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83-Year-Old Triathlete Shares His Best Diet Tips to Stay Young

On top of his workouts, the neurosurgeon focuses on a few core principles for eating.

Feeling young as you age involves many steps, but it can be especially important to structure your diet properly. There are plenty of people who serve as proof that eating right can help you live longer and feel better well into your later years. And for 83-year-old triathlete Joseph Maroon, MD, there are a few essential diet tips that he believes can make a significant impact.

RELATED: 91-Year-Old Fitness Star Shares Her Best Workout Tips to Stay Young.

Even though the neurosurgeon is in great shape now, that wasn't always the case. He says he hit a low point around the age of 40 that forced him to reevaluate his life choices and focus on his physical and mental well-being. In the second 40 years of his life, this has allowed him to lose 15 pounds and compete in more than 70 triathlons.

As you might expect for someone who's taken part in so many rigorous races, regular exercise has factored into his youthful routine. But he also says he prioritizes getting enough sleep, keeping his stress levels low, and finding time to focus on his personal relationships and spirituality.

"I tell people my goal in life is to die young as late as possible," Maroon told CNBC. "I'm focused on my healthspan, not so much my lifespan."

Maroon also says part of his transformation included changing the way he eats after "living on fast food," per Business Insider. Read on to see what diet tips the 83-year-old triathlete has to help stay young.

RELATED: 116-Year-Old Woman With No Major Health Issues Reveals Her Longevity Diet.

He's cut back on sugar and processed foods.

Bowl of Sugar
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Everyone knows that part of eating healthy is as much about cutting out specific foods as it is about adding beneficial ones. In Maroon's case, he says he focuses on "avoiding a whole lot of things that people like to eat," which includes refined sugars and highly processed foods, per Business Insider.

Research has shown that cutting back can have some serious health benefits. One 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that subjects who got 17 to 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar saw a 38 percent increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease compared to participants who ate low-sugar diets. Experts say this could be because of what excess sugar consumption can do to your body.

"By reducing or eliminating added sugars in your diet, you may see a decrease in overall inflammation levels," Lindsay Delk, RD, RDN, the food and mood dietician, previously told Best Life. "Lowering chronic inflammation in your body can reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure."

RELATED: People Who Live to 100 Have These 3 Things in Common, New Research Shows.

He follows a Mediterranean-style diet.

mediterranean diet, mediterranean style food on a table, fish, nuts, olives
OksanaKiian / iStock

The Mediterranean-style diet remains a popular choice for people looking to eat healthier. Rather than being a set of restrictions, the eating plan is more of a philosophy that focuses on consuming more whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and swapping in olive oil for butter, according to Mayo Clinic. It also highlights eating fish and poultry instead of red meat and includes moderate portions of dairy products and red or white wine.

Maroon says he switched to the eating style over 40 years ago, mainly eating fruits and vegetables with the occasional additions of poultry or fish, per CNBC. He adds that he rarely consumes red meat. Some experts agree with Maroon that it can have serious health benefits.

"It's been around for a long time, and research has consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet effectively reduces chronic diseases, some cancers, and symptoms of depression. Doctors often prescribe the Mediterranean diet to treat these issues," Amy Fox, a certified nutritionist and the founder of the Food and Mood Lab, previously told Best Life.

He abstains from drinking alcohol.

woman saying no to an alcoholic drink

Maroon says he avoids drinking any alcohol as part of his focus on staying healthy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), guidelines suggest that drinking in moderation means sticking to two drinks or less daily for men and one daily drink for women.

But research has also shown that nixing booze altogether can have some serious health benefits. They include reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver damage while making it easier to maintain a healthy weight and achieve better sleep, Healthline reports.

RELATED: 117-Year-Old Woman Ate the Same Thing Every Day Since WWI.

He takes helpful supplements.

Closeup photo of supplements with a white bottle. Pregnant woman take omega 3, multivitamins, vitamins B, C, D, collagen tablets, probiotics, iron capsule. Girl hold vitamins daily. Top view.

Even though a healthy diet is the bedrock of staying nourished, supplements can be a great way to ensure you get the specific vitamins and minerals you need. Maroon says part of his daily routine includes taking a few that he finds particularly helpful.

His lineup includes Omega 3 fatty acids, which he cites for helping to reduce inflammation and boost brain health, CNBC reports. He also takes magnesium to help "balance his workouts," and glyteine to help potentially slash the risk of developing Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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