Most of us would like to live to be 100 or older, provided we could maintain a highly functional body and mind. Of course, being functional is the important thing.

Research has now shown that we can live to a ripe old age and live it in good health, provided we follow a few simple steps each day.

Each of us can live strong, healthy, vibrant, energetic lives for a long time to come. The key? Actually, there are many of them. Read on, and you may never see your dinner plate, your friends, or your sneakers the same way again.

1. Eat fewer calories, but more food.

That’s no misprint. Slimming down can help prevent disease, and cutting way back on the amount you eat (a strategy called calorie restriction) may even slow the aging process. When nutrition researchers invited themselves over for dinner in kitchens across the globe — from Greece to Japan to the state of Pennsylvania — they discovered a tummy-satisfying secret to good health: Pile your plate high with vegetables and fruits, add respectable portions of beans and whole grains, and downplay high-calorie fare like cheeseburgers, cream sauces, and fatty meats.

The result: Fewer calories, more health-boosting antioxidants, and longer, happier, more active and independent lives.

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