Diet as a whole, encompassing food composition, calorie intake, and length and frequency of fasting periods, affects the time span in which health and functional capacity are maintained.
In a recently published study, researchers analyzed hundreds of studies to identify a diet that optimizes human health and longevity. The team found that diets with low protein intake and high complex carbohydrates that include periods of fasting are the most beneficial for long-term health and life span. The study appears in the journal Cell.
The team found that diets including mid-to-high levels of unrefined carbohydrates, a low but sufficient plant-based protein intake, and regular fish consumption were linked to an extended lifespan and healthspan.
The Longevity Diet
After evaluating multiple animal and human studies, the team found that the pillars of healthy longevity, indicate that the everyday normocaloric longevity diet associated with low or very low side effects and extended lifespan and healthspan is characterized by a mid to high carbohydrate and low but sufficient protein intake that is mostly plant-based but includes regular consumption of pesco-vegetarian-derived proteins.
One example is that only 1% of the traditional diet of the record longevity Okinawans was represented by animal products, and occasional meat or animal product consumption also characterized the populations of the Sardinian and Loma Linda areas with high p[revalence of centenarias or high average lifespan.
In the absence of obesity and insulin resistance, the relatively high complex carbohydrate consumption may also contribute to avoiding frailty at all ages but particularly in the elderly.
A fat consumption providing about 30% of energy mostly from plant-based and pro-longevity sources is also part of the longevity diet and is again consistent with the basic research, and epidemiological and clinical data, although the traditional Okinawan diet.
Some important components of the “longevity diet” include:
- A legume and whole grain-rich pescatarian or vegetarian diet.
- 30% of calories from vegetable fats such as nuts and olive oil.
- Low but sufficient protein diet until age 65 and then moderate protein intake.
- Low sugar and refined carbs.
- No red or processed meat.
- Limited white meat.
- 12 hours of eating and 12 hours of fasting per day.
- Around 3 cycles of a five-day fasting-mimicking diet per year.
Valter D. Longo, Rozalyn M. Anderson. Nutrition, longevity and disease: From molecular mechanisms to interventions. 2022. Cell. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.04.002
Annie Lennon. (2022, May 5). Longevity diet: More carbs, fasting, and less protein. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: