Scientists from the University of Southern California and elsewhere found a clearer picture of what kind of nutrition can offer the best chance for a longer, healthier life.
They described the “longevity diet,” a multi-pillar approach based on studies of various aspects of diet, from food composition and calorie intake to the length and frequency of fasting periods.
The research is published in Cell and was conducted by Professor Valter Longo et al.
In the study, the team reviewed hundreds of studies on nutrition, diseases and longevity in laboratory animals and humans and combined them with their own studies on nutrients and aging.
The analysis included popular diets such as the restriction of total calories, the high-fat and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, vegetarian and vegan diets, and the Mediterranean diet.
They also included a review of different forms of fasting, including a short-term diet that mimics the body’s fasting response, intermittent fasting (frequent and short-term) and periodic fasting (two or more days of fasting or fasting-mimicking diets more than twice a month).
The team found that the key characteristics of the optimal diet appear to be 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 may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and other risk factors for individuals with increased disease risks.
The team described what eating for longevity could look like in real life:
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.
The next step in researching the longevity diet will be a 500-person study taking place in southern Italy.
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 age 100 or older are often largely plant-based or pescatarian and are relatively low in protein.
In addition to the general characteristics, the longevity diet should be adapted to individuals based on sex, age, health status, and genetics.
For instance, people over age 65 may need to increase protein in order to counter frailty and loss of lean body mass, as studies showed that higher protein amounts were better for people over 65 but not optimal for those under 65.
If you care about longevity, please read studies about dieting method that could increase longevity, and this exercise is the key to improving people’s longevity.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about nutrient that could lower high blood pressure, and results showing this diet could help prevent memory loss and dementia.
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