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Ageing well begins with eating better

Tara Parker-Pope

CNA/THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY – Small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk for many diseases associated with ageing. The good news is it’s never too late to get started. Here are five tips to keep in mind.

AVOID PROCESSED MEAT
A number of studies have found associations between eating a lot of processed meats and poor health. A Harvard review found that eating one serving a day of processed meats, like bacon, sausage and deli meats, was associated with a 42 per cent higher risk of heart disease and 19 per cent increased risk of diabetes.

EAT BLUE (AND OTHER COLOURS)
One study found that eating the equivalent of a cup of blueberries a day lowered blood pressure. Most of us can’t eat a daily cup of blueberries, but the lesson is to add darkly coloured fruits and vegetables – blueberries, cherries, spinach and kale – to your diet. They are loaded with nutrients, fiber and carotenoids.

PASS ON PACKAGED FOODS
How do you know if a food is processed? One good indicator is if it comes in a package that has to be ripped open.

Think chips, granola bars, junk food, fast food, frozen pizza, etc. There are, of course, some exceptions to the rule. Some whole, unprocessed foods that are good for you come in packages by necessity. Think nuts, eggs, olive oil and milk to name a few.

REMEMBER THE ONE-INGREDIENT RULE
If a packaged food contains only one ingredient (ground turkey, for instance) it’s probably a reasonable choice.

SKIP THE SUPPLEMENTS
Study after study has seemed to debunk the benefit of taking supplements. The best advice: Save the money you would spend on them and invest in a new pair of walking shoes, a gym membership or a delicious and healthy meal with your family. All of those are likely to do more for your health than a supplement.

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