Can be summarized as ‘eat a lot of vegetables, fast regularly, stay active, and eat little meat.' Fascinating book that completely changed the way I approach diet and exercise. Most people should skip the second half. Just make sure you read chapter 12.
The healthy human lifespan is much more complex than a Mozart symphony. It took billions of years of evolution for it to reach the current state of near-perfection. We cannot expect a simple supplement to make something that’s almost perfect even better, so we cannot expect that we will live healthier and longer lives just by drinking orange juice.
Although humans and most other organisms become dysfunctional in old age, growing older can actually bring improvements as well. For example, New York marathon winners are typically in their thirties, and many of the top finishers are in their forties.
Over millions of years of evolution, the lifespan of an organism will tend to get longer if its ability to generate healthy offspring also increases. Aging and death may be programmed so that organisms could age on purpose and die prematurely if it were advantageous to the species—to avoid overcrowding, for example.
People who live longer would need more energy to perform more maintenance (DNA repair, cellular regeneration, etc.). People who live longer would need to get better at utilizing energy to increase protection against aging and maintaining normal function for longer.
By monitoring the age at which people are diagnosed with different diseases, we know that aging itself is the main risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases. The probability that a twenty-year-old woman will develop breast cancer within the next ten years of her life is roughly 1 in 2,000. The risk is 1 in 24 for a seventy-year-old woman—that’s an increase by almost a factor of 100.
Curing cancer or cardiac disease today would increase the average lifespan by only a little over three years.
Most popular diets and the experts behind them fail to take into consideration the most important reason to adopt a diet in the first place: living to a very old age and “dying healthy.”
“Among the longevity factors within your control, what you eat is the primary choice you can make that will affect whether you live to 60, 80, 100, or 110—and more important, whether you will get there in good health.
The mere fact that fasting is historically common to most religions supports the idea that fasting is not a fad diet, but part of our history and evolution.
If we consider fasting as the period necessary to switch from a primarily sugar-burning mode to a fat-burning mode, then only periods of abstention from food lasting two or three days or more can be considered fasting.
When to do an FMD Fast:
Mice given a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet lived the longest but also displayed improved health. Mice on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet lived the shortest and had the worst health, despite the effect of the diet on weight loss
We have shown that even periodic use of a low-protein, plant-based diet can reduce many markers or risk factors for aging and diseases in subjects ages twenty to seventy
A Mediterranean diet with high levels of olive oil or 30 grams a day of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds) was associated with reduced cardiovascular events and mortality.
Areas of the world known to have the highest prevalence of centenarians—Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; small towns in Calabria and Sardinia, Italy; and in Costa Rica and Greece—all share diets that are (1) mostly plant-based with lots of nuts and some fish; (2) low in proteins, sugars, and saturated/trans fats; and (3) high in complex carbohydrates coming from beans and other plant-based foods. Most of these centenarians ate only two or three times a day, ate light meals in the evening, and were in many cases done eating before dark.
If you take 100 centenarians, you get 100 different elixirs of longevity.
Emma probably had the right genes, which can increase by manyfold the chance that someone will live to 100. Her mother had died at 94, her sister at 102, two other sisters had reached 98, and her brother passed away at 90.
Having just one parent who lives past the age of 87 reduces your chances of getting cancer by 24 percent.
In general, those who reach age one hundred in good health have stayed active or very active into old age.
Making it to 110 in good health, in my father’s case, is less about social connections and great friendships and more about simple things, like that long-forbidden chocolate bar. In the case of Salvatore Caruso, who watched my father grow up, it was about competition. He wanted to be the oldest man in the world. When I informed him that someone in Sicily was older, he said: “I have to beat him.” And he eventually did.
Because everyone eats, everyone feels he or she knows enough about food and health to give advice. Would you fly on an airplane that you had personally designed?
Why would you be willing to make key decisions that affect whether you and your loved ones will get cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other illnesses based on the silly idea that one should “eat in moderation”? What does that even mean?
“Moderation” is relative. Consider the following daily menu: a glass of milk, two eggs and bacon, a small steak, a slice of cheese, some carrots, some pasta, a chicken filet, a salad with ranch dressing, a piece of cake, and two soft drinks. To many people, this represents eating in moderation. Yet this is the type of diet that has made the United States one of the world leaders in obesity and related diseases.
Between 50 and 90 percent of US adults do not get enough vitamin D, E, magnesium, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, or vitamin K. At the same time, several recent articles indicate that dietary supplements containing excess vitamins and minerals are ineffective in preventing major diseases and delaying mortality.
A plate of pasta and cheese can weigh just 12 ounces and be very unhealthy, full of bad-quality calories. Or it can weigh more than double that amount, about 1.5 pounds, and be very healthy, full of high-quality calories—provided you cut down the pasta and cheese to modest portions and add plenty of vegetables and legumes and a generous splash of olive oil.
We have known for nearly one hundred years that when mice are fed about 30 to 40 percent fewer calories, they live longer and develop half the tumors and other diseases when compared to the groups of mice receiving a normal-calorie diet.
American seniors ate ten times more meat, poultry, and eggs and three times more fruit, but far less fish, half the vegetables, and one third of the grains that the Okinawans did.
In Okinawa, I heard stories of fishermen who never retire, and I watched a woman in her nineties dance with a large bottle on her head, something she did many times a week. When she wasn’t dancing, she enjoyed playing traditional Japanese musical instruments.
What physical activity is best for healthy longevity? The one you enjoy most, but also the one you can easily incorporate into your daily schedule and the one you can keep doing up to your hundredth birthday and beyond. Many Okinawans practice martial arts, especially a dance-inspired version of tai chi. The type of exercise you choose isn’t important. What’s important is working all your body parts until you breathe rapidly and sweat for five to ten hours a week.
Those who exercised less than 150 minutes at moderate intensity or 75 minutes at vigorous intensity per week had a 20 percent reduced risk of mortality compared with those who did not exercise. Mortality was reduced by 31 percent in those who exercised for more than 150 minutes a week at moderate intensity or for more than 75 minutes a week at vigorous intensity. And the risk of dying was reduced by 37 percent in those exercising more than 300 minutes a week at moderate intensity or 150 minutes at high intensity