In “The Longevity Solution” (Victory Belt), authors Dr. Jason Fung, a Toronto-based nephrologist, and James DiNicolantonio, a Kansas City-based doctor of pharmacology, argue that the key to living a long, healthy life is to replace most of the meat and processed food in your diet with healthier options, such as vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
“Most people think that eating a lot of protein is a good thing,” says Fung. “But the body is like an engine — you can’t run it out on full speed and have it last a long time.”
The authors point out that many “blue zones” — areas of the world with the longest-living populations — subsist on shockingly low levels of protein. In centenarian-packed Okinawa, Japan, for instance, roughly 90 percent of daily calories have traditionally come from a certain type of sweet potato.
To channel their healthy habits, Fung and DiNicolantonio suggest swapping meats, cheeses and eggs for plant-based proteins (such as nuts and legumes), and incorporating the following science-backed foods and minerals.
There’s a compound in this much-studied tea that “suppresses the appetite and boosts the metabolism a bit,” says Fung. Some research suggests that the drink can help ward off cancer, too.
He recommends drinking the tea without sugar or milk. To up the benefits, he says, you could cold-brew the tea leaves as you would cold-brew coffee: The heat used to make a traditional cup of tea may reduce some of green tea’s health benefits.
“Magnesium is the missing mineral in our diet, because it gets processed out of most processed foods,” says DiNicolantonio. The rarely mentioned nutrient plays a big role in keeping the body healthy by affecting arteries, blood pressure and “basal metabolic rate,” says DiNicolantonio. Having too little of the mineral can lead to a sluggish metabolism. He suggests filling up on magnesium-rich foods, such as nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, including Swiss chard.
A spate of recent studies have found that drinking moderate amounts of wine is linked to a longer, healthier life. The jury’s still out on why — studies on the much-hyped anti-oxidant resveratrol were disappointing — but Fung suggests opting for a low-sugar beverage such as red wine, and sticking to a glass or two. “If you’re at one or two drinks per day, you show reduced risk [of heart disease and mortality].”
Salt has an unhealthy reputation for raising blood pressure, but unless you have a specific health condition, such as kidney disease or advanced heart disease, the mineral’s benefits likely outweigh that risk, says Fung.
Look at Japan, he says, where sodium-rich foods, such as miso and soy sauce, are dietary staples. “If eating salt was so bad for you, how come these people who eat so much salt are some of the healthiest people in the world?” Plus, Fung says, a low-salt diet can worsen insulin resistance, leading to potential weight gain and various diseases that put your longevity at risk.
Source: New York Post