Stay Healthy with the Longevity Diet

laughing seniors at dinner

People usually go on diets for a quick fix to lose weight. But having a longevity diet is a crucial part of living a long and healthy life. But with so many diets out there, which should you choose?

If you are looking for a diet which will help lower your risk of heart disease, you should consider the Mediterranean diet. 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

olive oil tomatoes pepper

According to Time Magazine, a 2009 study indicated that, “people who followed a modern Mediterranean diet (high in fat) had a 30% lower risk of heart attack than people on a low-fat diet.” The study was even terminated early for the less beneficial group because results were so strong.

The people living in the Mediterranean seem to have gotten it right – they have one of the longest average life expectancies in the world, almost 90 years! And it is all thanks to their longevity diet.

What exactly were people in the study eating? The Mediterranean diet consists of fruits and vegetables, fish, and extra virgin olive oil. Let’s look at the principles behind these food choices so that you can increase your overall health.

Fruits and Vegetables

fruit and veggie salads

A longevity diet with high amounts of fruits and vegetables has many health benefits. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. They have no cholesterol, and have many essential nutrients that your body needs. Eating vegetable and fruits can:

  • Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Protect you against certain types of cancer.
  • Reduce risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Reduce risk of kidney stones.
  • Decrease bone loss. 

Low Amounts of Protein

salmon over greens

People in the Mediterranean eat much less protein than the average American. Instead of animal-based protein, they cook with plant-based protein such as nuts, whole grains, and legumes. A diet relatively low in protein is best – according to Time Magazine, studies by Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute, indicate that high protein diets accelerate aging.

Fish is a main source of protein in this longevity diet as well. It not only is a healthy protein choice but is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help:

  • Fight depression.
  • Boost effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Curb pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lower risk of heart disease. 

Extra virgin olive oil

bottles of olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats around and the main source of fat in a Mediterranean diet. Replacing butter and other unhealthy fats with olive oil has been shown to prevent diseases and fight against aging with its anti-inflammatory properties. Extra virgin olive oil can:

  • Enhance your antioxidant defense system.
  • Decrease your risk of heart disease.
  • Reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Lower your risk of cancer.
  • Protect your digestive track.
  • Increase your bone health.
  • Improve your cognitive function. 

Lower Calorie Count

farmer and apples

Interested in extending your lifespan? Try a longevity diet that cuts calories. Scientists have found in animal studies that reducing calorie intake promotes the growth of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract. In humans, studies have found that reducing the amount of calories you consume can in turn reduce cardiovascular disease.

What’s the best ways to reduce the calories you eat? Some scientists believe in intermittent fasting for short periods, while others say stick with a lower amount of calories every day. 

Less Sugar

couple having coffee

One thing that all scientist and doctors will agree on is lowering your sugar intake. This is especially true of fructose sugar. Sugar contributes to everything this longevity diet fights against, including:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic disease
  • Kidney stones and gout
  • Bacteria overgrowth
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

Eat Well, Live Longer

Many different diets have come and gone, but many of them share the qualities of this longevity diet. To sum it up: stay healthy with a diet low in sugar, high in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and fish.  It seems the secret to a long and healthy life is something we have known all along: eating well and taking care of our bodies.