10 Ways to Improve Your Diet & Reverse Aging
“The truth is, aging is NOT inevitable”. - Sara Gottfried, MD
Reading “the breakthrough book on DNA, epigenetics, and aging”, Younger, by Dr. Sara Gottfried, has me thinking about the quality of my food intake lately. We hear so much about portion control and calorie counting, but what we eat is just as important as how much we eat. It is not enough to simply reduce refined sugars, though that is an excellent first step. Our body needs a plethora of nutrients that are only available through real, whole food, primarily fresh vegetables.
Eating veggies as part of a healthy diet is nothing new. Yet, how many people can say they have 80% vegetables on their plate at every meal? Food and health experts such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, Dr. Christian Northrup, author of Goddesses Never Age, and Natasha Turner, author of the Hormone Diet (to name a few) all agree that this is the ideal dietary practice. The remaining 20% of your plate should consist of high quality protein, such as legumes, wild caught fish, or organic meat.
Dr. Gottfried’s philosophy is intriguing: that “natural” signs of aging such as thinning hair, weight gain, fat accumulation, wrinkles and sagging skin are NOT the norm!
The first step to improving health and reversing aging is paying attention to what you are eating. In Younger, Gottfried uses the term called “food intimacy”, which inspired me to think about my relationship with food. To me “food intimacy” means being present when I am eating. It means developing a healthy relationship with food where I seek high quality nutrition that enhances the condition of my body. It’s eating for hunger rather than for recreation. Food intimacy is being in tune with my body’s needs for nutrients, learning to control cravings, and never, ever settling for junk!
Gottfried makes a clear plan to reset our relationship with food using a 7-week protocol. I am committed to following the plan and will keep you posted with results, though I encourage you to come along and do it with me!
Straight from the Younger Protocol, here are ten ways to improve your diet and get a Food-Face Lift!
1. Avoid processed food: If it comes in a package or box, has a long shelf life, and contains ingredients that are difficult to pronounce, toss it. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, processed foods are extremely addictive and they cause us to crave even more processed foods. They are designed to make you “feel good” but only while you’re eating them.
2. Buy or make fermented food: Sauerkraut, kimchi, and cultured vegetables are known to lower fasting blood sugar and are great for digestion. The cultures in fermented food also help repopulate your intestinal flora with beneficial bacteria.
3. Stock up on healthy fat: Not all fats are created equal. Try swapping in coconut oil, MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil, grass fed butter or ghee, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, or marine fats (omega-3 supplements and wild-caught fish). According to Gottfried, MCTs help you feel fuller than long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable oils. Additionally, MCTs can turn off the genes for Alzheimer’s, weight gain, and heart disease.
4. Don’t forget the protein: Have 3 to 4 oz. of animal or plant protein at each meal, and limit processed meat such as hot dogs, deli meats, or sausages. Red meat is associated with a greater risk of heart disease and cancer in men and women. Processed meat is linked to heart disease and diabetes.
5. Boost with BEND: Production of collagen declines with age, leading to wrinkles, loose skin, and weak joints. Canadian-made BEND Marine Collagen + Co-Factors is specially formulated to promote the production of healthy collagen in the skin, and it's available now at Thermae. Simply mix with water, or add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie to improve the integrity of your skin, hair, and nails. It's that easy! For a fantastic alternative that is also rich in collagen, try bone broth protein.
6. Go for organic vino: Gottfried suggests limiting or eliminating all alcohol, but makes an exception for organic red wine. Through her research, Gottfried found that grapes contained high levels of pesticide residue, landing them at #5 on the Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group. She explains that red wine, particularly Pinot Noir, contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that can help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. If you don’t drink red wine, you can take resveratrol as a supplement. Gottfried recommends a dose of 200 mg/day to fight the effects of aging on a cellular level and mimic the benefits of calorie restriction.
7. Pick up a bottle of berberine: This supplement is proven to help normalize serum glucose, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and assist with weight loss. Take berberine with the supplement milk thistle as they work synergistically together.
8. Practice intermittent fasting: Once a week, wait 12 - 18 hours between dinner and breakfast. For example, if you finish dinner at 7pm, wait to consume your next meal between 7am and 12pm. Intermittent fasting has been shown to slow down the aging process.
9. Avoid inflammatory foods: Dr. Fuhrman explains that those suffering from autoimmune disease (psoriasis, lupus, eczema) could be sensitive to gluten and dairy. Gottfried points out that avoiding these trigger foods can turn off the genes that contribute to inflammation.
10. Eat your veggies: The ideal diet contains 80% vegetables (mostly dark greens) and 20% protein. Omit refined carbohydrates. Sorry, no donuts :( or other foods that raise your blood sugar excessively. Gottfried explains that a quick elevation of blood sugar will be followed by a crash. You can measure your blood sugar by getting a blood test or taking the measurement before breakfast on your own with a home monitor.
These food-related best practices are just the beginning to get you feeling and looking younger than your years. Check out Sara Gottfried’s books, and follow us @AgeSmarter on Facebook and Instagram for more up to date research on aging.
With Warm Regards,
Founder of Thermae Centre for Advanced Aesthetics
Personally follow Hannah’s own beauty and health journey on Instagram here: @AgeSmarter