If you follow our seven slow aging diet principles, you will be well on your way to living a healthy and happy life.

Superfoods should be the cornerstone of your diet

Most foods contain useful nutrients that our body uses to build and renew. Yet all foods were not created equal. Some are in a class of their own when it comes to positive effects on health and aging. They may sometimes look a bit ordinary, but inside they are power-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other phytonutrients to maintain and enhance function.

These are often called ‘superfoods’, and are simply good for us and the bacteria in our gut.

To make the most of each mouthful in our slow aging eating plan, we should eat them whenever we can. At least half of our diet should preferably comprise superfoods, with the most common including:

  • Berries (of all sorts)
  • The Allium family (onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, chives, etc)
  • The Crucifers (spinach, broccoli, bok choy, rocket, cabbage, kale, etc)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, sprouts, peanuts, etc)
  • Whole nuts and seeds
  • Probiotic yoghurt
  • All fruits
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea

Slow aging diet principles

1. Be aware

Some advocate starting with a clean slate. Clear out your pantry and fridge of all the unnecessary, out-of-date, energy-dense and otherwise unhealthy foods.

For most of us, a healthy change does not need to be this drastic. The most important part is to actually notice what’s on your plate and think about the impact it may be having on your health. Healing starts with the supermarket trolley.

2. Plan and set goals

Start with the low hanging fruit. For example, simply stop buying that packet of chips you tend to reach for, or eat a small amount with some healthy dips and vegetable sticks as your dinner, rather than having it as a snack.

3. Make your diet a positive experience, not a punishment

Get excited about the diet you plan to implement. Enjoy the experience of new foods and new recipes. Relish the new connections you can make through your food choices (maybe the grower, the seller, or the environment).

We have an epidemic of cooking shows on TV, so if that’s interesting for you, watch them and get inspired.

4. Your choices must be sustainable for the long-term

Otherwise, they are simply a fad.

5. Don’t be exclusive

A diet won’t be effective if it isn’t part of an overall plan with a range of different strategies.

There are so many theories on nutrition management that it is difficult at times to put them into any practical context. Many diets have been popularized on the back of only one or two of these useful concepts.

The challenge is to understand where all these approaches fit when trying to work out a long-term program for yourself. No matter what the advertising says, there is no one diet that will work for everybody.

For example, a diet may have benefits for weight control, but for those who want to maintain their weight, they are best to combine a healthy diet with other techniques such as exercise and stress management. Don’t be exclusive.

In fact it may even be counterproductive. We also know about the relationship between the bacteria in our gut and weight, so if you really are struggling, it may be what your gut bacteria are doing and not you.

6. Get help

There are many dieticians, nutritionists and other specialists out there who can offer advice and support. Find someone who knows about the bacterial metabolism inside your gut.

7. Be selective 

We have to try a few different products to find the one that is best suited to our needs.

The bulk of nutritional information is written as universal recommendations – a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – without recognizing that people and our nutritional needs are different. It is important to personalize nutrition recommendations when putting them into practice.

A number of differences also exist between one individual and the next in their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of dietary nutrients. So one way of getting your diet ‘just right’ is to better understand your particular requirements.

Now we have the principles, the next step is their application. This means learning what to do on a daily basis so we achieve optimal health through selection of food. Click here for more

Last reviewed 17/Jun/2017

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Dr Merlin Thomas

Professor Merlin Thomas is Professor of Medicine at Melbourne’s Monash University, based in the Department of Diabetes. He is both a physician and a scientist. Merlin has a broader interest in all aspects of preventive medicine and ageing. He has published over 270 articles in many of the worlds’ leading medical journals