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Anti-Aging Nutrition Secrets E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   
Young looking womanWhile aging is inevitable, physical decrepitude is not. Many of the outwards signs of growing old can be slowed - and life may even be prolonged - by maintaining a sensible approach to diet. The following anti-aging nutrition tips can not only delay father time, but increase your quality of life and increase your lifespan too! no smoking symbolAvoid Smoking.  Smoking is the greatest preventable cause of death. Almost a half a million people will die each year from smoking. Smoking is associated with a 60 per cent increase in eye damage, an early onset of menopause and an increased risk of several types of cancer, liver and heart disease. The effects of smoking on skin aging have been recognized for a long time.  A 1965 study first identified what came to be known as "smokers face" - gray, pale and wrinkled skin. In recent years much research has focused on smoking and its aging effect on the body. It is now broadly accepted that the skin of smokers is damaged by smoking making them look older than non-smokers. It is believed by the medical community that smoking adds between 10-20 years to your natural age because of the skin damage it causes. Smoking effects the skin in many ways. 
  • woman smoking with wrinkled skinIt accelerates damage through the production of free radicals.
  • It causes a dull appearance to the skin - loss of skin glow and vitality
  • It causes skin discoloration skin (an ashy look on white skin)
  • It deepens wrinkles around the mouth and eyes
  • It causes loss of tone and elasticity more than with the normal aging process

If you want to live long and live healthy, avoid smoking at all costs. All forms or tobacco are age thieves, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, and anything else with tobacco in it. 

pouring a glass of red wineLimit Alcohol Consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption will age you quickly.  Drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in the blood (triglycerides). It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, liver damage and an increased calorie intake  A high intake of alcohol also inhibits the absorption of of calcium into bone and speeds up the process of bone loss. Although alcohol is low in fat content, it is very high in empty calories. What many people do not know is alcohol also activates an enzyme that takes up fat from our bloodstream and stores it in fat cells. Therefore, any food you consume in combination with alcohol is more likely to end up in a fat-storage deposit areas like the hips, thighs and abs. Alcohol also lowers our inhibitions, making us more likely to make poorer food choices. Moderation is the key. Stick to one glass a day. Choose red wine if possible. Why? Because over the past several decades, many studies have been published in science journals about how drinking alcohol may be associated with reduced mortality due to heart disease in some populations. Some researchers have suggested that the benefit may be due to wine, especially red wine. It is important to note however that other scientists beleive the potential benefits from the red wine come from other  components in red wine such as flavonoids and other antioxidants in reducing heart disease risk. These components may be found in other foods such as grapes or red grape juice. Therefore until direct evidence is found it might be more prudent to lower heart disease risk through other methods such as increased physical activity, and a diet high in fruits and vegetables and lower in saturated fats.

cofeeLimit Caffeine.  Caffeine is a very powerful drug with very quick, noticeable and measurable effects on the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and digestive system. It can make people nervous, jittery, tense and stressed. It can often lead to bowel irritation and diarrhea. Caffeine is a diuretic that promotes water loss from the body which can cause health effects as well. Last but not least, a high intake of caffeine inhibits the absorption of of calcium into bone and speeds up the process of bone loss. . Treat caffeine as you would alcohol - a little bit once in a while is okay. Moderation is the key. Stick to one or two small cups a day.

bottled waterDrink more water. The human brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; the lungs are nearly 90% water. As one can imagine water is also the single most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development. It is not only the most important nutrient in the body, but also the most abundant. Water is critical to the balance of all the body's systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles.

How important is this balance? A 2% drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, cause headaches, lack of energy, tired and lethargic sensations, injuries, hot flashes and achy joints and muscles have seen to be associated with dehydration. Think of it this way: Every tissue, cell, organ and system is composed of water and functions optimally only in the presence of adequate water levels. Proper hydration is required for maintaining healthy blood flow, proper kidney function, proper sodium/potassium /electrolyte balance and proper digestive functions.

Degeneration associated with aging will occur at a quicker rate if you are dehydrated.Water is extremely important to the joints. Because the synovial fluid contains water, if you become dehydrated less synovial fluid is available to protect the joints.Thewrefore increasing your water consumption will give you more "spring to your step". If most people would commit to drinking eight to twelve glasses of water every day they would notice a great improvement in their overall health and energy. They would also find their skin looking healthier, with more color, more glow and a reduction in wrinkles too.

giril picking out fruitEat Natural Foods in Their Natural State. Perhaps our biggest nutritional mistake has been turning away from foods in their natural state. We have replaced them with processed foods that have been modified to last longer, be easier to manufacture and distribute, and be more convenient to store and use. Take apple juice as an example. Even the simple act of removing the pulp to make apple juice detracts from its value for both health and weight loss. A medium size apple contains just 72 calories, and over 3 grams of fiber, while 8 fl oz of apple juice contains 120 calories and no fiber at all. And we're just talking about pure, "healthy" apple juice. Natural foods are nutritious and contain much of what is good for us, including vitamins and minerals, fiber, the cancer-fighting antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, and the sustained energy provided by whole grains and complex carbohydrates. They reduce our risk of  heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Because of their nutrient and fiber content, natural foods are healthy for us and help keep us slim.

Add Fiber to your Diet.  Increasing fiber will help you be more regular and pass any toxins consumed in the diet quicker. this will lead to overall better health, less risk for obesity and fat gain, and a reduction in risk to several life shortening diseases including but not limited to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Reduce "Bad Fat" Intake. "Bad fats" include saturated fats and transfats. Both, increase the risk to life shortening diseases, such heart disease. Additionally, dietary fat is very easily converted to body fat. Controlling your fat intake is important in controlling the weight gain associated with aging. Try to imit any food choices that are higher than 20 per cent fat content. Items such as lard, animal shortening, oils, butterfat, whole-milk solids, shortening and margarine all are fats.Some obvious foods to avoid are: 
  • Fried foods - saturated in fat and oil and calories!  
  • Creams - typically very high in saturated fat content 
  • Processed foods such as cakes and cookies and most precooked entrees

Choose instead wholesome, fresh foods, which will always be higher in nutrients and lower in fat.

Skip Heavily Processed Foods. Heavily processed foods are substantially less nutritious and contain much of what is not good for us, including sodium, preservatives, sugars, saturated fats and trans fats. The most nutritious part of whole grains is the outer cover, the part that is removed to make white flour and white rice. Because of their lack of nutrient and fiber content, and all their additives, heavily processed foods can be unhealthy for us and help us gain weight. Processed foods should only complement a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole wheat grainsEat healthy, natural foods with a high ratio of nutrients to calories and you will not be fat and you will not go hungry. You will be healthier, too.

Asalmon and vegetablesdd "Good Fat" to the Diet.. Fat is an amazing fuel that provides us with a limitless amount of energy. Instead of hating fat and blaming it for all our problems, we should be astounded and respect it for its outstanding capabilities. Certain fatty acids are also necessary for good health, and some fat-soluble vitamins require fat for absorption into the system. Unsaturated fats, especially the monounsaturated ones, are considered healthier; they are found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and soft margarine products. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Nuts including peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocado, canola and olive oil are high in MUFAs. MUFAs have also been found to help in weight loss, particularly body fat. Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Seafood like salmonfish oil, as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and even enhance cognitive function. Omega-3 fats supply nutrients to brain cells and enhance their growth, therfefore there are studies that suggest that adding such good fats to the diet can reduce your risk to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as beef, butter, dairy products and lard; they tend to raise blood cholesterol levels, thereby increasing increasing risk of heart disease.   

Go Nutty. nutsMany nuts are heart healthy. Nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and walnuts decrease the LDL cholesterol and control the total cholesterol level in the bod, and can reduce the risk of heart disease dramatically. Other benefits of eating nuts and seeds include:
  • Nuts are rich in arginine, antioxidants and vitamin E that can reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Nuts contain folic acids that can reduce homocysteine, which induces heart disease
  • Magnesium, calcium and potassium in nuts reduce the blood pressure.
  • Ellagic acid in nuts is anti-carcinogenic.
  • Campesterol and beta-sitosterol can decrease the risk of prostate and breast cancers.
  • Arginine in nuts increases immunity and reduces the risk of tumor growth.
  • Magnesium can improve the blood flow.
  • Nuts like almonds contain plant sterols and flavonoids like naringenin and catechin which are effective antioxidants. Almonds are also rich source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, riboflavin, copper and vitamin E. Almonds helps to reduce body weight.
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts can help lower blood pressure, body fat and body mass index (BMI).
  • Walnuts are rich in nutrients and are the main source of omega-3 fatty acids. This can reduce cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and even enhance cognitive function. Omega-3 fats supply nutrients to brain cells and enhance their growth. Omega-3 fats can also help to reduce disorders in sleeping, behavior and learning, commonly found in children.

Increase your Vegetable Consumption.raw vegetables Eating five servings a day of vegetables helps keep you looking good, keeps blood sugar levels stable, and also helps keep you healthy by providing important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. There are numerous studies showing that those who increase their daily servings of fruit and vegetables lower their risk dramatically for insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, heart attacks, and cancer.

Choose the Colorful veggies. Colorful fruits and vegetables of the vine get their wide range of vivid colors from health-protecting substances such as lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A. Use them generously in dishes to enhance nutrients with very few calories.

Reduce Salt Intake. By controlling your salt intake, you can reduce the risk of developing hypertension, stroke and other heart diseases. Thrfow away the salt shaker. If you want to boost taste of certain foods, use salt-free spices such as basil, oregano or pepper. 

Reduce Sugar Intake. By controlling your sugar intake, you can reduce the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes, obesity and other weight related chronic disease that accelerate the aging process and reduce life expectancy.When it comes to watching your sugar intake, choose products with a sugar content that is less than 10 per cent of the total carbohydrate content. It is important to recognize that many processed foods labeled as no-fat or low-fat products can actually contain lots of sugar and lots of calories. These two items can pack on weight, increase your risk of weight related diseases, as well as expand your waist line. Both can have an aging effect on the body.

Detox. Our bodies are constantly assaulted from pollution, stress, bad posture, sedentary jobs and our own bad eating habits. Over the months and years, the effects of these pollutants, toxins and food additives can effect the body in many ways, ranging from skin problems, to headaches, lethargy, ulcers, heart disease and various cancer.  By detoxing we give our bodies a break.When we detox, two things happen. First , we stop overloading our body with harmful substances and secondly, we give it plenty of the right nutrients to actually speed up the elimination of toxins and promote cell renewal.  There are many ways to detox the body, from mild cleanses, adding fiber to the diet to more serious cleanses.  Serious cleanses should only be done under the care of a qualified medical professional.

Bottom Line and Good Nutrition and Anti-Aging

Healthy eating is only one part of anti-aging, but an important one which can help slow down the aging process. Healthy eating combined with other lifestyle changes like limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking and increasing physical activity can not only help you look younger, but it can help you feel younger, increase the quality of your life and increasde your lifespan too!

About the Author 

Jeff Behar, MS, MBA
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. His work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on  major health, and fitness websites. Behar is also a well sought after personal trainer, motivational speaker, and weight loss expert.

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