fad diets aren't the answer. You may lose a bunch of weight at first, but chances are that weight will come right back on unless you make lasting changes in your eating habits. For tips and tools that can help you maintain a healthy weight, check out the Dieting and Weight Loss Resource Center at or the American Cancer Society’s Great American Eat Right Challenge.

    2. Limit your sugar intake

    One thing I learned from writing the Life Extension Revolution is that, in terms of the aging process, eating a lot of sugar is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.
    This came as a real blow to me because I have quite a sweet tooth. Where some people crave salty snacks or fried foods, I crave those little red Swedish fish. I mean, I've really got a problem with them.

    I used to think that as long as I kept my weight under control and was getting all the required nutrients, I could enjoy whatever sweets I wanted to. I’ve reformed my ways. I can’t say I’ve given up Swedish fish completely. But I’ve cut way back on them and other sweet treats. If I can do it, you can, too.

    3. Eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day

    Vegetables are the closest thing we have to a magic bullet against aging and disease. And the dietary habit that most people slack on is eating enough vegetables. The USDA recommends that we eat at least five servings of vegetables a day and up to four servings of fruit.

    That might sound completely undoable but keep in mind that a serving of vegetables is only a half cup, or about the size of a small ice cream scoop. Still, I find that if I don’t include a serving or two of fruit or vegetables at every meal and snack, I end up falling short for the day. So, make it a point to include some sort of fruits and/or vegetables with every meal and snack. The wider the variety, the better.

    4. Exercise regularly

    It really will keep you looking younger and feeling healthier. And it’s easier than people think. You don’t have to join a gym or buy equipment. Just lace up your shoes and take a brisk 30-minute walk every day. You can even break it up into two or three shorter walks if it’s easier to fit it in.

    To rejuvenate your body and your attitude at the same time, make play a part of your life again. Play tennis with your brother, toss a Frisbee to the dog, or kick the soccer ball around with the kids. Put up the badminton net and bat the birdie around while the charcoal gets going. Just do it.

    For more ideas on how to get more physical activity into your life, check out

    5. Get enough sleep

    Whenever I see people wearing those t-shirts that say, "I’ll sleep when I’m dead," I think to myself that they will probably get the chance sooner than they think! Skimping on sleep speeds the aging process and promotes disease by increasing the level of cortisol and other stress hormones in your body.

    Researchers at the University of Chicago did studies where they kept some college kids up at night. (I find this amusing because in my neighborhood, which is close to two big universities, it’s the other way around: The college kids keep the professors up at night!) In any case, after a few days, the hormone levels of these students were indistinguishable from the hormone levels of 60-year-olds.

    If you are getting less than seven or eight hours of sleep a night, you are probably aging faster than you should. The good news is that you can undo the damage by reforming your sleep habits.

    My top 5 anti-aging and health-enhancing recommendations

    1. Maintain a healthy weight

    2. Limit your sugar intake

    3. Eat more fruits and vegetables daily

    4. Exercise regularly

    5. Get enough sleep

    About Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva
    Monica Reinagel is a board-certified Licensed Nutritionist and a professionally-trained chef. She is the host of the Nutrition Diva podcast which is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network. She has authored three books on health and nutrition, developed recipes and diet plans for websites and other publications. Monica's professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the American Guild of Musical Artists.

    Reprinted by arrangement with Quick and Dirty Tips, a division of Macmillan Holdings, LLC.

    Overall Health & Nutrition
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