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Diet for a Longer Life

Skipping unhealthy foods in favour of healthier options is surprisingly easy. Click through our photo gallery and follow these simple tips.

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The advice to dial back on burgers, steaks, and cold cuts just took on a bit more oomph: A ten-year study of 545,000 Americans found that people who eat about four ounces of beef or pork a day (the amount in an average-sized burger) are at least 30 percent more likely to die early, compared with those who consume an ounce or less daily. Though previous research has linked a diet heavy in red meat to a greater risk of heart disease and colon cancer, this is the first big study to look at how it affects your life expectancy.

The results don’t mean you have to completely eliminate beef and pork, says Paula Quatro­moni, DSc, an assistant professor of nutrition at Boston University, who wasn’t involved in the study. “You just need to eat much less.” Read on to find out how.

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Don't quit-switch

Don’t quit-switch

People who ate more fish, chicken, and turkey had a slightly lower risk of dying during this study, so use turkey for your meat loaf and shrimp when you make a stir-fry. Skewer chicken for shish kebabs-or, if you prefer, use a few chunks of beef along with plenty of veggies.

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Keep rules simple

Keep rules simple

If you eat lots of red meat, start by banning it from two meals. Skip bacon at breakfast; substitute turkey for ham in your deli sandwich. Then declare one day of the week “red-meat-less.”

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Indulge, but not every day

Indulge, but not every day

When you hanker for a big burger, a sizzling T-bone, or a rack of barbecued ribs, go for it! Then build the rest of your week’s meals around fish, beans, and other healthier sources of protein.

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Simple Switch, Big Results

Simple Switch, Big Results

Instead of:
Ranch salad dressing
Use: Oil and vinegar

To get: Protection against cancer and, for diabetes, help in managing blood sugar. Vinaigrette has long been recognized as better for you than creamy dressings. But in a recent test-tube study from Spain, compounds in extra-virgin olive oil blocked the growth of human breast cancer cells.

In other new research, people who regularly consumed vinegar had healthier blood sugar levels. “Any type of vinegar-red wine, balsamic, cider-appears to be beneficial, as long as it’s 5 percent acid,” says researcher Carol S. Johnston, PhD, of Arizona State University.

To make a first-rate vinaigrette, use three times as much oil as vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper; for variety, throw in shallots, garlic, Dijon mustard, or fresh herbs.