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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Linda and Dawn

Four lifestyle habits—not smoking, not being obese, 30 minutes of exercise a day, and eating plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains with little or no meat—can effectively turn back the clock 14 years in terms of a marker of cellular aging. Of these four habits, diet may be the most important. The more servings of fruits, vegetables, and beans we consume, the longer we may live. A plant-based diet appears to help preserve muscle mass, boost immunity, facilitate DNA repair, and slow the process of aging, meaning one may enjoy not just a longer life, but a healthier one.

Cooked in particular ways, poultry, pork, seafood, and beef can be the most concentrated dietary sources of AGEs, or advanced glycation end-products, which may accelerate the aging process. This may be the reason why meat consumption is associated with living a significantly shorter life, including increased cancer mortality, heart disease mortality and overall mortality.

Restricting methionine intake is one strategy for extending our lives. Managing stress through activities such as meditation may help slow the effects of aging on our DNA. Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarians in California, appear to have the highest life expectancy of any formally described population.

Antioxidant pills have no apparent effect on aging, though antioxidant-rich foods may. Some foods that appear to protect against aging include: berries, whole grains, turmeric, greens, cocoa and yellow vegetables.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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