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Oct 12

What Is the Longevity Diet? A Detailed Scientific Guide – Everyday Health

While theres a lack of research focusing on this specific diet plan, there is an abundance of research on plant-based eating.

There is abundant research overwhelming, in fact on the general health benefits of diverse dietary patterns that emphasize whole plant foods, Dr. Katz adds.

The other fasting-related aspects of the longevity diet fasting-mimicking and intermittent fasting are less studied. It channels the science of calorie restriction and fasting, but whether this practice, twice a year, really does translate into altered longevity for humans, independently of other factors, is, of course, unknown, says Katz. But animal research suggests this style of eating may hold promise.

In theApril 2022 issue of Cell, Longo notes that fasting-mimicking diets have been linked with metabolic and anti-inflammatory effects in mice. These results could reduce risk factors for certain diseases, he writes.

A review published in October 2021 in the Annual Review of Nutrition states that intermittent fasting patterns such as time-restricted eating (which is a part of the longevity diet) is a safe way to improve metabolic health for people who are obese. Yet the jury is out regarding other benefits. For example, one study, published in April 2022 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a time-restricted diet was not more beneficial for weight loss in people with obesity compared to a calorie restricted diet.

Heres a snapshot of some of the possible health effects of this eating plan.

Given the name of the diet, this potential perk likely comes as no surprise. The element of the longevity diet that researchers have studied most widely is plant-based eating.

Research suggests one can boost life expectancy by 3 to 13 years by replacing the Western diet of red meat and processed foods with a diet that contains more nutrient-rich foods that include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, explains Palumbo. The research Palumbo points to, published in February 2022 in the journal PLOS Medicine, notes that when people start the diet earlier, the gains may be even greater.

Katz, though, adds a caveat. The only evidence in direct support of longevity, per se, is observation of the links between dietary intake patterns and longevity in populations such as the blue zones, he says. There are, for obvious reasons, no intervention studies or randomized trials assessing actual longevity in humans, as such trials would span the lifetimes or more of the researchers who initiated them, and few would be willing to participate as subjects, Katz adds.

Plant-based eating, which features plenty of produce, is a smart choice for heart health. As the World Health Organization points out, heart diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide.

Areview published in February 2017 in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that five servings of vegetables and fruits a day was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. And even more servings per day (around 10) was associated with even lower risk.

Another review of research found that the more vegetables and fruits people consumed, the lower their odds of developing cardiovascular disease, compared with people who ate only 1.5 servings of vegetables per day.

Research published in June 2022 in the European Heart Journalfound that a diet rich in potassium (from longevity dietapproved foods like avocados and salmon) was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events, and especially helped women who had high levels of sodium in their diet.

While fish isnt necessarily a staple in a plant-based diet, it is a feature of the longevity diet, and fish is good for the heart, research suggests. For example, a study published in June 2022 inJAHA found that 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily was associated with lower blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for heart disease, as the CDC notes.

Plant-based eating may help protect against cancer. In the aforementioned review in the International Journal of Epidemiology, not only did researchers find that a diet rich in fruits and veggies was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but they also found it lowered peoples odds of cancer.

In addition, research published in February 2022 in the journal BMC Medicine found that those who ate a low-meat or meat-free diet (in this study, that was defined as meat five times or less per week) had a lower overall cancer risk than those who consumed more.

Eating ample plant-based foods, like vegetables, legumes, and nuts is a key pillar in the longevity diet. And research published in April 2022 in the journal Diabetologia suggests that a higher total fruit and vegetable intake may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in men specifically (there wasnt an association with women in this particular study).

Meanwhile, a diet high in red meat and poultry may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, research published in May 2017 in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows.

A healthy, plant-based diet may help prevent eye diseases that can come along with old age, like cataracts and macular degeneration, according toHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For example, research suggests that high amounts of vegetables and fruits are associated with a lower risk of cataracts (yet there was no reduced risk for cataract extraction even among people who ate the highest amounts of fruits and vegetables). In the study, the high group of fruit and veggie eaters consumed around 10 servings a day, while the lowest group consumed about three servings each day.

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What Is the Longevity Diet? A Detailed Scientific Guide - Everyday Health

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