The Longevity Diet
Source: Journal Cell (April 2022)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 4, 2022)
An article published April 2022, in the journal Cell, reviewed all the available research on diet and longevity from studies examining the link between nutrients, fasting, genes, longevity in short-lived species, and connected these links to clinical and observational studies in primates and humans, including studies of human centenarians. The result is what they call the “Longevity Diet”. The authors concluded that the key characteristics of the optimal diet for longevity appear to include moderate to high carbohydrate intake from non-refined sources, low but sufficient protein from largely plant-based sources, and enough plant-based fats to provide about 30 percent of energy needs.
Ideally, 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, which may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and other risk factors for individuals with increased of diabetes or high blood pressure. In short, the longevity diet includes lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat (chicken and turkey breast), low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.
The longevity diet bears both similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets often seen in super-aging “Blue Zones,” including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. Common diets in these communities known for a high number of people ages 100 or older are often largely plant-based or pescatarian and are relatively low in protein. The longevity diet represents an evolution of these “centenarian diets,” but with further modification of limiting food consumption to 12 hours per day and having several short fasting periods each year. Study researcher, Dr. Longo stated, “The longevity diet is not a dietary restriction intended to only cause weight loss, but a lifestyle focused on slowing aging, which can complement standard healthcare and taken as a preventative measure, will aid in avoiding morbidity and sustaining health into advanced age.”
The next step is to apply the principles of the longevity diet in a 500-person intervention study scheduled to take place in southern Italy. So, we will wait and see what the results of this study reveal. In the meantime, I believe these researchers have provided a good overall dietary template for health promotion and disease prevention. What is not factored into this discussion, unfortunately, is the importance of physical exercise and the use of some key supplements shown to counter certain aspects of aging, such as Coenzyme Q10, CDP-choline, glucosamine, immune-modulating agents (medicinal mushrooms, astragalus), melatonin and several other supplements of importance after the age of 40 or 45.
I have included the reference for this article in the text below.
1. Valter D. Longo, Rozalyn M. Anderson. Nutrition, longevity and disease: From molecular mechanisms to interventions. Cell, 2022; 185 (9): 1455 10.1016/j.cell.2022.04.002
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.