Get ready for some real talk, because when it comes to the topic of aging, Cameron Diaz is not holding back. The actress and newly minted lifestyle guru shares her thoughts on everything from gray hairs to fertility and menopause in her just-released wellness tome, The Longevity Book ($17; amazon.com), a follow-up to her No. 1 New York Times bestseller The Body Book ($15; amazon.com). Below, the top nine things we learned about the ageless actress and how she manages to look so, well, ageless.
1. She takes doctor's appointments seriously. Diaz not only schedules checkups when she's sick, but when she's healthy, too. "I want to use medicine as a preventative tool for my health as I age," she explains. According to her research, physicians desperately want women to ask more questions during checkups—a habit linked to a longer lifespan.
2. Her first step to aging gracefully was to learn about it. In the book, Yale researcher Dr. Becca Levy, who has been studying the correlation between positivity and longevity since the '90s, confirms that people who embrace aging with positive attitudes have improved physical ability, among other benefits, compared to their pessimistic peers. Not a happy-go-lucky kind of gal? No problem. One of Dr. Levy's studies found that simply learning about aging yields quantifiable health benefits comparable to those typically achieved from exercise.
3. It's okay to worry about menopause. While the world is waiting with bated breath to see if Diaz's next project will be tackling motherhood, her personal curiosities and reflections on this milestone are oddly comforting for women who have decided not to—or can't—procreate. "Being a woman is not defined by getting your period or being able to have a child," she writes.
4. She gets by with a little help from her friends. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being, and long-term stress can take a toll on your body and increase mortality. Reaching out to friends and strengthening social connections has never been more important, especially as more studies report that increasing numbers of adults are experiencing loneliness and isolation.
5. She advocates a Mediterranean diet. According to Diaz, a recent study traced individuals over the course of four years who followed the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes the consumption of fresh produce, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats while discouraging sweets, processed foods, and eating late at night. In addition to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent, participants also lowered their risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and stroke, all while improving cognitive health.
6. She wants you to get to the gym, too. Despite the ubiquity of dietary supplements, good old-fashioned exercise is the best way to offset things like osteoporosis and other age-related health problems. Diaz, a fitness fanatic herself, shares this compelling study that resonated with her: Researchers at Stanford University examined the correlation between athletic training and health in runners over the age of 50 and found that runners had lower levels of inflammatory markers, responded better to vaccines, and showed improved mental functioning compared to their less-active peers.
7. Her biggest regret. Diaz, who used to go through 20 cigarettes a day, confesses smoking, which accelerates aging, is her worst mistake in life: "If I had a time machine and I could go back to that period in my life, I would never have lit that very first cigarette," she writes. Her advice? Never stop trying to quit because every minute counts. Within 12 hours of quitting, your body will already start to repair itself. Get support from doctors, family, friends, therapists, Internet forums, or even a smartphone app.
8. Her morning routine. Diaz says her perfect days begin by making her bed, smoothing the covers down, drinking a liter of water, meditating for 20 minutes, eating avocado toast or a bowl of savory oatmeal, and working out. This regime, which takes just over an hour, combines rest, nutrition, and movement, and gets her energized to seize the day.
9. She's embracing her 40s with open arms. News flash: Life isn't about being young. According to Diaz, who celebrated her 43rd birthday August 30 with a dinner party hosted by her husband, musician Benji Madden, welcoming middle age is a healthy way to acknowledge your personal achievements. "I have lived long enough to have learned these lessons, to have earned these relationships, to have discovered all these new layers of myself that I didn't know existed years ago—or that haven't yet developed," she writes.