The one proven way to live longer is to consume fewer calories (i.e.,
eat less extends life span). Today we call it calorie restriction, or, simply, CR, which we know works in extending the life span of mice, rats, fruit, flies, earthworms, yeast, and many hope, humans. One of the proofs of CR's effectiveness on humans is the world's
healthiest and most long lived people (i.e., Abkhasians, Vilcabambans, Hunzans, and Okinawans)
all eat a low-calorie, plant-based, whole-foods diet. They eat little.
Most of them consume less than 2000 calories a day. They never overeat.
As reported, Abkhasians are universally very strong and slender people,
with no excess fat on their bodies. Evidences of the benefits brought
by calorically restricted optimal nutrition diet include the following,
but not limited to:
- Asthma patients on a restricted diet for
two months had fewer markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in
their blood (and their asthma symptoms improved).
- Putting animals on a near-starvation diet makes them live 30% or more longer than normal.
- Dr. Richard Weindruch and Dr. Rajinder Sohal,
world leaders in studies of low-calorie diets, wrote about the
Okinawans in "The New England Journal of Medicine" in 1997, they
pointed to the low caloric intake of the elder Okinawans as a key
factor in their outstanding health and life expectancy. Similarly, Professor Yasuo Kagawa
of Jichi Medical School, who has studied the Okinawans, attributes
their longevity and health primarily to the relatively low amount of
overall calories they consume.
- The result of the study of twenty-five members of the Calorie Restriction Society shows that:
participants eating a calorie-restricted, optimal-nutrient diet had
been doing so for an average of only 6 years, but their hearts appeared
15 years younger. That could mean that the diet reverses aging.
- According to John O. Holloszy,
M.D., a co-author of the study, "It's very clear that calorie
restriction has a powerful, protective effect against diseases
associated with aging.
- Dr. Roy Walford, M.D. who has long been recognized internationally as one of the top experts in the field of gerontology.
Based on his research at UCLA, he commented "We can with an order of
probability bordering on certainty extend maximum human life span by
means of a calorically restricted optimal nutrition diet. He said such
a diet will give you:
- Better eyesight and hearing at every age;
- A sharper, more alert problem-solving mind;
- An increased feeling of well-being; enhanced sexuality and fertility at a more advanced age.
- Another NIA (i.e., National Institute on Aging) study, the first on humans, showed that thickening of the carotid artery, a key sign of aging and a risk factor for stroke, was dramatically reduced in practitioners of CR.
- Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book says that CR benefits your brain:
- The regions of the brain responsible for motor control and
executive functions, such as working memory and problem solving, seem
to be better preserved in animals that consume fewer calories.
- Restricting calories triggers certain mechanisms in the body to
increase the production of nerve-growth factors, which are beneficial
to the brain.
- In a new 20-year study on primates, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that CR blunts aging and significantly delays the onset of age-related disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and brain deterioration.
- In terms of overall health of the monkeys in the study, the researchers note, CR leads to longer life span and improved quality of life in old age.
Here are what researchers think:
In the Ayurvedic tradition, the toxic buildup of food that hasn't been fully digested is called "ama." It is said that ama can be produced by overeating and others like:
- Overeating promotes cell division, and promotes it
most dramatically in cancer cells; cutting back on calories slows cell
division. It also stifles the production of free radicals, curbs
inflammation, and reduces the risk of most of the Western diseases[1,11-13].
- Imposing mild stress on the cells (in this case depriving
them of fuel) makes them more resilient to future challenges and
reduces free radicals.
- CR pushes cells to stop putting limited energy into reproduction and growth and instead invest that energy in maintenance and repair, usually repair of damage from routine metabolism.
- CR works by ratcheting down the amount of insulin and sugar that runs around in the bloodstream, thereby preventing diabetes—itself a form of accelerated aging—and cardiovascular diseases and a number of age-associated cancers.
- A study conducted at Ohio State University proves that their energy-restriction mimetic agents kills cancer cells through energy restriction[11,13].
- Rushing through a meal
- Eating while discussing stressful topics
- Impairing digestion by watching TV, driving, or reading while having food, and
The sludge-like ama
can cause intestines become bloated and filled with unhealthy microbes
thriving on the unprocessed waste, activate your immune system to
continually respond, thus causing inflammation and pain.
healthily, the key is cutting back on calories while maximizing dietary
nutrients. The steps to take not only require you heed what you eat but also how you eat.
How You Eat
The elders living in Abkhasia, Vilcabamba, Hunza, or Okinawa all eat
It takes the stretch receptors in the stomach about 20 minutes
to tell our brain (via the hormone cholecystokinin) how full you really
are. When you aren't rushing, your stomach has time to signal to the
appetite centers of your brain that food has arrived, and you
experience greater pleasure and contentment.
The elder Okinawans say
they stop eating when they are 80% full. They even have a phrase
describing it—hara hachi bu (i.e., eat until you are 80%
full). When you eat, try to chew thoroughly, savor each moment, and
enjoy one another's company like what French people do. Don't skip
breakfast. Eating breakfast gives you sustained energy to carry you
through to lunch and also prevents overeating later in the day.
However, be warned that there is no advantage—and there is real
danger—to reducing calories below the body's legitimate needs. This is
particularly true for children and for pregnant women, whose caloric needs are especially high. Try to keep a healthy, not-too-low weight, since being underweight increases your risk of bone loss.
What to Eat
When you eat, choose high-quality food. Ideally, high-quality foods are organic, less processed, and locally grown in ways that utilize sustainable agriculture like what Hunzans do[1, 4].
Avoid processed foods and empty calories as much as you can.
Avoid carbohydrates with high glycemic index.
Avoid western style diet.
- High GI foods result in a high, sharp blood sugar peak high followed by an insulin peak which increases the tendency for not only insulin resistance and diabetes but also cravings, binges, overeating, and obesity.
- The study by CDC in 2006 shows that recent immigrants to the United States are far healthier than their US-born counterparts. The reason? The diets and lifestyles in the US are far less healthy than those in many other countries.
Most of the materials written in this
article are based on "Healthy At 100", John Robbins. I highly
recommend you to get a copy of it. As John concluded in the
Acknowledgments of his book:
"May all be fed. May all be healed. May all be loved."
- "Healthy At 100" by John Robbins
- "Eternity Soup - Inside the Quest to End Aging" by Greg Critser
- "Change Your Brain Change Your Body" by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
- Eating Organic, Local, and Seasonal Foods (Travel and Health)
- Eat Less, Live Longer?
- Health Checkup: How to Live 100 Years - TIME
- How to Live Longer and Healthier Life (Travel and Health)
- 11 Ways to Live to 100
- Exercise and Its Benefits (Travel and Health)
- Plant-based vs. Animal-based Diets (Travel and Health)
- New Agent Chokes Off Energy Supply, Kills Cancer Cells
- What's Feeding Cancer Cells?
- Using Nutrient Deprivation as a Strategy for Cancer Therapy (Travel and Health)
- Calcium and Vitamin D findings show that caring for your bones can be complicated
- Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients (Mayo Clinic)
- More Exercise Doesn’t Always Mean Losing Weight
Occasional fasting could help you live longer (good)Western Diets and Western Diseases (Travel and Health)The Anti-Aging Pill (MIT Technology Review)
- New research suggests there's a limit to how many calories you can burn by exercising