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Could the “longevity diet” improve your health and help you live longer?

Category: News
An older couple eat watermelons

Many people struggle to maintain a healthy weight and there have been countless fad diets that promised to provide the answer over the years. According to a study reported in the Independent, the average Brit tries 126 fad diets over the course of their lifetime.

Some of these diets are extreme and difficult to maintain, and advice about what we should be eating often changes. As a result, it can be hard to know what kind of diet is best for your health.

Fortunately, a researcher named Valter Longo hopes to simplify healthy living by combining the most up-to-date findings to create the optimal diet. He aimed to build a sustainable diet that doesn’t simply follow the most recent trends. Instead, he built his plan based on a large body of research and some basic healthy eating concepts.

The resulting “longevity diet” may improve your health in several ways and could help you live longer. Read on to learn how.

The “5 pillars” of the longevity diet give basic rules about what to eat

There are several aspects to the longevity diet but much of it is based on the “five pillars” of healthy eating observed in places with higher-than-average life expectancy.

Certain countries including Japan, Italy, and Greece have the highest number of centenarians – people that live to 100 – in the world. Researchers studied the diets that people in these countries ate and, according to CNBC, found that 65% of their food came from five sources.

The five pillars are:

  • Wholegrains
  • Greens
  • Tubers including potatoes and yams
  • Nuts
  • Beans.

The longevity diet involves eating from mainly plant-based sources, focusing on the five pillars. It also recommends that around 30% of your calories come from plant-based fats such as olive oil or avocados. You can eat some fish-based meals but try to limit this to two or three times a week at most.

More generally, Longo advises that you eat as your ancestors would have done, focusing on simple ingredients and limiting processed foods as much as possible.

Fasting is an important part of the longevity diet

Fasting has become popular in recent years as it is thought to have several potential health benefits. As a result, fasting is a central part of the longevity diet.

When starting the plan, it’s recommended that you eat a strict vegan diet and limit your calories to between 800 and 1,100 a day for five days. This is known as a “fasting-mimicking diet”.

After this initial period, you should then limit your meals to a 12-hour window each day. For example, if you have breakfast at 7 am, you should ideally not eat again after 7 pm. This is known as “intermittent fasting”.

It’s also recommended that you repeat the five-day fasting-mimicking diet two or three times a year, but you could do this more often if you aim to lose weight.

The longevity diet could benefit your health in several ways

The longevity diet is relatively new and combines various areas of research to give advice about healthy living. As a result, research into the long-term effects is limited. However, there are several potential health benefits of the longevity diet.

Plant-based diets could help you live longer

There is research to suggest that eating a plant-based diet could increase your longevity. Indeed, as reported by The Week, a study found that vegans have a 12% lower risk of death from all causes.

As a result, following the longevity diet and eating primarily plant-based foods could help you live longer.

You could reduce your risk of serious health conditions

Plant-based diets have also been linked to a reduced risk of several serious health conditions. For example, according to the Guardian, swapping 50 grams of processed meat a day for nuts or legumes reduces the risk of heart disease by 25%. Similarly, swapping 50 grams of processed meat for 28 grams of nuts reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by around 20%.

Fasting could promote better health

Fasting is an important part of the longevity diet as it may have several health benefits. For example, according to John Hopkins Medicine, it could:

  • Improve your blood pressure and overall heart health
  • Improve your memory and cognitive ability
  • Reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Consequently, when combined with a healthy diet, fasting could have a significant positive effect.

Why not try the longevity diet for yourself and see what difference it makes to your health and wellbeing? Just make sure to speak to a health professional first to ensure that the new diet is suitable for you.

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