Food has evolved from being a necessity to a luxury. The way we look at food has changed according to the times. However, our food choices have becoming more and more deadlier. Day by day, new food trends are introduced with fattier, oilier food being centered as the ‘it’ food for the season. It may seem sensible at that time to be part of it but how about its effects in the long run?
Fortunately, there are many of us who are beginning to realize the importance of taking better care of what we consume. Thus, we have witnessed the dawn of new-age diets. However, many diets are mostly focused on weight loss rather than a sustainable lifestyle. The question now running in your mind is, are there diets that can help you live longer, feel younger and stay fit at the same time? Well, let me introduce to you the Longevity Diet.
What is a Longevity Diet?
Longevity diet is a plan culminated after 25 years of research on ageing, nutrition and disease worldwide by Dr. Valter Longo, the director of Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Basically, the longevity diet is just a list of dos and don’ts that you can follow if you wish to lead a healthier, longer and disease-free life.
According to Dr. Valter, the Longevity Diet is a fast-mimicking diet that encourages its followers to have a largely plant-based diet with the occasional animal protein added in. Now, what does he mean by ‘fast mimicking diet?’
A fast mimicking diet, basically allows you to ‘cheat’ your body into thinking that you are fasting while still consuming a low calorie diet in a span of 5 days. On the first day, a diet of 1,100 calories of mostly high quality foods, followed by 4 days of 800-calorie diet consisting of plant-based whole foods like nuts, olives, teas, and soup mixes. Seems quite easy to follow right? Don’t be too eager just yet. To start practicing the Longevity Diet, you must be totally gluten-free, eat foods without added sugars or animal protein, stop exercising and the consumption of alcohol as well as coffee.
For best results, practice the longevity diet once a month while following it with a healthy diet for three weeks before restarting on the following month. In a span of three months, you should be able to see significant changes in weight, waist measurements, lab markers, blood pressure, and mental alertness.
Benefits of Longevity Diet
So, what are the benefits of Longevity Diet? Dr. Longo’s nutri-technology technique introduced via the fast mimicking diet has seen to temporarily inhibit the ageing process and promotes high stem cell-based regeneration results. In other words, by avoiding added sugars, amino acids in animal proteins and reducing calories, you have caused your body to go into a ‘gentle ketosis’ state that helps your body to:
- Activate cell-based self-repair in the body for anti-aging benefits
- Lose weight and reduce abdominal fat for greater health
- Extend your healthy lifespan with simple everyday changes
- Prevent age-related muscle and bone loss
- Build your resistance to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer
Foods that Promote Longevity Diet
Now, we are going to the fun part of the article. What should we eat when we are starting the diet? Dr. Longo has stated that in order to gain the best results, you need to eat high quality foods and plant-based whole foods. So, what are the foods that fall under these two categories?
High quality foods basically consist of food that is unrefined or processed minimally such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and healthy sources of protein. So below are 5 foods that promote longevity.
Salmon is a low-mercury seafood and one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in decreasing the risk of abnormal heartbeats, lower triglyceride levels, slow the growth of artery-clogging fat deposits, and reduce blood pressure. Besides, omega-3 is seen as a “brain food,” as they may reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
Blueberries are well known to be a rich source of antioxidants. It’s natural compounds called flavanoids are proven to be able to slow down the rate of brain degeneration, thus lowering the risk of age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Chocked full with nutrients, sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile and healthful vegetables available. It is seen as an all-rounder as it provides a multitude of benefits such as boosting immunity to fight diseases. It’s a good source for anti-inflammatory nutrients such as vitamins A and C, making it terrific for those suffering from arthritis or asthma. Besides, it has been proven to lower blood glucose levels due to its low glycemic index.
Besides being a superfood and a strength boost for the beloved fictional sailor, Popeye, spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients. While it is low in calories, dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide the necessary protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals required by the body.
5. Dark Chocolate
Having chocolate considered as a food that can promote longevity is definitely welcoming! However, not any chocolate can be considered as good for you. Dark chocolates contain high flavanoid levels that
support the health of your heart and blood vessels.
For more high quality foods that you’d like to include in your diet, check out these superfood vegetables.
Tips for A Successful Longevity Diet Phase
Now you are ready to embark on your very own Longevity Diet journey. Before you get started, here are a few things for you to keep in mind.
Moderation is Key
Don’t get me wrong when I say that Longevity Diet promotes plant-based proteins, that does not mean that you should stop eating meat completely! Choose lean meats and low-mercury seafood like shrimp and tilapia but only during your rest weeks.
Say Yes to Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in omega 3 and perfect as marinade, dressing and baking as well.
No Dairy Please
Dairy and meat aren’t suggested on the Longevity Diet because they contain high levels of both protein and saturated fat. If you do eat dairy, goat milk and cheese is recommended over those from cows since they are rich in minerals and anti-inflammatory properties.
New Mommies Not Allowed!
New mothers and breastfeeding mothers are restricted from following this diet as it is considered as a low-calorie diet and may cause dietary deficiency to both mothers and babies.
For those who are healthy and wish to follow the Longevity Diet, eat during a 12-hour window, preferably between 8 am to 8pm with 3 meals and 1 low calorie snacking session, either before or after lunch. Refrain from eating 4 hours before bed and make sure your calorie intake consists of 60% pant-based fats, 10% from protein, and 30% from carbohydrates.
Live Long and Prosper!
Are you ready to make some meaningful changes in your lifestyle? Make it your new year’s resolution and embark your very own longevity diet journey. After all, healthy is the new sexy!