The Life-Extending Diet

7 ways to fend off heart disease, cancer and other killers

by Sara Reistad-Long
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Photograph: Illustrated by Oliver Munday

You can increase the nutritional content of fruits and veggies by eating those that are either flash frozen or locally grown and recently harvested. “The moment some produce is picked, it starts to lose its antioxidant value,” says Glassman. Since transporting food takes time, it’s generally a good bet to stick with items from your region or at least in season (out of season means the produce probably traveled a long way to get to you). Because frozen food is chilled immediately after harvest, it’s often a better bet than fresh stuff that may have been sitting around for days before it was shipped to a grocery store.

#6 Eat More Soy
Soy is rich in two isoflavone compounds that may influence and decrease inflammation. Aim for one to two servings a day of whole soy foods, where a serving is equivalent to one cup of soy milk or a half cup of tofu, tempeh, edamame or soy nuts, Andrew Weil recommends. Try using soy milk in your coffee or cereal or tossing tofu into a fresh salad or pasta dish. Weil advises avoiding soy supplements. Concentrated isoflavones resemble estrogen in their effect on the body, so there is such a thing as too much.

#7 Keep Tabs on Food Sensitivities
When you experience an allergy or sensitivity (possibly to dairy, gluten or eggs), your body is sending out an immune response to something that is benign for most people. The downside of this “friendly fire” is inflammation, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Edwards. Think you have a sensitivity? Talk to your doctor about getting tested for allergies or trying an elimination diet, in which you remove suspected irritants, then add them back.

Next: 3 Surprising Ways to Fend Off Inflammation

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First published in the March 2013 issue

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Inflammation is such an important consideration when making diet choices. Thanks for adding to my learning. We recently wrote about this at Also there's more to learn about fatty acids. I'm now experimenting with how much Omega 3 supplements I take. I may be overdosing. Any advise on that?

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