Fill your cart and stock your shelves with nutrient-rich foods that can add years to your life. Start at the bottom (super important) and work your way to the top (very important) of Dr. Oz's food pyramid. Note: Serving sizes should be about the size of your clenched fist, except for animal proteins, which should be about the size of a deck of cards.
Level 1: Vegetables, 4 servings a day
- Sweet Potatoes
Vegetables are the base of Dr. Oz's food pyramid, and the most important tool in fighting every major killer in America: heart disease, hypertension and cancer. Jicama is a slightly sweet and crisp root vegetable that is high in potassium, which helps to reduce high blood pressure. Kale is high in flavonoids, which kills off cancer cells. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which helps to build heart-healthy vitamin A within the body. Microwave or steam vegetables with as little water as possible to retain the maximum amount of nutrients.
Level 2: Whole Grains, 6 servings a day
Whole grains are the next level up. Whole grains are high in fiber and necessary to colon health. Teff, amaranth and millet are whole grains popular in other parts of the world but now widely available in the US. These whole grains are high in protein. One key to longevity is getting more of your protein from plants instead of animal sources. They are also high in calcium, which helps to strengthen bones, and omega-3 fats which are critical to brain health. Millet is also a great source of B-complex vitamins.
Level 3: Fruits, 3 cups a day
Nearing the top of Dr. Oz's food pyramid are fruits, which pack an anti-aging one-two punch. The flesh of fruit contains vitamins and minerals, and the skin is loaded with powerful anti-agers due to a higher concentration of nutrients. Mangoes help fight cancer and heart disease, and can attribute their beautiful color to beta carotene. As a result of the drying process, dried fruits like dates are high in antioxidants. They are also a great source of magnesium, which helps the body maintain normal muscle and nerve function, steady heart rhythm and strong bones; they are also good for blood pressure and blood sugar regulation.
* The old saying still stands true. An apple a day may be the ultimate longevity MVP, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, folate and vitamin E to fight Alzheimer's; and a flavonoid called quercetin that protects the brain against the oxidative stress of daily life.
Level 4: Proteins, 3 servings a day
- Brazil nuts
Protein is an all-encompassing category that incudes meats, beans and nuts. Trout and tofu are high in omega-3 fats, which ensure normal brain function and lower the risk of dementia. Omega-3s are essential to brain health as they provide the building blocks for brain cell renewal. Brazil nuts contain selenium, an antioxidant that fights the free radical damage that can cause cancer.
Level 5: Dairy, 2 servings a day
- Greek yogurt
- Feta cheese
Lastly, with the least amount of servings, is dairy, which is especially important for women. Dairy contains calcium and is fortified with vitamin D – Dr. Oz's number-one recommended supplement – to strengthen bones and fight against the onset of osteoporosis.
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