Note from Carolyn:
One of my concepts on living longer is to live a quality life longer. If I can't maintain a good quality I don't care if I spend more years on earth or not. Who wants to spend more years in a nursing home? That being said there are a lot of good things in this article that addresses both aspects of life, longevity and quaility. Although I agree that nutrients should come from food I also realize that today's foods don't always contain the nutrients they are supposed to. That is why I use supplements. Check out our Resveratrol
Article continues ...
Yahoo Shine notes that eating the wrong foods -- or not eating the right foods -- can result in symptoms that most people tend to assume are due to aging. Here are four tips they've assembled to steer you in the right direction:
Mistake #1: You avoid all animal protein
Vitamin B12, which is essential for energy, is found only in foods that are derived from animals. This nutrient helps regulate your metabolism, and it is an important part of maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. Fatigue is a classic sign of B12 deficiency
Mistake #2: You're not getting enough manganese and copper
Manganese and copper prevent joint pain, and are both essential for maintaining joint cartilage and flexibility. In many cases, getting enough of these nutrients reverses joint deterioration and eliminates joint pain.
Mistake #3: You avoid healthy fats
Omega-3 fats are part of your brain's building blocks. If you're not getting enough in your diet, the architecture of your brain becomes weak, and brain function, including memory, deteriorates.
Mistake #4: You favor packaged foods over whole
Most processed foods do not have enough potassium, which can result in high blood pressure. Eating better can correct the problem.
So what is it?
That would be fructose, but more generically all sugars which are, in my view, the single most important dietary variable that needs to be addressed. Please understand that this is a numbers game though and the only thing that is intrinsically toxic with fructose is the quantity that is being consumed. If you take less than 25 grams per day you are in the safe range, but the AVERAGE intake is 300% more than that and the typical American consumes 75 grams every day.
Fortunately, the research that is now starting to see the light of day in every way, what I've been warning about for over a decade.
I have long said that the key to optimal health and longevity is reducing your insulin resistance, and this has been proven true again and again.
Unfortunately, for the past 30 years or so, the primary official health recommendations have been to reduce your fat intake and eat plenty of long-lasting complex carbohydrates (starches) to keep your body supplied with energy. This has been a prescription for health disaster, and we have skyrocketing disease statistics to show for it. By advocating heavy carb consumption, our health officials have made insulin resistance the norm rather than the exception, which in turn is driving a huge, expensive pharmaceutical machine...
Insulin resistance is in fact a MAJOR contributor to chronic disease and accelerates the aging process, all of which can impact your longevity.
For example, insulin:
Too much sugar, grains and processed foods in your diet, combined with insufficient exercise is a lethal combination, the "side effects" of which include:
Here's a quick refresher on how carbs affect your insulin levels and how you develop insulin resistance, which sets you up for the health problems just mentioned.
When you eat carbohydrates (starchy foods such as grains, rice, pasta, bread and cereal), your digestive system breaks them down to simple sugars which cause an acute increase in your blood sugar. If your blood sugar where to continue to rise you would die of a hyperglycemic coma.
According to Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, carbohydrates (glucose) directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity! So, you may actually be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple dietary change that switches on your "youth" gene.
Most people are seriously confused about the importance of exercise in optimizing weight and body fat. It only has a 20% role, a vitally important 20% but nevertheless it plays a far subsidiary role to the importance of diet and the exclusion of sugars and grains. When you optimize your body weight and % of body fat you dramatically decrease your risk of chronic disease and radically improve your chance for living longer.
Aging is the result of a number of processes, including telomere shortening, which I've discussed before in depth. However, Kenyon's groundbreaking research has found that specific genes also play a significant role. I've previously written about how your diet can over-ride genetic predispostions to disease, and this research further strengthens those claims, as the two key genes in question can be turned on or off as a consequence of eating carbohydrates.
Her research shows that decreased carb intake can lead to significant life extension and improved long-term health.
Professor Kenyon worked with C. elegans roundworms, but her findings have been successfully repeated in other labs around the world using other animals, including rats, mice, and to some extent, monkeys. Humans also have these genes, indicating these results should apply to us as well.
One of the most interesting details of her findings is that not only did the roundworms live up to SIX TIMES longer than normal, but they kept their health and youthful vigor until the end—and isn't that what "healthy aging" is really all about?
Previous studies have found that diets high in sugar and grains are the primary culprit of obesity, and that leanness itself is a key contributor to a long life. One such study was published in 2003 in the journal Science. This elegant study from Harvard confirms that insulin is the major mechanism through which this result is mediated.
Another study, published just last year, also illustrates how longevity is intimately tied to your insulin and leptin levels. It examined the effects of food on typical biological signs of advancing age. Typical signs of aging include elevated levels of glucose, insulin, and triglycerides. (Hence, your physical age may be younger or older than the calendar dictates.)
In this study, the participants were given a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with an adequate amount of protein. This diet improved all of the measured factors related to the aging process, decreasing:
It's highly unfortunate that so few physicians have embraced this knowledge, because a firm appreciation of insulin's role in human health and disease is one of THE most important factors that can make or break your health!
As I mentioned in the beginning, there are two primary dietary factors that contribute to insulin resistance and subsequent disease progression:
Fructose, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is perhaps the absolute worst dietary culprit as it:
As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. The average American is consuming THREE times this amount, so this is a fairly substantial reduction for most people.
For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you're virtually guaranteed to consume "hidden" sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food. Remember, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, so one can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment.
Fifteen grams of fructose is not much -- it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or two Medjool dates. In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Johnson includes detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods -- an information base that isn't readily available when you're trying to find out exactly how much fructose is in various foods. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this excellent resource.
Here's a quick reference list of some of the most common fruits that you can use to help you count your fructose grams:
Is there such a thing as a "fountain of youth"? I believe there is, symbolically speaking, and the four cornerstones of it are:
These four cornerstones have one thing in common, and that is helping you improve your insulin sensitivity.
Aside from avoiding grains and sugars, exercise is one of the most effective ways to regain insulin sensitivity. And studies repeatedly show that regular exercise can help prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity and heart disease, just to name a few of the diseases that significantly contribute to premature death.
Not to discourage you as in my mind it is impossible to ever be healthy without exercising, but exercise has a relatively minor role in health and it is only responsible for 20% of your improvement. Most people believe the opposite and believe that exercise produces 80% of the benefit. They work out like a maniac in the gym and are not as careful with their diet and they wonder why they don't see any progress.
The KEY to exercising for optimal health and longevity in particular, is incorporating anaerobic high-intensity, interval training. These types of exercises also promote human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is yet another important aspect of the longevity puzzle.
Nutritional typing helps you modify your food choices to ensure you're supplying your body with the exact fuel it needs to thrive, and in so doing, you give yourself the best chance of optimal health and naturally prevent diseases related to improper nutrition. This is an important aspect of optimal health.
Of all the healthy lifestyle strategies I know of that can have a significant impact on your longevity, normalizing your insulin and leptin levels is probably the most important. There is no question that this is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process, and that means modifying your diet to avoid excessive amounts of fructose, grains, and other pro-inflammatory ingredients like trans fats.
That said, longevity is the result of an overall healthy lifestyle, so in addition to the four cornerstones just mentioned, these additional strategies can further help you stay young and vibrant, longer:
Incorporating these healthy lifestyle guidelines will help set you squarely on the path to optimal health and give you the best shot at living a much longer life.