Say you find yourself on a 5-hour flight to L.A., and in the course of conversation with your seatmate you discover that he’s one of the country’s leading cardiologists, or a worldfamous cancer researcher, or a nationally recognized obesity expert. Wouldn’t you peek to see which parts of his in-flight meal he ate–and what he left on his plate? Wouldn’t you just love to ask him–based on his extensive knowledge of disease and its causes–what he eats every day, how he exercises, what supplements he takes? Like a magician, he knows the secrets, and you’d like nothing more than to look into his hat. Well, consider your curiosity satisfied. We rounded up the country’s top doctors and asked them some pretty personal questions about their daily habits and favorite foods, hoping to find some lifestyle patterns that would put us–and you–on the right path toward a longer, leaner, healthier life.
Nicholas Perricone, M.D., board-certified clinical and research dermatologist and author of Forever Young.
Dr. Perricone was one of the first experts to promote an anti-inflammatory diet for healthy skin and a healthy body. He outlined the evidence in his earlier books, The Perricone Prescription and The Wrinkle Cure. In his latest publication, Forever Young, he introduces readers to the cutting-edge science of nutrigenomics.
“By manipulating different aspects of your diet and lifestyle, you can switch on protective genes and switch off genes that may have a negative effect on health,” he says. “Eating anti-inflammatory foods at every meal–fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains–is key.” (Learn the health habits that help you Live 6.2 Years Longer.)
Skip sugar, avoid wrinkles
“Avoiding foods that cause blood sugar spikes–such as products with sugar and white flour–controls inflammation, which my decades of research show is the single greatest precipitator of aging. Inflammation leads to wrinkled, sagging skin, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers.”
Commune with nature
“Going outside, breathing the fresh air, and seeing the magnificent planet that we’re lucky to live on renews my spirits every day. Spending time in a park, at the beach, or even just on a tree-lined street is a safe and very enjoyable method for reducing the deadly, aging effects of stress. A walk outside provides benefits that your treadmill cannot.”
Mix weights with yoga
“I’ve incorporated yoga poses into my strength-training sessions so I maintain flexibility while building muscle mass.”
“Drink at least six glasses of pure springwater and a few cups of green tea each day. Fluid helps your body process nutrients, and the tea contains powerful antioxidants that fight aging and disease.”
Get your vitamin D naturally
“Sunshine triggers your body to produce vitamin D, and it’s the best source of this vitamin, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and many cancers. I spend about 15 minutes a day in the sun, taking a brisk walk or participating in some other activity, without wearing sunscreen. Don’t go overboard, though. Any longer than 15 minutes or so increases your risk of skin damage.” Beware: Does Sunscreen Cause Cancer? Find out the truth behind the controversy.