There are key changes you need to make to your diet if you want to increase your chances of reaching the age of 100.
Legumes—beans, peas and lentils—whole grains and vegetables, complemented with nuts and olive oil, should be at the centre of your daily diet. Red and processed meats are out, and chicken should be eaten only occasionally; instead, fish should be the major meat source.
Refined and processed foods, such as white bread, pasta and cereals, are also off the agenda, but you can cheer yourself up with a daily treat of dark chocolate.
Ideally, people should eat in a 12-hour window—giving the body plenty of time to process food—and those who are healthy and under the age of 70 could also consider a five-day low-calorie fast every three or four months.
And if all that sounds onerous and not achievable, then don’t worry; make small changes to your diet, says longevity researcher Valter Longo from the University of Southern California, who has trawled through more than 500 research papers into ageing and diet.
Essentially, the key elements of the longevity diet mirror the Mediterranean diet with its emphasis on vegetables, oils and nuts, he says.
Although the diet increases your chances of living to a hundred and beyond, it also helps you lose weight and, for however long you live, your life should be free of disease, Prof Longo adds.
He’s now planning a 500-person study to see the longevity diet in action.
(Source: Cell, 2022; 185: 1455)