Longevity explained

by Sergey Young

10 Longevity Diet Principles

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May 05, 2021

Note: This is a revised chapter from my recent book “10 Simple Principles of a Healthy Diet: How to Lose Weight, Look Young and Live Longer

Food is a funny thing. We all eat it—all need it—yet many of us have complicated, if not fraught, relationships with it. Changing what you eat is the first step towards living a longer, better, and healthier life. It can improve everything from your appearance and health to your relationships and finances. This might sound too simple and too good to be true, but it’s real.

In decades to come, technological breakthroughs will play a leading role in extending our life spans. But that’s only worthy of celebration if you can live long enough to see them come to fruition. With regard to living longer, seemingly small choices like what you have for lunch or dinner add up in dramatic fashion over the course of decades. You may not see the effects of poor eating immediately, but eventually, you will. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the same can be said for good eating habits. They’ll add up and, in turn, help stave off disease and extend your life. You’ll have more energy and less illness. You’ll be more productive and motivated. And you’ll have more years on Earth to do the things you love with the people you love.

Now while I haven’t uncovered an easy trick to help you live to be 1,000 or patented a super-food recipe to cure the world’s major illnesses, I have simply realized—through firsthand experience and research—that changing our daily habits is a huge part of the equation for helping us live longer. It’s not rocket science; it starts with food.

The problem is not that we don’t have all the information we need—in fact, there’s never been more advice available. But that’s a double-edged sword. People are experiencing information overload—too much advice, much of it conflicting. And when people are overwhelmed, they tune out. Is red meat good or bad? Are blueberries actually a superfruit? Should you put butter in your coffee? Are carbs the devil, as the Atkins and keto diets suggest? Or is gluten to blame?

Sometimes, you hear one crazy thing on Monday, and by Friday it’s out of fashion. If you try to follow the headlines, you’ll likely lose your sanity—and your health definitely won’t improve. Eating right is much more important than it seems. It’s also much less complicated.

The good news is that after talking to nutrition experts and researching the topic myself, I’ve boiled the basics down to 10 Longevity Diet Principles. I personally believe that understanding and absorbing these 10 principles is more important than trying to follow a specific diet or a detailed checklist. Most diets tend to fail long term. Instead, you should try to incorporate these principles in a way that works for you. Ready? Here you go...

Principle 1: The more plants, the better

Simply add plants to each meal. My typical breakfast is homemade granola with a handful of berries and seeds or eggs with avocado. I always have either broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, or other vegetables as a garnish for lunch and dinner. If I snack, I opt for berries, nuts, or fresh veggies. Science has shown us over and over again that the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the lower our body mass index, and lower our risk for diseases.

Principle 2: Stay away from processed foods

The fewer ingredients on the label, the better. When I shop for groceries, I stay away from foods that have more than one ingredient. Add more raw foods and avoid processed ones. The impact of processed foods on health is well researched and trusted institutes like Mayo Clinic, Harvard, and others and various health authorities warn against processed and especially ultra-processed foods. 

Principle 3: Know where your food comes from

I try to buy organic and local groceries from trusted sources. Some of the foods sold in regular supermarkets should have warning signs on their package similar to cigarettes, which is particularly true to the lower-end antibiotic- and god-knows-what-else rich meat, poultry, fish, and processed foods. Suggestive evidence indicates that organic food consumption may reduce the risk of allergic disease and the risk of overweight and obesity.


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