by Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Teenage girls swoon over Edward Cullen, the forever-young, eternally romantic vampire star of The Twilight Saga. But you don’t need a vampire’s “kiss” – or the hassles that go with it – to gain a longer, younger life. Just follow these six steps:
No. 1: Visit a dentist every six months and floss every day
Avoid gum disease to reduce bodywide inflammation that boosts your risk for cardio problems (heart attack, stroke and angina) by 70 percent and diabetes by more than 50 percent – not to mention osteoporosis, problem pregnancies and respiratory disease. As a bonus, you’ll be smiling through a healthy set of pearly whites as your RealAge becomes three years younger.
No. 2: Take two baby aspirins a day
Both of us take 162 milligrams of aspirin daily – with half a glass of warm water before and after – to prevent gastrointestinal problems, cardio problems, protect our brains and decrease our risk of cancer (including prostate and colon for us – breast and colon for women). A daily dose even lowers your odds for the two deadliest types of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) by 13 percent to 15 percent. With this step, your healthy RealAge is 1.8 years younger. (And remember to always get your doc’s approval before taking any aspirin regularly.)
No. 3: Eat three servings of salmon or trout a week
We love these scaly creatures for their DHA omega-3 fatty acid content and the way they protect your heart, eyes, brain and waistline. Now, another big-time reason to eat fish: It reduces the risk of colon cancer (dietary factors contribute to at least 50 percent of all diagnosed cases). Your RealAge gets more than three years younger if you avoid all four-legged food products and instead enjoy salmon and trout three times a week. Toss them on the grill with some vegetables (Dr. Mike’s favorite way to cook his salmon) or mix canned salmon (yup, it’s the wild kind!) with olive or canola oil mayo and your favorite seasonings for a fab fish sandwich you and your family would swim upriver for.
No. 4: Do four sessions of cardio and resistance training every week
You don’t have to train for the 2012 Olympics to get the body-wide benefits of movement. Walk for 30 minutes at least four times a week and do two resistance-training routines on your off days (or whenever you want, just leave a rest day or two in between!), and you’ll slash your risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, obesity, dementia and low moods. Exercise is a one-stop health fix because it rejuvenates the tiny power plants – mitochondria – inside every cell in your body so you feel more energetic, burn more calories around the clock and process fat and blood sugar a whole lot more efficiently. Exercising regularly can make your RealAge as much as nine years younger.
No. 5: Eat five small fistfuls of nuts every week
These tasty nuggets will slash your risk for belly fat, diabetes, heart disease and more. Going nutty can even knock back heart-menacing LDL cholesterol by 10 points and high triglycerides by 20 points. The challenge? Moderation. One fistful (about 1 ounce) has 160 to 200 calories. So don’t overdo it. To fill up without filling out, pair nuts together with fruit, such as peach or apple slices and sneak in a little peanut butter. Eating four to five servings of fruit and a handful of nuts daily can make your RealAge more than four years younger.
No. 6: Go for Joe
You’ll delay or help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s with two cups of caffeinated coffee a day. You’ll get even bigger benefits with up to six small cups daily. (Skip this longevity booster if caffeine triggers migraines, anxiety, gastric upset, insomnia or abnormal heart beats.) Your RealAge gets about 0.8 years younger from enjoying Joe.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.