Ultimate Anti-Aging Meal Plan

If you’re on the lookout for foods to boost your health, you’ve probably discovered that it’s easy to locate new findings. But good health is in the details, and that’s harder to pin down. How much of a given food must you eat, and how often, to get the benefits? Which recommended foods are truly essential? And how do you pull the research together into meals you’ll enjoy eating over the next two weeks?
 

So MORE decided to do what hasn’t been done and pull all the pieces together. The result: our two-week, maximize-your-health eating plan. We enlisted registered dietitian Ruth Frechman of Burbank, California, to help us conform to the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet—heavy on olive oil, whole grains, nuts, produce and fish—which has been shown to increase your life span.
 

For the meals, we turned to Food52.com, a curated foodie site created by former New York Times Magazine food editor Amanda Hesser and writer Merrill Stubbs. Their recipes feature fresh ingredients, lots of whole foods (nothing processed) and generous helpings of herbs and spices. Being healthy has never been so delicious.

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How Much, How Often: Fruits

Two a day of any kind boosts your longevity

 

Red grapes: 1¼ cups after a high-fat meal offsets damage to blood vessels

 

Watermelon: 1 piece twice a month in season boosts weight loss

 

Pomegranate: 1 twice a month helps prevent bone loss

 

Cherries: ½ cup twice a week improves sleep

 

Dates: ½ cup twice a month helps slow down aging

 

Cantaloupe: ½ twice a month increases eye health

 

Apple: 1 three times a week lowers risk of diabetes

 

Blueberries: 1½ cups a week boosts heart health

 

Strawberries: 1½ cups a week cuts odds of having a heart attack

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How Much, How Often: Vegetables

2½ cups a day of any kind increases your life span

 

Dark greens: 1 cup almost every day lowers risk of lung cancer

 

Onion: ½ three times a week fends off cataracts

 

Avocado: ½ three times a week cuts risks of metabolic syndrome and heart disease

 

Broccoli and Broccoli sprouts: 1 cup three times a month  Reduces risk of bladder cancer

 

Beet: 1 twice a month lowers risk of dementia

 

Carrots: 4 ounces of carrots or other raw vegetables most days reduces blood pressure

 

Potatoes: 1 cup three times a week moderates high blood pressure

 

Peppers: 1 cup three times a week snuffs out free radicals and prevents cell damage

 

Tomatoes: 1 cup three times a week cuts systemic inflammation; lowers risk of heart disease and stomach cancer

 

Garlic: ½ to 1 whole clove a day lowers cholesterol levels

How Much, How Often: Proteins, Grains & Legumes

Nuts: 1 ounce five or more days a week lowers risk of heart disease

 

Fish: 3 ounces two or more times a week protects the aging brain, may lower risk of breast cancer and increases life span

 

Whole grains: 3 ounces a day cuts risks of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

 

Low-fat yogurt: 1 (or more) six-ounce servings every three days reduces chances of developing high blood pressure  

 

Cheese: 1 ounce dairy products every three days lowers odds of colorectal cancer

 

Eggs: 1 to 3 a week preserves mental functioning

 

Poultry: 1 five-ounce serving twice a week builds muscles, bones, cells

 

Lentils and beans: ½ cup five days a week stabilizes blood sugar levels and protects against heart disease

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How Much, How Often: Condiments

Wine: 1 five-ounce glass most days reduces risk of heart disease, slows down aging

 

Olive oil: 2 tablespoons a day improves heart health; lowers risks of dementia and possibly breast cancer

 

Dark chocolate: 1 ounce two or three times a week improves functioning of the cardiovascular system

 

Turmeric: As much as you can fit in cuts odds of developing age-related memory loss

 

Black and Green Tea: Several cups a day cuts risks of bone fractures, some cancers and heart disease

 

Cinnamon: As much as you can fit in helps moderate blood sugar levels

 

Black pepper: At least a pinch a day helps fend off cancer

 

Parsley: ½ cup two times a week inhibits free radicals

 

Coffee: Several cups a day reduces risk of dying from heart disease

 

Ginger: 1-inch chunk occasionally lowers pain of osteoarthritis

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Download the two-week menu guide here.

 

Next: 11 Foods that Age-Proof Your Brain
 

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First published in the February 2014 issue

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