How to Use Today’s Research in Longevity to Improve Your Life
Over the last few decades, the link between how we eat and how long we live has become a prime focus for scientists and nutritionists. Once a controversial subject, diet as a form of life extension has by today become validated as a key factor, and as you read this the ‘longevity diet’ is being honed through yet more studies that are now more closely directed to finding exactly what foods and ways of eating can help us prevent life-shortening ailments and live longer.
Latest findings: Yes, There Is a Longevity Diet!
A University of South Carolina Study published this year in Cell magazine confirmed what mounting research has been building up towards over the last decade. Combining years of research by the authors and including reviews of hundreds of studies on nutrition and longevity, the study revealed that the combination of certain food types with caloric restriction and fasting periods can significantly contribute to preventing and reversing diseases and thus lengthening our lifespan.
Specifically, the authors of the study reported that the key components of the ideal anti-ageing diet include a moderate to high carbohydrate intake from non-refined sources, low but sufficient protein mainly from plant-based sources, and enough plant-based fats to supply around 30% of energy needs.
The study showed that the day’s meals would all occur within a window of 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily period of fasting, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or fasting-mimicking diet every 3-4 months, all of which can contribute to the reduction of blood pressure, insulin resistance and other risk factors.
The foods to aim for, the study concluded, are: Lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat; low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.
Never Forgetting the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet has been lauded for decades as an exemplary solution to achieving a healthy, long life. As Harvard Health has reported, a Harvard study conducted in 2014 on over 4,600 women showed that this way of eating helped protect telomeres. Telomeres sit at the ends of chromosomes, preventing the ends from unravelling. Telomere length is a biomarker of ageing. Shorter telomeres relate to a decreased life expectancy and higher rates of facing chronic diseases.
In the study, Harvard researchers found that the Mediterranean diet was directly connected with longer telomeres and that even minimal alterations in diet made a difference to health. The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish; minimizes red meats and processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine. See the study here
Eating to Be 100+ Like in the ‘Blue Zones’
The University of South Carolina Study longevity diet research links directly with what Dan Buettner, author of ‘The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest’ book showed the world, by studying the four areas of the world where people live the longest: Okinawa in Japan, Ikaria in Greece, Sardinia in Italy and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
Buettner analyzed over 150 dietary studies conducted in blue zones over the past century and came up with the following key dietary guidelines for a longevity diet:
- See that 95% of your food comes from a plant or a plant product.
- Consume meat no more than twice a week.
- Eat up to three ounces of fish daily.
- Minimize your consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products such as cheese, cream, and butter.
- Eat no more than two to four eggs per week.
- Eat at least a half cup of cooked beans daily.
- Slash sugar: consume no more than seven added teaspoons a day.
- Eat two handfuls of nuts per day.
- Love Whole foods: eat foods that are recognizable for what they are.
Buettner also points to specific foods that will help improve your diet and boost chances of a healthy, prolonged life:
Eat Super Blue Foods
Integrate at least three of these specific foods into your daily Blue Zones diet to be sure you are eating plenty of whole food.
Beans—all kinds: black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils
Greens—spinach, kale, chards, beet tops, fennel tops
Sweet potatoes—don’t confuse with yams
Nuts—all kinds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews
Olive oil—green, extra-virgin is usually the best. (Note that olive oil decomposes quickly, so buy no more than a month’s supply at a time.)
Oats—slow-cooking or Irish steel-cut are best
Barley—either in soups, as a hot cereal, or ground in bread
Green or herbal teas
Turmeric—as a spice or a tea
Read the whole Blue Zones Dietary guide here (https://www.bluezones.com/2020/07/blue-zones-diet-food-secrets-of-the-worlds-longest-lived-people/)
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