Nutrition that can make us live 10 more years
“Who wants to live forever?” asked the hero of the British band Queen in their famous 1980s song.
Of course, we do not expect to live forever, but we are all responsible for living as long as possible.
Common advice for a healthy lifestyle often strikes our head: playing sports,quitting smoking and “eating better”.But how long can we live better?
More vegetables, grains and dried fruits, less red meat and processed
Taking the typical North American diet as a reference (along with a high intake of red meat, more processed and high-sugar foods), experts say that better nutrition will involve reducing consumption of these products, replacing whole-grain flour and adding intake of dried vegetables and fruits.
And while it may seem surprising that fruits, vegetables and fish are not above this food classification, they certainly continue to have a very positive effect on our health.
But their use in normal nutrition is not as low as that of vegetables or whole grains. Therefore, its impact on this model is minimal, according to experts.
Some food groups studied may have a neutral effect.
This is the case with white meat, eggs and vegetable oils, which do not appear to have a significant impact on longevity.
The only exception is olive oil, which plays a protective role in our health.
The sooner we start, the longer we will live
According to this study, initiating these nutritional changes at the age of 20 can extend our life by 10 to 13 years, while doing so at the age of 60 can make us live up to 8 years longer.
And while the benefits are enormous as we embrace a healthy fast diet, even people approaching the age of 80 can extend their life span significantly, by approximately 3 and 1/2 years. But these changes must be maintained for at least 10 years to achieve maximum effect.
Integrating new behaviors can be a complete challenge, but experts point out that even small changes can extend our life by up to 7 years, if we start before 30.
Using their data integration model, the researchers developed the Food 4 Healthy Life program – it estimates how many years we will live according to our nutrition, gender and age.
With this simple tool, we can estimate how to extend our life expectancy based on the nutritional changes we can make.
The challenge of a new way of life
This model did not consider the possibility of pre-existing diseases, genetic causes, or other lifestyle changes such as exercise and alcohol or tobacco use.
It also does not take into account how changing treatment or low calorie intake from a healthy diet can affect longevity.
Note that studies show that calorie restriction is associated with increased survival and reduced cellular stress.
Predictions are general, but they are powerful and important for the general population.
Knowledge is power and, as the authors say, “knowing the protective properties of various foods can help us make cheaper decisions for the benefit of our health.”
Mediterranean food for young people
Nutrition in this study has many similarities to Mediterranean nutrition, especially regarding the intake of vegetables, fruits and vegetables.
Important studies such as PREDIMED show that high consumption of high fiber foods and the presence of antioxidant molecules in these foods may be a factor in the anti-aging effect on nutrition or Mediterranean foods.
The health benefits of this diet are mainly aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, which are the leading causes of premature death in the population.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the populations of countries such as Italy, France, and Spain are among the longest living in the world. Indeed, Spain could lead the world in longevity by 2040, according to a study by the University of Washington, in the United States.
But it cannot be ignored, since the influence of American nutrition, which is increasingly present in our daily lives, could end up ruining the life prospects of our future generations.
Freddie Mercury lamented in the famous Queen song about our inability to escape our own destiny and death.
But this study shows us that we can play a big role in our health and what we eat.
Although there is still much to learn about the relationship between diet and longevity, several considerations seem plausible: when it comes to diet, any small change is necessary and it will not be too late if the change is positive.