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Slow Down Aging with a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Slow Down Aging with a Nutrient-Dense Diet 
by J. R. Workman


At the peak of medical science lies the ambition to attain universal longevity for humans. Fortunately, one of the keys to longevity is achievable right at your very home: a nutrient-dense diet. Nutrient-dense, plant-based diets are known to stunt aging and stop the advances and causes of countless diseases and illnesses and they can be prepared straight from your own kitchen. In todays article you will learn about some of the primary dietary causes of aging and health-related problems as well as some of the best ways to ward them off and maintain (or even regain) your health. 

"On this account, a very slender, regulated, and restricted diet is dangerous to persons in health, because they bear transgressions of it more difficultly. For this reason, a slender and restricted diet is generally more dangerous than one a little more liberal." ― Galen, On The Natural Faculties


Slow Down Aging with a Nutrient-Dense Diet 

Metabolic Stress



Plant-based diets slow down aging due to lower metabolic stress. The health of your metabolism determines how well your cells utilize energy, how efficiently your digestive system works, your sleeping quality, your energy levels, and even your mood. Aging is defined as a decline in an organisms biological functions and their ability to adapt to metabolic stress. According to an article published in the Nutrients journal titled Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets the use of plant-based diets as a means of preventing and treating cardio-metabolic diseases is effective:

"Conclusions Vegetarian diets represent an effective means for the prevention and treatment of cardio-metabolic diseases. Properly planned vegetarian diets are healthful and effective for weight and glycemic control, and provide metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, including reversing atherosclerosis and decreasing blood lipids and blood pressure. The cardio-metabolic benefits seem to be greater with vegan than lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets [121]. The use of plant-based diets as a means of prevention and treatment of cardio-metabolic disease deserves to be promoted through dietary guidelines and recommendations." (Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets by Hana Kahleova et al)

Fatty acid consumption also aids in regulating the metabolic pathways leading to slower aging. An article published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology journal entitled Free Fatty Acids Reduce Metabolic Stress and Favor a Stable Production of Heterologous Proteins in Pichia Pastoris mentions how fatty acids help to reduce metabolic stress:

"In conclusion, this study allows to recognize how culture conditions regulate metabolic pathways, understanding that those associated with the production of fatty acids allow favoring the production of molecules of commercial interest, regulating even the quality of these." (Free Fatty Acids Reduce Metabolic Stress and Favor a Stable Production of Heterologous Proteins in Pichia Pastoris by Andrea B. Zepeda et al)

Lower metabolic stress has been linked to increased longevity and a lower risk of age-related diseases. As reported in an article published in the American Diabetes Association journal named The Critical Role of Metabolic Pathways in Aging studies confirm that metabolic signaling pathways can modulate age-related disease risk and longevity:

"We have described in this study how key features of metabolic signaling pathways can modulate age-related disease risk and longevity. ...Although there is certainly more work needed, substantial progress in our understanding of the interplay between metabolism and aging has made the goal of developing strategies to delay the onset of age-related diseases and improve quality of life realistic and attainable." (The Critical Role of Metabolic Pathways in Aging by Nir Barzilai et al)

Caloric Restriction 


Caloric restriction is known to prolong life span in a similar way that consuming a plant-based diet doesit reduces metabolic stress—one of the primary sources of agingAs specified by an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine called Caloric Intake and Aging evidence suggests that caloric restriction can markedly prolong one's life span:

"Because caloric restriction can markedly prolong the life span, it is being widely studied to determine the mechanisms of aging. An increasing body of evidence suggests that cumulative oxidative damage to macromolecules such as protein, lipids, and DNA has a major role in aging. Caloric restriction attenuates both the degree of oxidative damage and the associated decline in function.7 " (Caloric Intake and Aging by Richard Weindruch & Rajindar S. Soha)

Free Radicals 


Free radicals are one of the leading causes of aging and many illnesses. In case you do not know what free radicals are: Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells, proteins, and even DNA. Deep fried foods, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and several other substances are known to produce free radicals. Free radicals are commonly created from partaking in unhealthy dietary choices. Consuming excess amounts of empty calories that possess little nutritional value increases aging if not taken with a sufficient number of nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants because it requires immoderate amounts of energy to process empty calories and this produces free radicals. An article published in the Pharmacognosy Review journal headed Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on Human Health describes how the damage that free radicals cause contributes to the etiology of many chronic health problems and diseases:

"Free radicals damage contributes to the etiology of many chronic health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataract, and cancer. Antioxidants prevent free radical induced tissue damage by preventing the formation of radicals, scavenging them, or by promoting their decomposition. Synthetic antioxidants are recently reported to be dangerous to human health. Thus the search for effective, nontoxic natural compounds with antioxidative activity has been intensified in recent years. In addition to endogenous antioxidant defense systems, consumption of dietary and plant-derived antioxidants appears to be a suitable alternative. Dietary and other components of plants form a major source of antioxidants. The traditional Indian diet, spices, and medicinal plants are rich sources of natural antioxidants; higher intake of foods with functional attributes including high level of antioxidants in antioxidants in functional foods is one strategy that is gaining importance." (Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on Human Health by V. Lobo et al)

Antioxidants 


Antioxidants are substances that delay or inhibit certain forms of cell damage. Antioxidants are known to fight and eliminate free-radicals. If free-radicals are not taken care of soon enough they can become extremely serious and can even lead to cancer:

"Toxins and free radicals can build up in your body, causing cellular damage and illness. Diet and exposure to environmental toxins can damage the mitochondria in your cells — vital microorganisms that help convert food to energy. Damaged mitochondria looking for oxygen create free-radicals — groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons that attach to healthy cells and start a negative chain reaction. Free radicals are responsible for damaging DNA, aging and causing certain types of cancer, says a report on Rice University's SportsMedWeb. Eliminate toxins that can cause free-radicals and add more antioxidants that fight free-radicals to your diet." (How to Eliminate Toxins & Free Radicals from Diet by Maura Shenker)

Consuming foods high in antioxidants and removing toxins from your diet are the best ways to combat free-radicals:

"Eat foods high in antioxidants. The best way to fight free-radicals is with antioxidants found in vegetables, some grains and a few carefully chosen animal products. Look for foods high in vitamins E, C and beta-carotene — the precursor to vitamin A. The best sources of vitamin E are nuts, seeds and fish oil, although apricots, wheat germ and fortified cereals also contain some vitamin E. Look for vitamin C in bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, melons, broccoli and spinach. Liver and egg yolks are rich in beta-carotene, as are many orange vegetables such as carrots, squash and yams." (How to Eliminate Toxins & Free Radicals from Diet by Maura Shenker)

Nutrient-Dense Foods


Nutrient-dense foods increase life expectancy and assist in preventing non-communicable diseasesAn article published in the Nutrients journal labeled Increased Intake of Foods with High Nutrient Density Can Help to Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Malnutrition and Obesity announced information in 2015 regarding how nutrient-dense diets have a beneficial effect on averting the development of non-communicable diseases and are supportive for maintaining life expectancy:

"Despite the wide range of factors affecting health, it seems likely that shifting diets from energy dense to nutrient dense will have an significant beneficial effect on the risk of developing NCDs along the life course and helping to keep life expectancy, but also quality of life, high (Figure 1). The nutrient density approach can be a valuable tool in nutrition education and dietary guidance." (Increased Intake of Foods with High Nutrient Density Can Help to Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Malnutrition and Obesity by Barbara Troesch et al)

What does nutrient-dense food consist of? A high number of nutrients per calorie ratio! Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are considered nutrient-dense foods:

"Simply put, what determines the nutrient density of food is the amount of nutrients you get for the amount of calories. A nutrient dense food has lots of nutrients for the little calories. You want to look for foods that are rich in vitamins, mineral, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Choosing nutrient dense foods can help you pack in the most nutrition while staying with your calorie limits." (What Does it Mean to Eat Nutrient Dense Foods? by Carolyn Reynaud)

Empty Calories 


Consuming excess loads of empty calories has been shown to cause weight and fat gain and micronutrient malnutrition
According to an article published in the Nutrition journal captioned Are Restrictive Guidelines for Added Sugars Science Based? overindulgence in empty calories can create numerous problems such as over consumption of calories as well as several other health-related issues:

"The idea that added sugars are “empty calories” is a commonly cited reason that added sugar recommendations are necessary. Diets containing a large amount of energy as “empty calories” can lead to micronutrient malnutrition or over consumption of calories. Consuming the daily recommendation of all nutrients within an individual’s estimated energy requirement is challenging when the individual is consuming a large portion of his or her calories as empty calories. Repeated consumption of empty calories without compensation from other nutrients can lead to weight gain." (Are Restrictive Guidelines for Added Sugars Science Based? by Jennifer Erickson & Joanne Slavin)

Inflammation 


Added sugar or glucose can lead to inflammation
Inflammation is one of the body's natural responses to physical stress. The immune system responds to damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens in a healing process designed to protect itself from harm. Prolonged chronic inflammation has negative effects on bodily health and can lead to heart disease, obesity, and even diabetes. As stated in an article published in the European Heart Journal entitled Diet and Inflammation: A Link to Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases glucose ingestion is associated with chemical responses which cause inflammation:

"Macronutrient intake may produce oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Glucose ingestion in normal subjects is associated with increased superoxide generation in leukocytes and mononuclear cells, as well as with raised amount and activity of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcriptional factor regulating the activity of at least 125 genes, most of which are pro-inflammatory.17" (Diet and Inflammation: A Link to Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases by Katherine Esposito & Dario Giugliano)

Chronic inflammation is the cause of many diseasesAs discussed back in 2012 in an article published in the EMBO Reports journal named The Inflammation Theory of Disease chromic inflammation is responsible for a whole slew of diseases and this knowledge will be useful for coming up with new and improved treatment methods in the near future:

"An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases. This opens new possibilities for treatment and therapy by blocking the inflammatory processes." (The Inflammation Theory of Disease by Philip Hunter)

In fact, most health conditions stem from inflammation or some other kind of chemical imbalance/disorder:

"Inflammation has been found to be associated with just about every health condition. Researchers are furiously investigating chronic inflammation’s effects on health and possible preventive medical applications.

It’s “an emerging field,” says UCLA’s Dr. David Heber. “It’s a new concept for medicine.” (1)

Why is it a new concept? Because modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms, not addressing the root cause of an issue. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. Instead of taking a medication to reduce joint pain or lower cholesterol, we would be better served by reducing inflammation in the body.

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.”" (Inflammation at the Root of Most Diseases by Dr. Josh Axe)

"Several animal studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar leads to obesity, insulin resistance, increased gut permeability and low-grade inflammation (5).

Human studies confirm the link between added sugar and higher inflammatory markers.

A study of 29 healthy people found that consuming only 40 grams of added sugar from just one 375-ml can of soda per day led to an increase in inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol. These people tended to gain more weight, too (6)." (Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body? by Dr. Mary Jane Brown)

Foods that cause inflammation such as sugars should be moderated in order to prevent chronic low-grade inflammation:

"Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process.

During injury or infection, the body releases chemicals to help protect it and fight off any harmful organisms. This can cause redness, warmth and swelling.

Some foods, like sugar, can also cause inflammation in the body, which is normal.

However, eating too many inflammatory foods may cause chronic low-grade inflammation. This can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and allergies (1, 2, 3, 4)." (Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body? by Dr. Mary Jane Brown)

Organ Meats 


Organ meats such as liver, kidney, tongues, etc., contain more nutrient and vitamin content than lean meats doAn article published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology headed Utilization of Byproducts and Waste Materials from Meat, Poultry and Fish Processing Industries: A Review elaborates upon how the contents of organ meats are usually higher than that of lean meat issues:

"The vitamin content of organ meats is usually higher than that of lean meat issue. Kidney and liver contain the largest amount of riboflavin (1.697–3.630 mg/100 g), and have 5–10 times more than lean meat. Liver is the best source of niacin, vitamin B12, B6, folacin, ascorbic acid and vitamin A. Kidney is also a good source of vitamin B6, B12, and folacin. A 100 g serving of liver from pork or beef contributes 450%–1,100% of the RDA of vitamin A, 65% of the RDA of vitamin B6, 3,700% of the RDA of vitamin B12 and 37% of the RDA of ascorbic acid. Lamb kidneys,pork, liver, lungs, and spleen are an excellent source of iron, as well as vitamins." (Utilization of Byproducts and Waste Materials from Meat, Poultry and Fish Processing Industries: A Review by K. Jayathilakan et al)

Consuming organ meats do not come without risks though. Since the organs of the animals are often more likely to carry diseases:

"Risks Organ meats are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and purine. This makes the consumption of organ meats potentially risky for those with heart conditions or gout. Organ meats are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol and saturated fat are now thought to be important for a balanced diet, but they must be consumed in moderation. ...Fast facts on organ meats: Organ meats are very high in some vitamins and nutrients. There are issues with harmful bacteria in intestines if not cleaned properly. Also, brain meat has been known to transmit rare diseases, such as Mad Cow Disease." (Are Organ Meats Good for You? by Tom Seymour)


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Sources:

Kahleova, Hana, et al. “Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets.” Nutrients, Aug. 2017, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Zepeda, Andrea, et al. “Free Fatty Acids Reduce Metabolic Stress and Favor a Stable Production of Heterologous Proteins in Pichia Pastoris.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Barzilai, Nir, et al. “The Critical Role of Metabolic Pathways in Aging .” American Diabetes Association, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Weindruch, Richard, and Rajindar S. Sohal. “Caloric Intake and Aging.” The New England Journal of Medicine, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Lobo, V., et al. “Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on Human Health.” Pharmacognosy Review, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Shenker, Maura. “How to Eliminate Toxins & Free Radicals from Diet.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 14 Aug. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/439710-how-to-eleminate-toxins-free-radicals-from-diet/.

Troesch, Barbara, et al. “Increased Intake of Foods with High Nutrient Density Can Help to Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Malnutrition and Obesity.” Nutrients, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Reynaud, Carolyn. “What Does It Mean to Eat Nutrient Dense Foods?” Calorie Control Council, 5 Jan. 2018, caloriecontrol.org/what-does-it-mean-to-eat-nutrient-dense-foods/.

Erickson, Jennifer, and Joanne Slavin. “Are Restrictive Guidelines for Added Sugars Science Based?” Nutrition Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, 2015, doi:10.1186/s12937-015-0114-0.


Esposito, Katherine, and Dario Giugliano. “Diet and Inflammation: A Link to Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases.” European Heart Journal, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Hunter, Philip. “The Inflammation Theory of Disease.” EMBO Reports, doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Brown , Dr. Mary Jane. “Healthline .” 12 Nov. 2017.

Jayathilakan, K., et al. “Utilization of Byproducts and Waste Materials from Meat, Poultry and Fish Processing Industries: A Review.” Journal of Food Science and Technology , doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f.

Seymour , Tom. “Medical News Today .” 3 Sept. 2017.
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