Good diet habits are one of the most effective ways to boost your lifespan. Unfortunately, eating right can be pushed from the longevity spotlight by exercise and other ways to try to extend your lifespan. Here are 4 extremely common bad food habits that are stealing years from your life, along with ways to make better nutrition and eating decisions that will overcome them.
#1 Your diet is heavy in red meat
Red meats are a perfectly healthy part of almost any diet, with one simple caveat: moderation is key. Red meats typically have a high content of saturated fats, which may contribute to your brain aging more quickly. What you can do: Limit your consumption of red meat to no more than twice a week and substitute fish or white-meat chicken for those other meals. You can also add foods high in healthy mono-unsaturated fats to your diet, including avocado, nuts, green olives and olive oil.
#2 You are consuming too much salt
We've understood the link between excess dietary sodium and high blood pressure, kidney disease and other serious conditions for many years. If you are still putting salt on everything, it's time to rein in your addiction. What you can do: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 2,300mg sodium a day – or 1,500mg for those age 51 or older, or if you are Black, or if you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Stop putting salt on everything, and stop eating processed foods loaded with salt. Seriously, that is what you need to do to enjoy a longer life.
#3 You are eating too much sugar
Excess sugar creates a variety of health complications – aside from the greater likelihood of being overweight – related to rapid aging and an over-taxed metabolism. Too much sugar also increases visible signs of aging, including damage to the collagen layer in your skin that supports a youthful look. What you can do: You see up there what we said about salt? Do the same thing with sugar, beginning with eliminating processed sweets from your diet. The World Health Organization recommends that adults of a healthy body mass index consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day, or about 6 teaspoons.
#4 Your lifestyle is pushing you into poor eating choices. Research demonstrates that stressed people are more likely to make poor eating choices. Eating while in a rush, while working, or even skipping meals because you don't have time are all recipes for regret. What you can do: Schedule time and availability to eat properly. Don't mix business with eating and set aside the necessary time for each meal. Make certain you consider eating as more than simply an item on your to-do checklist.
Prioritize nutrition and diet choices to undo the effects of aging, both visible and metabolic, and add years to your lifetime. It's easier than you think and is a gift not only to yourself, but to your family and friends who care about you.