The DASH Diet Younger You

Shed 20 Years--and Pounds--in Just 10 Weeks


By Marla Heller

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New York Times bestselling author and DASH Diet specialist Marla Heller reveals groundbreaking research to help prevent and even halt signs aging through a combination of DASH-approved superfoods and strategies designed to target aging.

The most trusted brand in diets–the DASH diet–has helped millions of people lower blood pressure, lose weight, and improve their health. Now, in this groundbreaking new program, it can help you look and feel 20 years younger! Marla Heller, New York Times bestselling author and premier DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dietitian, has combined key elements of the DASH diet with the latest cutting-edge research to develop a program that can halt and even reverse many of the effects of aging.

Based on the diet rated the #1 Best Overall Diet by U.S. News & World Report, The Dash Diet Younger You reveals five age-defying strategies designed to target the root causes of aging, including Oxid-Aging, Inflamm-Aging, and Glyc-Aging. You’ll lose weight and turn back the clock while enjoying a delicious diet of antioxidant rich superfoods, satisfying plant-based meals, and foods that promote healthy gut bacteria and decrease inflammation and cravings. Featuring a natural detox that fights aging at the cellular level and proven blood pressure “busters,” this powerful program will help you erase years with visible and measurable results. In just 10 weeks, you can:

  • Reverse the diseases of aging
  • Fortify and rejuvenate hair and skin
  • Revitalize and strengthen bones, muscles, and joints
  • Improve heart health and blood pressure
  • Lose weight, especially in the tummy
  • Look and feel younger, healthier, and slimmer!
  • Complete with 28 days of meal plans and over 75 delicious recipes, The Dash Diet Younger You has everything you need to look and feel years younger!


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Table of Contents


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Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

That's the sound of time ticking by, and with it your internal clock, the one that determines your chronological age. Many people fear the ticking of that clock, thinking it will bring with it the frustrating effects of aging, like joint pain, weight gain (especially that stubborn belly weight!), wrinkles, and age-related illnesses.

But you don't have to be at the mercy of the clock! Those age-related consequences are avoidable! You can choose to stop the march of time that defines chronological aging and hold firm instead—and indefinitely—to the inner and outer youthfulness we naturally enjoy in our younger years. Whether you're in your twenties or thirties and are focused on keeping your youthful energy, health, and looks, or you're in your forties, fifties, or older and want to reverse the signs of aging and recover that inward and outward resilience you enjoyed in your younger years, The DASH Diet Younger You puts you back in the driver's seat. Your youthfulness no longer has to have an expiration date!

That's because this plan stems from the most trusted and effective program in diets: the DASH diet. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been named the Best Overall Diet and the Healthiest Diet by U.S. News & World Report. The health benefits of DASH are well documented and well known. It lowers blood pressure in fourteen days. It lowers cholesterol and preserves brain function. It lowers the rates of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and some types of cancer, including BRCA-negative breast cancer. And if you follow the DASH program, you're less likely to develop diabetes or kidney stones.

And now, thanks to exciting new research, I have discovered how the DASH Diet can be your anti-aging solution, too! This plan is specifically designed to help you shed not just pounds but also years, with a program of renewal and rejuvenation that will deliver a younger you—in as little as ten weeks.

The desire for eternal youth—an enduring wish to continue to look and feel young—is as old as time itself. The quest to find the secrets of everlasting youth and beauty stretches as far back as recorded history; most notably, it inspired the Spanish explorer Ponce de León to comb the world for a fountain of youth. The road to this promised land has been littered by fairy tales and false leads. The fountain of youth, though, is not to be found in some mystical, far-flung land; the secrets to maintaining our youthfulness can be found in the same fertile bedrock of science and nutrition that drives our medical frontiers forward. In fact, exciting research from the past few years reveals the tools you need to understand and control the mechanisms of aging—all through changes in diet and lifestyle.

Drawing on this research, in conjunction with my own decades of experience as an expert and pioneer in bringing the DASH diet to the public, I've created a brand-new DASH anti-aging program: The DASH Diet Younger You plan. With this book as your guide, you'll learn the latest secrets to looking and feeling younger and reversing the signs of premature aging—secrets that are simpler than you may think.

You've picked up this book because you, too, are interested in stopping or turning back the clock. Great news: This program will get you to that goal—in as little as ten weeks.

Let me tell you how and why. I'm a registered dietitian with twenty years of experience working hands-on with thousands of clients. Combined with my many years of postgraduate education, I've developed expertise in nutrition and the prevention of disease, and I had the privilege of working with one of the original architects of the DASH diet. I was tasked with creating a program to implement DASH for the public—in other words, to make the first scientifically proven diet easy to use for busy people in the real world. I was happy to share the DASH program with readers nationwide in my New York Times bestselling books, The DASH Diet Action Plan, The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, and The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook. Crowned the #1 diet by U.S. News & World Report for several years running, DASH came to fame as the diet proven to be as effective as front-line medications in preventing or reversing hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Were it not for the endorsements of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Heart Association, and the Mayo Clinic, along with a legion of doctors, such claims might be dismissed as nothing more than the hyperbole we have come to expect from passing diet fads. But the DASH diet is for real.

For me, the most important thing about DASH is that it proves that dietary intervention alone can have the same (or greater!) efficacy as prescription medications in fighting disease, minus all the nasty side effects and costly price tag! Since DASH has the ability to fight back diseases like hypertension and diabetes, I knew those same mechanisms held the promise—if harnessed correctly—of even more benefits. The same health-restoring properties in DASH that allow us to stave off disease can be amped up to go that achievement one better, and actually hold back the conditions we associate with aging.

That is what inspired me to create this amazing, easy, and effective anti-aging program. In my first books, I brought the benefits of the original DASH to the public and made it so easy to follow. But I have long realized that the DASH diet has so much more potential, not just to make us healthier and slimmer, but also to make us younger! To design this new program, I went back to the foundational research and reexamined every DASH study to discover how to maximize the benefits and rev up those properties necessary to keep us youthful and to restore us to our prime—inside and out!—indefinitely.

In creating this program, I incorporated remarkable benefits mined from newer research on how to preserve youthfulness and health—studies that were not available when DASH was originally developed. I discovered that the right foods, in the right proportions, can actually slow the processes of aging, even postpone and reverse them. How? By stopping damage at the cellular and DNA level before it causes wrinkles, sagging skin, excess fat around the waist, memory loss, and other symptoms traditionally associated with aging. These and other conditions, once thought to be the inevitable baggage we will carry as we advance in years, can actually be delayed or halted. Once I identified which foods had the greatest benefits, I knew I was onto something groundbreaking. I kept the foundation of the DASH diet as a basis for what I knew could be a revolutionary approach to anti-aging. After all, DASH has a research and medical pedigree like no other diet, along with the chops to halt disease in its tracks. To understand from the inside how a "mere" food intervention can reverse and prevent disease is to see the potential for turning back not only the diseases of aging, but aging itself.

This new research is mind-blowing. Case in point: Researchers are studying pieces of DNA called telomeres, which are directly involved in the aging process, both as markers and as influencers of aging. The longer your telomeres, the more youthful you will stay and the better you'll be able to sidestep the diseases of aging. The strategies you'll implement in this program will actually preserve the length of your telomeres—and this all leads to a younger you.

Scientists have also discovered that a healthy gut with the right balance of friendly bacteria carries benefits far beyond good digestion. These "good bugs" also make it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight, improve mood, boost immunity, and even repair sun-damaged skin! And a healthy gut fully absorbs trace micronutrients that are important for youth, vitality, and health. The DASH Diet Younger You plan is brimming with foods that will make you more youthful from the inside out.

In the 1990s, stale advice harped that "all foods can fit" and recommended that sugar, along with processed foods, could be part of a healthy diet. Well, that tired advice led to the epidemics of diabetes and obesity we are struggling with today. Not only are these major health problems, but we are also finding that sugar can disrupt hunger hormones and cause inflammation, which increases your odds of heart disease, dementia, and other illnesses associated with aging.

Let's never forget: Youthfulness is associated with less disease. There is a physiological correlation between aging and disease. While young, most people are not plagued by chronic disease. On the other hand, if you're dealing with diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, it is an indication that your body is actually aging faster than it needs to. What's worse is that if you are taking medications to treat any of these diseases, the side effects of those meds can actually accelerate aging.

But don't worry: I'll show you how diet and lifestyle changes can help restore a healthy baseline, so that you may be able to get off those drugs, or at least cut back on your dosages (always and only after consulting with your doctor, of course!). Take blood pressure, for example. The original DASH diet is widely prescribed for hypertension. In fact, it is proven to lower blood pressure in fourteen days, and that's without medication. And therein lies one of DASH's amazing secrets: Biologically, as opposed to chronologically, people with healthy blood pressure are up to twenty-five years younger than people with high blood pressure. In other words, if you and your best friend are both forty-five and you have high blood pressure and hers is normal, your body is more like the body of someone who is seventy years old. Your friend's body seems twenty-five years younger! Just by eating the right foods in the right ratios and making some specific, but simple, changes to your lifestyle, you can turn back the clock, too!

How fabulous, then, to have a diet and lifestyle plan that is prescription strength but doesn't have any negative side effects! Instead, it has spectacular collateral benefits. This new and improved DASH program can inoculate you against aging—and prevent the diseases of aging.

In this book, I introduce five groundbreaking, age-defying strategies, and I show you how to start implementing them right away, starting today.

The first strategy is that on this new plan, you'll eat more plant-based meals than you might have in the past. A plant-based diet positively affects every organ in your body, from your skin to your heart to your brain. This means a longer life, and just as important, it means turning back the clock, so that you'll be enjoying those "extra" years with youthful vitality, inside and out.

My goal in the DASH Diet Younger You plan is to provide you with a program that can deliver all the advantages of a plant-focused diet while still being flexible enough to also appeal to the majority of Americans, who do not wish to give up meat completely.

Second, you'll harness the power of anti-aging compounds in foods called flavonoids. The science behind the anti-aging capacity of flavonoids has only recently been uncovered. These plant powerhouse chemicals affect your body at the DNA level to keep you youthful.

Third, you'll naturally detox by emphasizing foods that promote the friendly bacteria that restore your system to a healthy, younger state.

Fourth, you'll learn to avoid the refined starches and sugars that have recently been found to be aging stimulators.

Fifth, you'll get off processed foods that can speed up aging and find a delicious, clean way of eating. Along with this fifth strategy, you'll become healthier and less dependent on certain age-promoting drugs, and you may be able to get off them altogether. The DASH food pattern—including every nutrient, every microcomponent, and each type of food on this diet, working in sync—confers youth-giving benefits.

I introduced the new plan to my practice, and the results were amazing. Clients who followed it for just one month reported that they were flooded with compliments about their appearance, from remarks that they looked younger to raves about glowing skin, shiny hair, and clear eyes. "Have you been to a spa?" friends asked, or in more hushed tones, "Did you have work done?" In addition to shedding years, my clients also shed excess pounds, bringing them back to a rejuvenated, more youthful appearance. Still others were sharper in their thinking and stronger in their bodies, with more youthful posture. I watched people get younger right before my eyes, as if the process of aging had not only stopped, but seemed to be going in reverse.

There's more to this program than just the diet. There's a lifestyle component that urges you to make some changes in the way you live. But I'm not offering up the same tired advice you've heard a million times. No. I'll show you how certain activities directly affect your DNA, reverse the primary processes of aging, and in effect, stop you from aging. This is information that has been only recently discovered by science—and it works synergistically with the diet. I will also help you "own" the DASH Diet Younger You program, whether you are concerned about sidestepping wrinkles, defying "old age" illnesses, or everything in between. And because the plan is based on foods and lifestyle, you don't have to wait for a drug company to develop a new product—you can take advantage of this program today!

My plan is proven to help reverse the inward and outward signs of aging. In less than one month you will start to see and feel the difference. In only two months, you will truly be younger and healthier.

Your payoffs will be immense: a youthful appearance that will have you turning heads; strength; vitality; and, ultimately, a healthier and more vibrant life. While you're enjoying your new way of eating and its amazing rewards, I'll talk to you about all the anti-aging benefits you can expect to enjoy, such as:

  • Healthier, younger-looking hair, skin, and nails
  • Clearer, healthier eyes
  • Weight loss, especially around your tummy
  • A healthier heart and blood pressure
  • A more nimble brain that defies dementia
  • A higher libido and a sexier body
  • Protection against diabetes and even some kinds of cancer
  • Stronger bones and muscles and more flexible joints

You'll also learn how to make the DASH Diet Younger You program a way of life for you and your family.

I often envision a world where men and women of all ages can recover their energy and health to live at their peak, indefinitely. In other words, I imagine a world where we remain wrinkle free and gloriously youthful despite the march of time. I know it sounds impossible, like a fantasy. But maybe not. In fact, researchers have taken giant steps toward unveiling the secrets underlying the aging process and toward preventing its changes through proven anti-aging strategies—paving the way for longer, healthier lives!

The DASH Diet Younger You plan can help you get there. This book brings you the good news that science and nutrition have delivered us to the promised land of longer life and enduring youthfulness, inside and out. This happily-ever-after is no longer simply the stuff of fairy tales or hucksters' spiels. Chronological age can be deceiving. I know plenty of people in their thirties and forties who look (and feel) decades older. I also see lots of people in their sixties or seventies who look (and live) decades younger. The prematurely old have accelerated their aging process because they've succumbed to the poor nutritional and lifestyle choices of our times. But I also know that when they decide to change their diets and their lives, they can reclaim their youthfulness—they will no longer look older than their years, but, perhaps, much younger.

You can join the ranks of the new order of eternal "youngsters" with the right diet and the right plan, and that plan is the DASH Diet Younger You.

Are you ready to start getting younger?

Marla Heller


DASH to a Younger You


You Are As Young As You Eat

Think of your body as a symphony orchestra, with all your cells, tissues, and organs as instruments. The music they play comprises you and everything you do. When your "instruments" are playing in harmony, you look and feel young. But as you get older, your music starts to drift off-key. Over time, the music gets out of tune. Then you start aging.

You know the signs of an off-key body: wrinkles, sagging skin, a poochy belly, sagging shoulders, and thinning, gray hair. These signs are visible; others are not so visible. They're occurring inside your body, right down to the cellular level. Your blood pressure may rise as you get older. Your body can't process sugar as well. You gradually lose muscle and bone, while packing on body fat. Your shape changes, with that fat filling in where muscle used to be. Medical exams might show that your heart isn't pumping as well as it used to, your kidneys may not be working as efficiently, and your lung power has fallen off. And then there is one of the most critical manifestations of human aging—the decline of your immune system.

All of this, inside and out, strikes an alarming chord. So what's going on? What causes aging?

For centuries, aging has been thought to be an inescapable breakdown of the body and its organs. Much like a car with too many miles on it, the human machine eventually wears out. You can keep repairing the parts and getting tune-ups, but eventually the vehicle stops running.

There's nothing much you can do about it. Or is there?

I'm absolutely convinced we can extend human life—and the quality of that life. This is not science fiction. Although the anti-aging science behind this plan is just newly discovered, which has allowed me to optimize my plan, the foundation of the DASH Diet Younger You plan is one that I have perfected with the thousands of people I have worked with over my twenty-year career. So I have seen the results and know that there's a lot you can do to slow down, postpone, even reverse aging. We know so much more about what causes aging than ever before. But the best news of all is that with measures as simple as diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes, we can stop three key processes that cause aging.

What are those key processes? Let's take a look.


One of the most prevalent and credible theories of aging is that our cells are increasingly damaged, the older we get, by what are called free radicals. Free radicals are renegade molecules created by the normal process of burning food and oxygen to make energy. Unchecked, they assault the body through oxidative damage, or oxidation, a process that literally rusts us from the inside out. Free radicals can wrinkle your skin and harm your heart. At a more fundamental level, these errant molecules chip away at the DNA in cells, possibly mutating the genetic code, which can increase the risk of developing cancer. Once this DNA wreckage occurs, it's likely to be permanent and will accelerate the aging process. This is what "oxid-aging" is all about.

Fortunately, cells can fight back with antioxidants that detoxify free radicals. The most famous antioxidants are vitamins C and E, but there are many more nutrients in plant foods that also act as natural, powerful antioxidants, from minerals to phytochemicals (natural substances in plants that fight disease). The body also has its own cavalry of natural antioxidants. In fact, the reason humans live longer than most species is because we have unusually high levels of antioxidants in our bodies. Even so, it is up to us to help our antioxidant defenses stay strong through diet and exercise. Unless we do, free radicals will outnumber antioxidants, and that's what creates oxid-aging.

We can prevent oxid-aging by eating foods plentiful in antioxidants. Vitamin E from nuts and seeds, and beta-carotene from orange and yellow vegetables, trap and neutralize free radicals physically, by lying in wait in the membranes that surround the cell nucleus. They go to work against cholesterol, too. You can't see it or taste it, but cholesterol is in all foods of animal origin, foods like eggs, poultry, meat, and fish, and it is produced in your body utilizing fats from animal sources and from plant foods. One reason cholesterol leads to heart disease is that it becomes oxidized by free radicals in the arteries. Antioxidants, including vitamin C and many phytochemicals, help prevent oxidation of cholesterol.

The foods you'll be eating on the DASH Diet Younger You program are loaded with antioxidants that stay on the lookout for free radicals and squelch them before they can do damage.

Physical activity also helps. At first, exercise can stimulate free radicals, but as your muscles adapt to regular activity and grow stronger, they increase the production of natural antioxidants.

You can thus stop oxid-aging easily—and in doing so, improve your health and increase your longevity.


"Inflamm-aging" is a term coined by scientists to describe how chronic inflammation affects aging. When something injures or infects our body, immune cells are pressed into service immediately. Like cellular EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), they rush through the bloodstream to the injury site or to confront invading germs. You can see this rescue process in action when an injured area feels warm or looks red and swollen. This reaction is referred to as acute inflammation. It's a perfectly normal response, designed to heal the body. Acute inflammation can last from hours to days. As it subsides, the rescuer cells perish or are disbanded. You are healed and back to normal.

But if this immune response continues, the body goes into a state of ongoing inflammation. This is called chronic inflammation, and it underlies most serious diseases.

Arthritis is one disease related to inflammation. So are heart disease, dementia, and type 2 diabetes. Even excess weight can be part of the inflammation response, both by aggravating it and by serving as a response to inflammation.

When scientists talk about inflamm-aging, they're referring to the shortening of telomeres, which is caused by inflammation. Telomeres are caps that protect the ends of your chromosomes, in much the same way as the plastic tips of your shoelaces keep them from fraying. When the telomeres shorten too much, the cell stops dividing and dies off (a process termed apoptosis). Undersized telomeres are associated with heart disease, cancer, dementia, and early death.

Numerous studies suggest that a plant-focused diet like the DASH Diet Younger You plan, full of foods like vegetables, fruits, and beans, can decrease inflammation and thus protect telomeres and prevent them from shortening.


The third aging process is called glycation, or more aptly, glyc-aging. As we get older, we don't process sugar as well. We may develop prediabetes symptoms, even if we don't have the full-blown disease. Excess sugar molecules amass in the blood, tying up with proteins such as collagen in the skin, or proteins in the brain. This process produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which cause wrinkles, promote inflammation (which hurts immunity), and accelerate aging. AGEs can also make you prone to developing diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and other diseases of aging. In my work with people with diabetes, I always noticed accelerated aging in those whose sugar levels were not under control. And, of course, you don't have to be diabetic for sugars to speed aging in your body.

To understand glycation, think of what happens when you grill a steak. After the proteins in the meat are exposed to high heat, the meat gets crusty or crispy because naturally occurring sugars caramelize and bind to the protein molecules.

The very same thing happens to our skin and organs once sugar enters the bloodstream and links itself to collagen in a process called cross-linking. Collagen is an important protein that holds together cells, tissues, and organs and is a major constituent of your skin, bone, cartilage, and tendons. With cross-linking, AGEs cause collagen molecules to stick together. As a result, once-healthy collagen fibers lose their elasticity, becoming rigid, stiff, and brittle. The effect is most apparent in wrinkled skin, a cardinal sign of growing older. Even if you're healthy, the effects of glycation on your skin can show up when you're around thirty-five and get progressively worse after that, according to a 2001 study in the British Journal of Dermatology. Glycation can also hurt organs whose flexibility is important, such as the heart, kidneys, brain, skin, and eyes.

AGEs can occur in foods, especially in fried and cooked meats, and they are associated with increased risk for dementia and diabetes. AGEs promote the accumulation of amyloid plaques—sprawling tangles of protein molecules in the brain—that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

When we're younger, our immune system cells act as garbage collectors, removing sugar-linked proteins; but with the passage of time, the cells cannot keep up. And as soon as sugar causes proteins to cross-link, glyc-aging begins.

The DASH Diet Younger You plan combats this cycle of damage. It helps you avoid foods with added sugars and high-fat meats, keeps your blood sugar under control, and adds foods high in nutrients known to prevent glyc-aging.


On Sale
Dec 27, 2016
Page Count
272 pages

Marla Heller

About the Author

Marla Heller is a Registered Dietitian, and holds a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was trained in DASH by one of the original architects of the original NIH research and has been working for more than fifteen years to help her patients put DASH into practice. Heller has been the featured nutrition expert for the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post and she is a spokesperson for the Greater Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association. She is the author of New York Times bestsellers The DASH Diet Younger You, The DASH Diet Action Plan, and The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook.

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