The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: How Much Protein Should I Eat? Plus Your BP and Salads…

15 Mar

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

  1. A 54-year-old guy who says he reads these articles religiously asks, “How much protein should I have in a day?”

The answer is: we really do not know.  However, for optimal growth and to delay aging and chronic disease, the current research suggests that you need more protein both before the age of 25 and after the age of 70. Conversely, you should eat much less protein—especially much less animal and milk protein—between 25 and 70 years of age.   Protein, especially from animals, stimulates Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which is needed for growth in the young (until about age 25) and to prevent decline in function after age 80.  But data from Dr. Valter Longo’s laboratory at USC (presented in lay fashion in his recent book, “The Longevity Diet” and in many scientific papers) shows that, like sugar, this protein-induced increase in IGF-1 elevates your risk of heart disease, stroke, and many tumors and cancers.  So, he and others in the optimal aging field recommend consuming at most 1 gm of protein for every 2 pounds of weight (best in morning like a morning filet of salmon or a dish with quinoa) each day for those under 25 or over 70.  If you weight train, then perhaps 50% more protein each day is appropriate.

  1. Lower Your Blood Pressure to Up Your Brain Power…

A new study in JAMA Neurology followed over 1,600 seniors for ten years. Those with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) higher than 150mm/Hg experienced much more cognitive decline than those whose systolic blood pressure was below 150.  Folks cruising along under 120mm/Hg had the least cognitive decline.

So aim to work with your primary care doc to bring your systolic blood pressure down below 120mm/Hg for body and mind. If it usually hovers just above that, in the 121-139 range, you can probably lower it using regular exercise and a healthy diet.

  1. Have a Salad (and Only a Salad) for Dinner Every Day…

A new study in Neurology involving 960 older folks—average age 81—found that participants who ate more than 1.3 servings of leafy greens each day had brains that functioned about 11 years younger than the brains of the those who almost never ate greens.

We don’t know the specific nutrients in green leafy veggies—spinach, collard greens, kale, bok choy, turnip greens, dark green leafy lettuce, watercress, arugula, and mesclun—that are the brain boosters, but the key nutrients could be vitamin K, lutein, beta carotene, nitrate, folate, the flavonol kaempferol, or one or more of the several forms of vitamin E.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions to:

Dr. Mike Roizen


PS: Please continue to order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip.


NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.
This article is of the opinion of its author.
Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.
You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

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