Examining a range of research from studies in laboratory animals to epidemiological research in humans gives scientists a clearer picture of the type of nutrition that can best provide the best chance for a longer, healthier life, said Professor Walter Longo at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
In an article including a literature review published on April 28 in prison cellLongo and co-author Rosalyn Anderson of the University of Wisconsin describe the “Longevity Diet,” a multi-pronged approach based on studies on different aspects of the diet, from food composition to Calories The length and frequency of fasting periods.
“We explored the link between nutrients, fasting, genes, and longevity in short-lived species, and linked these links to clinical and Epidemiological studies “In primates and humans, including centenarians,” Longo said. By adopting a multi-system, multi-pillar approach based on more than a century of research, we can begin to define a long-lived diet that is a solid foundation for nutritional recommendation and for future research.”
What and when do we eat to extend life?
Longo and Anderson reviewed hundreds of studies on nutrition, disease, and longevity in laboratory animals and humans and combined them with their own studies of nutrients and aging. The analysis included common diets such as total calorie restriction, high fat, and Low carb ketogenic dietVegetarian and vegan diets, and the Mediterranean diet.
The article also included a different review A form of fasting, including a short-term diet that mimics the body’s response to fasting, intermittent fasting (frequent and short-term) and periodic fasting (two or more days of fasting or fasting more than twice a month). In addition to examining age data from epidemiological studies, the team linked these studies to specific dietary factors that influence several longevity-regulating genetic pathways common to animals and humans that also influence markers of disease risk, including levels of insulin, C-reactive protein, and insulin-like growth factor. 1, cholesterol.
The authors report that the main characteristics of the optimal diet appear to be moderate to high intake of carbohydrates from unrefined sources, low but sufficient protein from largely plant sources, and sufficient vegetable fats to provide about 30 percent of energy needs. . Ideally, all meals of the day should be eaten within 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily fasting period, and a 5-day course of a diet that mimics fasting or fasting every 3-4 months may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and risk factors The other is for individuals with increased disease risk, Longo adds.
He 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 little white meat; low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and grains Refined. Olive oil and some dark chocolate.”
What’s next for a long life diet
Longo said the next step in the research into a life-extension system will be a study of 500 people taking place in southern Italy. The Longevity Diet bears similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets we often see in the very aging “blue zones”, including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California. Diets common in these societies, known to a large number of people 100 years of age or older, are often vegetarian or vegan and relatively low in protein. The extended diet is an evolution of these “durable diets,” Longo explained, citing the recommendation to limit food consumption to 12 hours a day and have several short meals. fasting periods each year.
Longo noted that in addition to general characteristics, the longevity regimen must be adapted to individuals on the basis of gender, age, health status, and genetics. For example, people over 65 years of age may need to increase protein in order to counteract weakness and lose lean body mass, as Longo’s studies have shown that higher amounts of protein were better for people over 65 but not ideal for those under 65. , like he said.
For people looking to improve their diet to extend life, he said it’s important to work with a healthcare provider who specializes in nutrition to customize a plan that focuses on small changes that can be adopted for life, rather than big changes that will cause significant, harmful loss of body fat and lean mass. of fat, followed by the restoration of lost fat, once a person abandons the highly restrictive diet.
“The longevity diet Not a dietary restriction aimed solely at losing weight but a lifestyle focused on slowing down aging, which can complement standard healthcare and, if taken as a preventative measure, help avoid disease and maintain health in an advanced age.”
Nutrition, longevity and disease: from molecular mechanisms to interventions. prison cell (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2022.04.002
University of Southern California
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