6 Healthy Eating Hacks From Jonathan the 183-Year-Old Tortoise and His Turtle Friends

If the world's oldest animal can embrace a healthier diet, so can you.

How to Eat Well

Meet our new lifespiration: Jonathan, a 183-year-old giant tortoise who's thought to be the oldest land animal alive. Although we probably won't be going to him for anti-aging tips anytime soon (no offense, Jonathan, but we see some fine lines!), we can all learn a thing or two from his eating habits.

Jonathan wasn't always the spry older gentletortoise he is today. In 2014, he was losing his eyesight and sense of smell, his beak was deteriorating, and he was having trouble foraging for his own food, according to Saint Helena veterinarian Joe Hollins.

So Hollins improved Jonathan's diet, which had previously consisted mostly of twigs. (We wouldn't be feeling too hot if we just munched on twigs all day, either.) Every Sunday, Hollins feeds Jonathan a big tasty salad, which includes apples, cucumbers, bananas, carrots, and guava. And this much healthier diet has drastically improved Jonathan's condition, Hollins says.

"[Jonathan's] once blunt and crumbly beak has become sharp and lethal, so he was probably suffering from microdeficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements," Hollins wrote in his latest report.

And so, in the spirit of eating well and feeling great at any age, Jonathan and his fellow shelled friends would like to share some of their favorite diet tips:

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1 Start your day with veggies.

How to Eat Healthy
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Eating high-fiber vegetables leaves you feeling fuller longer, which helps to keep those snack cravings at bay come midday. And getting veggies into breakfast is a lot easier than it sounds: Make a loaded frittata or smoothie and your stomach will be happy for hours and hours.

2 Have fruit for dessert.

When you replace that late-night brownie with a bowl of strawberries, you're saying goodbye to added sugars and hello to antioxidants. Just don't go overboard — you're still consuming natural sugars and calories — and avoid sugary juices as well as dried or canned fruit. Fresh is always best.

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3 Go for healthy fats.

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Eating fat to lose weight? It's a thing. You just have to eat the right type. Research shows that good-for-you fats, including monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, can decrease your risk of heart disease, help with blood sugar control, lower blood pressure levels, and more. Look for foods like nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Even better, try one of our MUFA snacks!

4 Eat less sugar and salt.

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According to the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines, a lot less. Sugar and salt taste great in the moment, but in the end too much just leaves you feeling sluggish and bloated — kind of like you're plummeting headfirst into, umm, a pile of wood shavings?

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5 Drink lots and lots of water.

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You know the drill: Drink at least 8 glasses a day to stay hydrated and allow your body to function how it's supposed to. Actually, according to The Institute of Medicine, women might want to aim for 9 cups — and even more if you exercise.

6 Choose whole grains over refined grains.

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Unlike whole grains, refined grains are stripped of their bran, meaning you lose a lot of the nutrients. Studies have found that a healthy diet that includes plenty of whole grains is connected to less belly fat and reduced obesity risk, leading to an overall healthier life.

Lead image republished from Saint Helena Island Info.

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