Doing these five things may very well add an entire decade to your lifespan. Not doing them can take 10 years OFF your life. Which will it be?
“Adapting to an eating style similar to the Mediterranean diet,” begins Shana Spence, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in New York.
“I am not fond of the word ‘diet’ because of the negativity around it. So I like to call it the Mediterranean lifestyle because a lifestyle is something sustainable and how someone lives and goes about their routine daily.
“Following this lifestyle is more attainable because it’s easy to adapt and there is not a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ list.
“It has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular disease and decrease blood sugars for those with diabetes.
“Focusing on vegetables and fruits is part of this, like most eating patterns.
“But there is also an emphasis on healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and fatty fish like salmon are welcome.
“We now that these omega 3 filled foods actually help fight against heart disease.
“Of course the complex carbohydrates such as whole grains (whole wheat, oats, barley, quinoa).
“Yes, processed foods, refined sugars and red meat are avoided as much as possible, but it definitely is not something that people have to completely give up.”
• Don’t exercise when you feel like it; instead, schedule exercise sessions.
• Do both aerobic and strength training.
• Housework does not count. If housework falls on a weight training or cardio day, you still weight train or do the cardio.
Maintain a Desirable Body Weight
• You might think you look good despite being a size 20, but you should go beyond a subjective assessment of your mirror reflection and consult with a doctor about an ideal body weight range.
• Many gyms offer free body composition assessments; take advantage of this if you have a gym membership.
“We heard that the French drink wine and are supposedly one of the healthiest people, and ran with it,” says Spence.
“France has recently overhauled their food standards, and in addition to reducing refined carbohydrates (croissants and pastries), and meat and cheese, they too are reducing their recommended wine intake.
“Let’s be clear – alcohol is not good for us. Never was and never will be.
“Now does red wine have antioxidants? Yes, it sure does, it has resveratrol — but guess what else has this: grapes, blueberries, raspberries and a bunch of other healthy fruit.
“So there is nothing wrong with wanting to have a treat, but make sure it’s no more than one small glass [four ounces] of wine for women and two small glasses [eight ounces] of wine for men each day.”
• And if you’ve been smoking for years, quit.
• Try anything possible to quit if you feel it’s impossible.
Shana Spence of The Nutrition Tea is committed to providing trending information and nutrition facts covering a wide range including nutrition for heart disease and diabetes, pediatric nutrition and healthful lifestyles.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.