OVERVIEW: Aim for variety, and include as much fresh food as possible in your diet. Minimize your consumption of processed and fast food. Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and try to include carbohydrates, fat and protein in every meal. Most adults need to consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day. Women and smaller, less active people require fewer calories; men and larger, more active people need more calories. The distribution of calories you take in should be: 40% to 50% from carbohydrates, 30% from fat and 20% to 30% from protein.
On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, adult women should eat about 160 g to 200 g of carbohydrates daily. (Most of this should be in the form of less refined, less processed foods.)
Adult men should eat about 240 g to 300 g of carbohydrates a day.
REDUCE your consumption of foods made with wheat flour and sugar, especially bread and most packaged snack foods.
Eat more whole grains (not whole-wheat-flour products), beans, winter squashes and sweet potatoes.
Cook pasta al dente and eat it in moderation.
AVOID products made with high-fructose corn syrup.
On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 600 calories can come from fat--that is, about 67 g. This should be in a ratio of 1:2:1 of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fat.
REDUCE your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, cheese and other full-fat dairy products, unskinned chicken, fatty meats and products made with coconut and palm-kernel oils.
Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. If you want a neutral-tasting oil, use expeller-pressed organic canola oil. High-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oil are also acceptable.
AVOID regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil and mixed vegetable oils.
STRICTLY AVOID margarine, vegetable shortening and all products listing them as ingredients. Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind.
Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews and almonds and nut butters made from them.
For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably wild--fresh or frozen--or canned sockeye), sardines, herring, black cod (sablefish, butterfish), omega-3 fortified eggs, hempseeds, flaxseeds and walnuts; or take a fish-oil supplement (see next page).
On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, your daily intake of protein should be between 80 g and 120 g. Eat less protein if you have liver or kidney problems, allergies or autoimmune disease.
DECREASE your consumption of animal protein except for fish and reduced-fat dairy products.
Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general and soybeans in particular.
Try to eat 40 g of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, vegetables (especially beans) and whole grains.
Ready-made cereals can be good fiber sources, but read labels to make sure they give you at least 4 g and preferably 5 g of bran per 1-oz. serving.
To get maximum natural protection against age-related diseases, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.