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Health and Fitness News

Eat This, Live Longer

Live a longer, healthier life with the longevity diet.

Around the world, there are pockets of people known to live longer than the average population. Found mainly in Greece, Japan, Italy, and the United States, these groups of people seem to know a secret the rest of the world doesn’t.

Valter Longo, Ph.D., biochemist and Director of the USC Longevity Institute, studied these groups of people to discover the secret to health and long life. He then took what he learned and published as the longevity diet.

The guidelines set forth in this way of eating propose a diet that includes a lot of plant-based foods, less meat, and periodic fasting. Keep reading to learn more about the longevity diet and to find out if it can help you hit a ripe old age.

Potential Benefits

According to Longo’s research, people who follow the longevity diet and lifestyle have a lower risk of death from heart disease and a lower risk of death in general. This finding is attributed to a lower intake of meat and an increased consumption of plant-based protein.

Intermittent fasting also plays a role. Linked to lower body mass index, decreased blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure, this short-term, occasional fasting reduces these common risk factors for disease and mortality.

What to Eat

Many diets push high doses of protein, but the longevity diet recommends limiting protein to only 0.31 to 0.36 grams per pound of body weight for adults younger than 65. People over the age of 65 should eat slightly more.

When on the longevity diet, you get the majority of your protein from plant-based foods such as beans and lentils. Animal-based protein such as meat and poultry should be limited, but fish, mollusks, and crustaceans low in mercury are allowed. The higher the seafood is in vitamin B12, omega-3, and omega-6 the better. For improved health, the longevity diet encourages you to eat meatless meals several days a week.

Instead of meats, fruits and vegetables are the staples of the longevity diet. Full of nutrients and antioxidants, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will lower your risk of heart disease and add years to your life. Plan to eat three cups of vegetables a day and two cups of fruit.

With the longevity diet, you’ll also eat more nuts and nut butters for health and long life. Rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and valuable nutrients, nuts of any and all varieties should be a regular part of your diet. Even if you don’t follow the rest of the longevity diet, nuts are helpful. Studies show people who eat just a few ounces of nuts each week have a lower risk of death compared to non-nut eaters.

Going for longevity also requires you to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for your heart, cholesterol levels, and health in general. They also help you feel full faster and longer and promote weight loss. Get healthy fats from olive oil, avocados, nuts, nut butters, and fatty fish.

What You Shouldn’t Eat

Equally important is what you shouldn’t eat. If you want to live longer, you’ll need to avoid certain foods. According to the longevity diet, this means limiting or eliminating your consumption of highly processed foods, added sugar, poultry, meat, and dairy products.

When to Eat

Interestingly, research has found that when you eat plays a role in your ability to beat the odds and live a longer-than-average life. What’s this mean for you? It means that you should eat all your meals within a 12-hour period. Then, for the other 12 hours, you’ll want to fast. So if you eat breakfast at seven in the morning, don’t eat after seven that evening.

If you’re overweight, you should plan to eat two meals a day and two snacks. People at a healthy weight can eat three meals a day and one snack.

Besides the 12 hours of fasting each day, the longevity diet proposes a program that requires you to fast from your normal diet for five days. Instead, you should consume what is provided in a paid-for, prepackaged meal kit available.