One of the oldest quarterbacks in the NFL, New England Patriot Tom Brady (age 38), is still one of the best in the game. What’s his secret?
Well, he probably has more than one, but lately a lot of attention has been paid to Brady’s unusually strict diet – an anti-inflammatory diet that some writers have termed “bizarre,” “super-strict” and even “kind of miserable.” But least one nutritionist says Brady’s diet, while far more rigorous than anything most of us could follow, actually makes a lot of sense – and each of us could learn from the superstar quarterback’s nutritional discipline.
A recent article about Brady’s diet and its advantages appeared on the Blog of the AARP. You can read the entire article here.
Brady and his wife, working with their personal chef, developed a diet designed to reduce or eliminate virtually all dietary sources of inflammation, a culprit recently linked to all sort of maladies from joint pain to cancer. The basics of the diet sound simple: 80% is vegetable-based, with the remaining 20% coming from lean meats. But it’s the severe restrictions that have raised some eyebrows. For example: Brady eats no white sugar or white flour. He avoids inflammatory foods from the nightshade family, including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and mushrooms. He drinks no coffee or other caffeinated drinks, eats no dairy and consumes very little fruit. These are all foods that can aggravate inflammation, so Brady avoids them.
As we said, many have called the Brady Diet harsh, even impossible. But preventive medicine expert Dr. Roxanne Sukol with the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, feels otherwise. As the article quotes her, “[Brady] is doing a great job of protecting his health.” In a recent interview, Sukol stated, “He’s eating a very nourishing diet that’s primarily whole food–based.”
So is the Brady Diet for all of us? Sukol says no – but we can learn from the superstar athlete. While not everyone needs to follow all of Brady’s restrictions, “He may have set the bar higher because the stress and strain on his system is much higher than for the rest of us,” Sukol states.
As we deal with our senior clients, we hear a common refrain: they all want to maintain their health as long as they can, so they can enjoy a great quality of life and avoid becoming a burden to their loved ones. So if good health is the goal, what are the take-aways from the Brady Diet that apply to each of us, especially as we age? How can we adjust what we eat in order to live longer and healthier? Dr. Sukol lists several relatively simple things we can all do.
First, she says, cut the processed foods from your diet. They’re the source of up to 90 percent of your body’s inflammation.
Second, cut way down on sugar. And if you must have a sweet treat, homemade is always better than a cookie out of a package. Sugar in all its various forms has been linked to inflammation in several recent nutritional studies.
Third, if you think a particular food is bothering you, stop eating it completely for two weeks. If you feel better, you’re probably on to something. This trial and error method can be a good way of eliminating foods that are adding to your body’s inflammation and related diseases.
Finally, don’t expect perfection in your dietary discipline. As the AARP article states, “We probably make a thousand food-related decisions a day. If you can improve half of those decisions – more fruits and vegetables, for example – you’ll feel better and your pants will fit better.”
Improving our clients’ quality of life in retirement is one of our paramount goals. This applies not only to your health but also your finances, your housing choices, your legal affairs and your family relationships. If you’re starting the process of planning for your retirement years, we hope you’ll start by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar – a fast-paced, highly enjoyable event where we’ll cover important elements of a solid retirement plan. You’ll find the dates, times and locations of our next group of LifePlanning Seminars on the Upcoming Events tab on this website.
So please join us at our next LifePlanning Seminar. We’ll look forward to meeting you at a seminar soon!
(Originally reported at http://blog.aarp.org)