Research has shown that maintaining a well-balanced diet is the simplest way to extend your lifespan, even by several decades, if started at a young age. Despite this knowledge, it is sometimes challenging to resist the appeal of unhealthy food. Due to its delectable taste and addictive nature, junk food can undermine bodily functions and shorten lifespan. However, the good news is that it is never too late to reap the benefits of a nutritious diet that is rich in antioxidants, vital vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating a handful of nuts into your morning snack, reducing consumption of processed foods and sugar, and having a regular morning walk can have a surprisingly positive impact on your health. (Also read: Blueberries to beetroot; 6 antioxidant-rich foods to enhance lifespan)
“Diet is the foundation for health and longevity. You can engage in exercise, meditation, ample sleep, and take countless supplements, but unless you prioritize the consumption of high-quality, nutrient-rich, whole foods tailored to your individual requirements and preferences, you will not achieve optimal health or longevity. The Pegan Diet is a flexible and inclusive framework that is based on the principles of quality, where food is considered medicine, and personalized nutrition. It aims to be low-glycemic (low in starch and sugar), abundant in healthy fats, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, hormone-balancing, energy-boosting, and gut-healing. Packed with nutrients and longevity-promoting phytochemicals, polyphenols, antioxidants, and gut-healing fibers, this diet is designed to enhance both human and planetary health, as they are interconnected,” explains Dr. Mark Hyman, renowned author of the New York Times bestselling book, in his recent Instagram post.
Dr. Hyman shares advice on a longevity diet and various other lifestyle factors for a longer and healthier life, as outlined in his book YoungForever.
1. Consume abundant plant-based foods
About three quarters of your plate should be filled with vegetables, with an emphasis on vibrant colors. Limit your intake of starchy vegetables, but moderate amounts of winter squashes and sweet potatoes are acceptable.
2. Opt for foods rich in healthy fats
Select whole foods such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and small fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and wild salmon. For cooking, use extra virgin olive oil (at low or no heat), avocado oil (for higher-temperature cooking), or organic virgin coconut oil. Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet, as they contribute to weight loss, help manage diabetes and heart disease, and provide essential minerals, protein, healthy fats, fiber, and more. Excellent choices include almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin, hemp, chia, and sesame seeds.
3. View meat and animal products as accompaniments
Servings should be palm-sized. Plant-based meals are acceptable, but the protein should come from whole foods rather than processed powders, bars, or imitation meat. However, to ensure sufficient protein intake for muscle synthesis as you age, supplementation with animal protein and/or amino acid supplements or vegan protein powders with added amino acids may be necessary.
4. Include high-fat fish in your diet
Sardines, herring, anchovies, mackerel, and salmon are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have low levels of mercury.
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