Longevity Diet

1. A DIET FOR LONGEVITY

As the Ikarians so aptly demonstrate, when it comes to diet we need
to get back to the basics. Whole foods with abundant fresh produce and minimal processed food are necessary for optimal longevity. Other than eating cleanly, there are a few other dietary strategies that science suggests may lead to a longer and healthier life.

While excessive food consumption leads to metabolic syndrome and shortens overalllifespan, calorie restriction has been shown to flip on longevity genes and prevent or delayage-related diseases. The problem is, fasting long-term is not practical for most humans and nearly impossible to sustain for years on end.

What is sustainable? Intermittent fasting, or periodic calorie restriction. A fasting-mimicking diet offers many of the same benefits as fasting but without the downsides.Various versions go by various names… intermittent fasting, feast-or-famine diet, periodic calorie restriction, etc. In all versions, calories are restricted for periods of time, followed by periods of eating normally. When calories are intermittently restricted, the body maintainsa “lasting memory” of optimal metabolic function. There are even greater benefits ifproteins and sugars are restricted.

Fasting-mimicking diets have positive long-term benefits for IGF-1 levels. As you willrecall, lower IGF-1 is associated with greater longevity. Intermittent calorie restriction also boosts cellular regeneration and rejuvenation, as well as stem cell production. Cells are cleaned out during the fasting phase, and then rebuilt during the “refeeding” phase.Fasting has proven benefits for blood sugar regulation, hormone function, fat burning,cardiovascular function, overall immune function, and longevity.

Protein seems to have a Goldilocks zone. It is important to consume “just enough” protein to avoid losing lean muscle mass as you age but not enough to activate the mTOR pathway, which accelerates aging.14, 15

Valter Longo, Ph.D., UCLA professor and director of The Longevity Institute, has doneextensive research on diet and aging and provides specific guidelines for a fasting-mimicking diet in his 2018 book, The Longevity Diet, which might be a helpful resource.

  1. 14  Johnson SC, Rabinovitch PS, Kaeberlein M. mTOR is a key modulator of ageing and age-related disease. Nature. 2013;493(7432):338-345.doi:10.1038/nature11861.
  2. 15  O’Leary, Mary Beth. “Controlling Protein Intake May Be Key to Longevity, Studies Show.” 1st Edition. March 4, 2014. Accessed May 30, 2018.

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https://www.elsevier.com/connect/controlling-protein-intake-may-be-key-to-longevity.

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Many foods and supplements have been shown to benefit longevity. To go into them all
is beyond the scope of this report, but you will find a summary in the table below withlinks to more information. Many of these foods are in the top ten on GreenMedInfo’s Aging research database.

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Astaxanthin

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A compound in astaxanthin, CDX-08, increases the “longevity gene” (FOXO3) in mice, which increases longevity;16 proven benefits for lipid profile, oxidative stress, blood sugar, cognition, athletic performance, and more

Blueberry

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Rich in anti-aging polyphenols; study shows blueberries slow brain aging by 2.5 years; reduces cognitive decline; improves insulin sensitivity; protects heart, lungs, and blood vessels; anticancer

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Berberine

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Activates AMPK; inhibits mTOR; extremely beneficial for lipid profile; improves insulin sensitivity; ameliorates NAFLD and IBS

Coffee

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According to NEJM, older adults who drink coffee have a lower risk of death overall than non-coffee drinkers (no difference between caffeinated and decaf); mechanism unclear, but coffee contains more than 1,000 health-benefitting compounds

Flaxseed

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Just one ounce daily can neutralize age-associated inflammation bymodulating oxylipins, a type of fat molecule that plays a critical role in chronic disease progression; reduces blood pressure and arterial damage

Gingko Biloba

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Stimulates BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which extends life of brain cells and long-term memory; modulates neural stem cells; increases brain circulation; as effective as donepezil in treating Alzheimer’s; ginkgo plants themselves can live more than 1,000 years!

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Ginseng (Red)

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Red ginseng (panax ginseng) improves blood vessel wall health,boosts vessel dilation and flexibility; better blood sugar and insulin control; extends lives of HIV positive individuals

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Green Tea

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Contains EGCG, shown to produce aging-slowing, lifespan-extending effects; mitochondrial biogenesis

16 UHCancerCenter. “Astaxanthin Compound Found to Switch on the FOX03 ‘longevity Gene’ in Mice.” EurekAlert! March 28, 2017. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-03/uohc-acf032717.php.

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Magnesium

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Supports cardiovascular health and longevity; prolongs cell health and ability to divide; prevention of age-related diseases; adrenal support, adaptation to stress, and “buffering effect” for fight-flight hormones; sleep, helps reverse nighttime neuroendocrine age-related changes

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Mushrooms

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Loaded with antioxidants and age-extending nutrients such as ergo- thioneine, vitamin D, and glutathione; in one study, the acetic acid and Reishi polysaccharide fraction 3 (RF3) in reishi mushrooms was found to increase lifespan and expression of longevity-related transcrip- tion factor DAF-16 in C. elegans, leading to an increase in 15 different lifespan-extending proteins

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Resveratrol

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Increases mitochondrial biogenesis; anti-inflammatory; anticarcino- genic; antioxidant; regulates insulin; increases blood flow; animalstudies indicate it may extend lifespan; study shows resveratrol with calorie restriction promotes longevity; may reduce clumps of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease

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Turmeric (curcumin)

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The “one-stop shop” herb for longevity! Curcumin prevents telomere shortening and may promote elongation by increasing telomerase expression; preserves brain health by preventing age-related brain damage; reduces oxidative stress; promotes mitochondrial homeostasis; increases AMPK activity (see exercise section below)

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Vitamin E

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Linked to longer telomeres in women; reduces DNA damage; upregu- lates telomerase; slows skin aging; maintains muscle

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Zinc

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Reduces oxidative damage; binds with certain proteins linked to in- flammation and age-related immunodeficiency

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2. MINIMIZING TOXIC EXPOSURES

When it comes to damaging DNA and compromising mitochondria, environmental toxins really leave their mark. Cumulative toxicity affects longevity—take air quality, for example.

Americans living in places with cleaner air are known to live longer.
Many public health studies show that those who live near chemical
factories and other polluting industries show greater risk for premature death. The CDC’s statistics reveal that residents of eight states (most in the South) show reduced longevity from dirtier air related to looser air pollution regulations.17 There is even an online
tool called “Air Quality Life Index,” developed by the University of Chicago.18 It allows
you estimate how much longer you would live if your country of residence reduced air pollution to comply with either national or WHO standards.

The best thing you can do to lengthen your lifespan and healthspan is eat cleanly, avoidtoxic products, and filter your water and air. Supporting your body’s natural detoxificationefforts is also a necessity in today’s toxic world.

3. TO LIVE LONGER, GET PHYSICAL

Research published in the American Journal of Physiology indicatesexercise may minimize and even reverse age-associated declines in mitochondrial function. This has wide-ranging implications, as the health of your mitochondria intimately affects every single cell, tissue, and organ in your body.

Mitochondrial density and function decline as we age. While this is a natural process, it can be accelerated by excessive stress, environmental radiation, chemical exposures (includingpharmaceutical drugs), nutritional deficiencies, and inherited mitochondrial DNA defects. Exercise has the benefit of rejuvenating mitochondria and prompting your body to makemore of them, whereas lack of exercise hastens mitochondrial degeneration.

In older adults, high-intensity exercise is associated with preservation of telomere length, which might relate to changes in telomerase activity.19 Telomerase physiology is

  1. 17  Gilderbloom, John I. , and Gregory D. Squires. “How Environmental Toxins Reduce Life Expectancy in Many American Neighborhoods.” Scholars Strategy Network. April 13, 2016. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://scholars.org/brief/how-environmental-toxins-reduce-life-expectancy-many- american-neighborhoods.
  2. 18  “The Air Quality Life IndexTM.” EPIC Pollution Index. Accessed May 30, 2018. https://aqli.epic.uchicago.edu/.
  3. 19  LaRocca TJ, Seals DR, Pierce GL. Leukocyte Telomere Length is Preserved with Aging in Endurance Exercise-Trained Adults and Related to

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Maximal Aerobic Capacity. Mechanisms of ageing and development. 2010;131(2):165-167. doi:10.1016/j.mad.2009.12.009.

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complicated, and some warn that lengthening telomeres by overexpressing telomerase may actually increase one’s cancer risk. Perhaps moderation is the key.

damage; binds with certain proteins linked to in- flammation and age-related immunodeficiency

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