11 Registered Dietitians Share the Longevity-Boosting Lifestyle Tip They Value Most

Photo: Stocksy/Nadine Greeff
March is National Nutrition Month, a time when dietitians receive a well-deserved spotlight. This celebratory time also perfectly aligns with Women’s History Month as dietetics professionals are largely women. What better way to celebrate this historic month than by asking 11 registered dietitians—whose jobs involve providing expert advice and guidance on nutrition and diet to promote health and well-being—to share their keys to living longer?

Here's how to unlock more healthy year ahead, according to nutrition pros

1. Prioritize social connection

“Social connection is one of the most important (and least discussed) ways to support longevity,” says Brianna Wieser, RDN, LD, RYT, senior program specialist at MOBE, a health outcomes company focused on whole-person lifestyle and medication management. “Studies show that people with strong social ties have a 50-percent increased chance of survival when compared to those with weak ties. In fact, the impact [a lack of] social connection has on longevity is comparable to smoking and alcohol consumption and exceeds the influence of other risk factors like physical inactivity and obesity.”

2. Set realistic and sustainable goals

“Whatever you’re trying to improve, make your approach realistic and sustainable. If progress is made in unrealistic and unsustainable ways, you’ll be less likely to maintain that progress in the future,” says Jordan Hill, MCD, RD, CSSD, lead registered dietitian at Top Nutrition Coaching. No one choice will make or break your overall health, according to Hill, who also has a private practice based in Denver, Colo. "It’s what you do consistently that makes the biggest impact," she says. "Build fun ways to exercise, eat your favorite foods, and foster a supportive community around you. This makes the journey enjoyable and meaningful.”

Experts In This Article

3. Eat less processed meat

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as a group one carcinogen, meaning there is sufficient evidence showing these products cause cancer, specifically colon cancer,” says Rhyan Geiger, RDN, founder of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, a professional platform dedicated to helping people incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. “Reducing intake of these meats can decrease carcinogen exposure and lessen the risk of colon cancer, which can lead to early death.”

4. Do what works for you

“Nutrition is individualized," says Tina Covone, RD, CDN, who works with veterans in upstate New York through Veterans Affairs, as well as a clinical dietitian at a local community hospital. "What works for someone else may not work for you. What you see on the internet, TikTok, or in a magazine may not be appropriate for you. It’s best to consult with an expert, like an RD, to determine the best lifestyle plan for you.”

5. Prioritize whole grains

“Prioritize nutrient-dense, high-antioxidant foods, like whole grains,” says Kristen Carli, RD, owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, a private nutrition practice and media consulting firm. “Antioxidants help to fight cellular damage, protecting against the development of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. My favorite whole grain—that is often overlooked—is sorghum. While most whole grains provide fiber, plant-based protein, and antioxidants, one serving of sorghum provides 20 percent or more of the daily value of 12 different nutrients. It provides more than double the amount of protein and fiber than quinoa and over six times more than rice. By using sorghum as a whole grain in your burrito bowls or substituting it for wheat flour in your favorite baked goods, you’ll get much more nutritional bang for your buck.”

6. Laugh more

“Laughter truly is the best medicine, as research suggests1 that it can improve your psychological and physiological health. Laughing produces benefits such as reducing depression, anxiety, and stress,” says Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, LDN, FAND, director of nutrition Programs and nutrition professor at Boston University, author of Nutrition & You, Nutrition & You: Core Concepts to Good Health, and co-author of Nutrition: From Science to You. “When you laugh, you experience physiological benefits such as lower cortisol levels, which can help lower stress. Chronic stress can increase blood pressure and stroke risk. Giggling can also increase your tolerance to pain and increase your white blood cell count, which helps fight inflammation in your body.”

To reap the benefits of laughter, Dr. Salge Blake recommends trying to find humor in your everyday life through humorous podcasts and ending your day with a funny sitcom.

7. Opt for more veggies

“Include veggies with meals and snacks whenever possible, including breakfast,” says Samina Kalloo, RDN, CDN, founder of Samina Kalloo Nutrition. “Vegetables are chock-full of nutrients that can support longevity. Adding a serving with your meals and snacks will help you achieve the recommended daily intake of two to three cups.” Kalloo loves adding a side salad to eggs and toast in the morning or steamed cauliflower to a morning smoothie.

8. Prioritize stress management

“Prioritizing stress management is one of my top tips for longevity as chronic stress can take a toll on both physical and mental health, increasing the risk of various diseases and reducing life expectancy,” says Krista Wale, RD, LDN, owner of Louisiana Nutrition Associates. “Finding effective ways to manage stress, such as meditation or spending time in nature, can help improve overall health and enhance quality of life.”

9. Embrace exercise

“Exercise consistently at the same time each day or even just a few times during the week to make it more of a habit,” says Asmita Batajoo, RD, a clinical dietitian for Kaiser Healthcare in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Physical activity is crucial to reducing disease risk, managing stress, and staying healthy as we age.”

10. Drink alcohol in moderation

“If you're going to drink, do so in moderation because drinking alcohol is a risk factor for several types of cancer as well as liver disease, hypertension, and heart disease, to name a few,” says Dana Melink, RD, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO) and a clinical dietitian.

11. Don’t forget to prioritize yourself

“As a busy mom, I have to be intentional about feeding myself and not only my kids,” says Sarah Hester, RD. One way she does this is by making sure she eats enough protein by having cooked options on hand. “I keep things like grilled chicken breast and salmon burgers in my freezer," she adds.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Mora-Ripoll, Ramon. “The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine vol. 16,6 (2010): 56-64.

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