Food for a hundred-year-old life, is it custard?

In order to enjoy life to the fullest and age in good health, what you eat has a role to play. But before you take your eyes off the effectiveness of a longevity diet, there are a few key points to remember.

Food for a hundred-year-old life, is it custard
food quality

What does the island of Icaria in Greece, the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica, or the island of Okinawa in Japan have in common? A record rate of centenarians: up to one in ten! This is why we are examining the habits of the populations of these famous “blue zones” in the hope of discovering their secrets for living older and, above all, longer in good health. 

In particular, the virtues of their diets are praised. The content of their plate would indeed largely explain this longevity that leaves one dreaming. Because most of these populations share a few dietary habits: this is proof that this factor plays a role to a certain extent. Explanations.

The plate matters, but let's not make a big deal out of it!

As you can imagine, eating well isn't enough to build old bones. Genetics are involved too. Certainly, it acts only for about 20% of our medical destiny. But in Costa Rica for example, it has been noticed that the inhabitants of the "blue zone" have unique genes, with particularly long telomeres (a key element in slowing down aging), which are undoubtedly not only linked to their diet. . A diet will not necessarily have the same effects, depending on whether or not you have certain genes that benefit or handicap.

Above all, diet is just one of the behaviors we can (and should) act on to take charge of our health. “Your longevity also depends on everything else: physical activity (you have to move, limit sedentary lifestyle and time spent sitting), social life (being well surrounded helps to live longer), tobacco consumption, stress level, etc. », Recalls Dr. Dominique Dardevet, nutrition researcher. 

In fact, these super seniors have one more thing in common: they often have had a very active lifestyle. They worked in physical jobs, far removed from the office jobs most of us do today (not to mention the heavy use of transportation). So yes, we can change our lifestyle and take care of our menus, but we must keep in mind that other aspects are less easily controlled, such as the level of stress undergone or the impact of pollutants in our environment.

Advice to consume in moderation

Some epidemiological studies observe and compare populations over tens of years. But newspaper headlines on this or that new revolutionary anti-aging diet are often taken from preclinical trials in animals. To study the effects of dietary changes on longevity, researchers are particularly using worms or small rodents. This can provide insight into the ingredients of a "healthy diet". But extrapolating these results to humans is not that simple. 

Many studies have highlighted calorie restriction as a key factor. You should reduce your daily intake and practice intermittent fasting (one day a week or sixteen hours a day for example) to increase your life expectancy. This slows down the metabolism and therefore the aging of the cells. In rats, a 10% decrease extended lifespan by approximately 15%.

"But on the human being, the debate is more complicated to decide! It is difficult to compare because many factors interact. At present, therefore, we cannot say that the simple fact of eating less is the secret of youth that will allow us to live a hundred years old, despite encouraging studies ”, summarizes Dr. Fabienne Aujard, research director at the CNRS, which works on calorie restriction, especially in primates.

Not all bottle-fed the same soup ...

Finally, keep in mind that most studies praising the vegetarian/vegan diet or long-term fasting have looked at populations who adopted these lifestyles from childhood. These tips are not necessarily applicable late with the same effects.

“For calorie restriction, for example, the studies look at people who have had a frugal diet throughout their lives, such as Okinawa residents, and who have an adapted metabolism as a result. You can't expect the same results when you start at 60. And if skipping breakfast, as is advised in some intermittent fasting, may not be a problem if you have done it all your life, the consequences on the body are not known when you start. suddenly. Especially since as we get older, our coping skills decrease, "says Dr. Dominique Dardevet.

The same goes for the vegan diet: adopting it abruptly can completely upset our metabolism, which will struggle to adapt to optimize the use of these nutrients. Eating plenty of variety, especially fat and sugar, is still the safest (and easiest) way to build old bones.

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