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Jared Leto flaunts rippling abs: Vegan diet and yoga keep him young

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Jared Leto flaunted his chiseled abs and fat-free physique in an Instagram photo he posted. A shirtless Leto wore vegan clothing from head to toe in the sun-splashed snapshot. "Me. Zebra pants. Polaroid. Vegan leather cuff," Jared wrote in the photo caption.

Leto credits his longtime vegan diet and yoga workouts for his youthful good looks. Jared, who at 42 looks a decade younger, also doesn't drink and makes sure he gets enough rest.

"Twenty solid years of eating vegetarian/vegan and taking care of myself [is my anti-aging secret]," Leto told GQ. "That probably helps the preservation process. It's probably just down to sleep and diet."

For exercise, Jared does yoga workouts, hikes, and cycles. "I'm a pretty adventurous hiker, so I like to crawl through the brush," he said. "I like to be outdoors. I never use an iPod. I like to hear the sounds of nature."

Jared, the frontman for the band Thirty Seconds To Mars, fasted for a month and lost 40 pounds to play a transsexual woman battling AIDs in the drama "Dallas Buyers Club." The 5-foot-9 Leto starved himself down to a scrawny 116 pounds, and won the Oscar for best supporting actor. His co-star, Matthew McConaughey lost 50 pounds and walked away with the best actor Oscar.

Radical body transformations are nothing new for the boyishly handsome Leto. In 2007, the naturally lanky Jared gained 67 pounds to play John Lennon's assassin, Mark David Chapman, for the film "Chapter 27."

Jared, who binge-ate to gain weight, said the unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle took its toll on him physically and psychologically. After losing the weight in 2008, Leto said he would never again gain weight for a film role because carrying the excess weight on his slender frame damaged his health.

"I'd never do it [gain a lot of weight for a role] again," he said. "It definitely gave me some problems. I don't know if it was gout, but I had a definite problem with my feet."

Vegan Diet Touted for Weight Loss and Age-Defying Health Benefits

Leto joins a long list of celebrity vegans, including Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Samuel L. Jackson. They have all credited the plant-based diet for giving them more energy, helping them lose weight, and staying youthful-looking.

Jackson, 65, said he was inspired to go vegan after reading Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and spending time with the renowned vegan cardiologist.

Jackson said watching Esselstyn's ground-breaking film, Forks Over Knives, completely put him over the edge. Samuel L. has credited the vegan diet for his 40-pound weight loss and dramatically improved health.

"I feel great," Jackson told Ecorazzi. "I have a lot more energy than I used to have. I sleep better. I like the way I look in my clothes better.”

The age-defying effects of a vegan diet are no surprise to Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. "If you shift to a diet more about plant-based foods, you are likelier to live healthier and experience less chronic disease," said Dr. Katz, author of Disease-Proof.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman agrees. “The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose,” said Dr. Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting.

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