American researchers have found the secret of the longevity diet. To live longer, bet on dark chocolate and legumes, but leave out sugar and red meat.
We are now sure that food has a decisive impact on our health and a balanced diet could make us live longer. But what foods should you eat exactly? Researchers at the University of South Carolina have cataloged over 100 nutrition studies conducted over the past few decades in an effort to discover the diet that “offers the best chance of living a longer, healthier life“. Their results were published in the journal Cell.
On the same subject
As you might expect, legumes, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables are at the heart of this miracle diet. More surprisingly, the researchers named dark chocolate as a crucial part of the diet. It would be divided into three main categories of food: 55% unrefined carbohydrates, 30% vegetable fats, and finally, 15% vegetable protein.
Certain foods are completely to be avoided, in particular red meat and processed products such as cold cuts. Sugar and refined grains – white bread, pasta and cereals – should be reduced, as well as white meat and fish, which should only be eaten occasionally and in small amounts. According to the researchers, in addition to “delay aging“, this diet could reduce the risk of developing age-related diseasesincluding diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Is fasting good for living longer?
Beyond certain foods, the researchers recommend practicing intermittent fasting on a daily basis, either eat all their meals over a time slot of 11 to 12 hours. They also advise people at higher risk of disease to fast for five days every three to four months. “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.“, said Valter Longo, lead author of the study.
According to the lead author of the study, “this diet is not a dietary restriction intended solely to cause weight loss only“. Indeed, adopting it would also help “avoid morbidity and maintain health into old age“.
To summarize : “Lots of legumes, whole grains and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or charcuterie and little white meat; low-sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and dark chocolate.“
Nutrition, longevity and disease: from molecular mechanisms to interventions, CellApril 28, 2022
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lentils Sources of natural protein and iron, lentils are rich in antioxidants that effectively fight against free radicals responsible for cell aging. They also prevent neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, as well as certain cancers, including colon cancer.
dark chocolate Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that fight against free radicals, and thus against cell aging. It also decreases oxidative stress and reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Thanks to its magnesium content, dark chocolate would also be an anti-depression food. A little real pleasure combined with longevity.
Chickpeas Like lentils, chickpeas belong to the legume family which has multiple benefits including better diabetes control and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of fiber, especially insoluble fiber which has the ability to prevent constipation.
Chia seeds Rich in omega-3, chia seeds fight against cognitive deficit. Their consumption is also considered effective in the fight against cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or hypertension. They also provide their dose of vegetable proteins.
The coconut Coconut is a fruit that is suitable for both diabetics and people with cholesterol. Indeed, thanks to its low glycemic index, it avoids blood sugar peaks. And its saturated fatty acids would reduce cholesterol levels. It would also protect against certain cancers such as colon cancer.
Olive oil Star of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has many health benefits and could in particular help people live longer. Rich in antioxidants that fight against cellular aging, good for fighting bad cholesterol, protective for the heart… Olive oil is certainly one of the best oils for our health.
Fruits and vegetables We all know the song: to be healthy, it is important to eat five fruits and vegetables a day! The ideal being even two fruits and three vegetables. Vitamins, antioxidants, fibers… Fruits and vegetables are a real ally for longevity.
Nuts According to a study published in August 2021 in the journal Nature Food, a handful of nuts increases life expectancy by at least 22 minutes. And eating at least five nut potions every week would even increase lifespan by 1.3 years and reduce the risk of death from all causes by 14%.
Sweet potato In Japan, the sweet potato is a food that promises longevity. Rich in antioxidants, sweet potato also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It can even be consumed in case of diabetes, thanks to its low glycemic index for a starchy food. Rich in beta-carotene, it improves skin health and preserves eyesight.
brown rice Brown rice is much more nutritious than white rice which has undergone a refining process. Thus, it facilitates intestinal transit and fights against constipation, it helps to fight against cardiovascular diseases and even reduces the risk of diabetes.
Dried beans (white and red) Like lentils and chickpeas, dried beans (red and white) are rich in fibre, iron and animal protein. They are also packed with vitamin E, a major antioxidant that protects the membrane that surrounds immune system cells, red blood cells and white blood cells.
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