At this stage in life, I've decided to relax and just follow a few generally accepted precepts for healthy eating. As someone who can still squeeze into the "moderately overweight" slot, I was delighted to post this report earlier this year:
The Mildly Overweight Live Longer!
How about that? Researchers from the CDC and elsewhere pooled data from 97 studies from over a dozen countries, tracking nearly 3 million people (http://bit.ly/WhYBFf)
Here are some of the findings:
- Overweight people had a 6 percent lower overall death rate than those of normal weight. (Data were adjusted for age, gender and smoking.)
- For people over 65, the mortality benefit of carrying a few extra pounds was even better.
- Avoid red meat. No problem here. I can't remember ever ordering steak in a restaurant; I find it boring. I'd much rather have a chicken curry.
- Eat fish at least once a week. I usually have fish several times each week. I'm especially fond of the fatty seafood that's considered most healthy. Look in my refrigerator and you'll always find a jar of pickled herring and onions, and a package of smoked salmon. In the cupboard is a stack of canned sardines. What you won't find is fish that needs to be cooked.
- Follow the Mediterranean Diet. Dieticians agree: it's the healthiest diet. I keep touting my Palisades neighborhood in DC, which I've enjoyed for 50 years. It was greatly enhanced a few years ago when Figs, a Lebanese restaurant and carryout, opened. Take another peek in my refrigerator and you'll likely see containers of bulgar wheat, couscous, beet and carrot salads, moussaka, curried chick peas, steamed kale, lentil or curried vegetable soups . . . the list goes on. For this non-cook, Figs is a Garden of Eden.
- Use small plates at home and order appetizers, not entrees, at restaurants. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic in this country; restaurant meal portion sizes have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years. Sadly, we've mimicked that trend at home. The National Institutes of Health recently compared meal portion sizes today against standard portions 20 years ago. Even if we ate exactly the same foods, the monster portions we scarf down now add an additional 1,595 calories to our diets every day. That's a whopping 582,175 extra calories a year!