What do you think is the secret to longevity? This video changed my perspective on things; especially the stuff about soy consumption in Japan and the length of life in women, very interesting.
Protecting your health, I'd say is the first and most important step. While our genes have a lot to do with this, and who our parents were and what their genes were like matter, we can't control that. It also turns out tha there's an epi-genome that gets effected by both our parents' lives and our own, and stress, food, insulin levels, etc. affect this too. (Switches via methylation are thrown on our actual genes that enable or disable them based on our life style and our parents' lifestyles.)
Even if we don't make it to 100, the idea of compression of mortality is probably the most important of all because it dictates quality of life. I'd rather live healthily to 80 and be mobile and coherent and die suddenly than to live to 100 and spend 40 years bedridden and unaware.
Looking at the biggest destroyers of health, and the most common ways to die, they are heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and brain destroying diseases such as Alzheimers, and Parkinsons and other related diseases.
Being on a paleo/primal/new evolution/etc diet automatically takes care of the first three assuming you go low carb, or at least moderately low carb and you avoid tans-fats and n6 PUFAs.
A lot of cancers are environmentally caused. There's far less we can do about those. The recent Fukushima disaster is still spewing out a lot of radioactive particles, some of which are highly radioactive, but have short half lives, such as certain types of iodine. Others, such as plutonium have extremely long half lives, and even ingesting or breathing in one atom is enough to cause cancer. There have been cases of radioactive milk and rain for example, recently.
The recent Gulf of Mexico spill has also released a ton of petrochemical toxins into the water, including other nasty non-petrol toxins such as radium! (Google for references.) So careful where you vacation, and be sure you know the source of your seafood! The stuff from Vietnam isn't safe either.
There is very little we can do to avoid these things sadly. Some minerals such as selenium may help us chelate out toxic metals, but then again, they may not.
Other toxins such as mercury that are found in fish can easily be removed with selenium, and luckily, the fish themselves contain selenium. BPA and other toxins are avoided by using glass containers instead of plastics, and so on.
Obviously eliminating toxins from our food such as wheat, soy and other legumes and grains is critical, but if you're here, you're already doing that.
The good news is that going low carb will starve out most cancers, and has the positive effect of removing harmful gut bacteria, as well as carrie causing bacteria. But it also helps protect our brains from diseases such as Alzheimers.
Consuming extra virgin coconut oil has beneficial effects for people like me without gallbladders as it's much easier to digest since it doesn't require bile in the same way. Well, at least half of it. But since the other half is easily converted into ketones it provides a very good way to feed our brains and avoid Alzheimers (Bruce Fife claims it can even reverse it.) It also has an effect that I like which is that it helps us burn more calories and helps us slim down. (Alzheimers has insulin resistance implicated with it, so the less glucose we send our brain beyond the few parts of it that need it, the better.)
Some people do better on carbs than others, so the question is, how does a moderate to high carb intake affect longevity? We know caloric restriction works in worms, we suspect it works in humans. We know for sure the SAD will shorten our lives, and mostly because of grains and also the insulogenic response to them, not just the toxins that cause leaky guts and auto-immune disorders. So going low carb may be better than moderate carb. Then again, too low carb causes a stress response - does that stress response shorten our lives or lengthens it? (When we're low on glucose, adrenals squirt cortisol which gets us to do neoglucogenesis from protein, this in turn may also cause an insulin response for the left over glucose to be cleaned up.)
We know for sure that burning SAT fats is a clean process and that burning carbs is an oxidative process that requires anti-oxidants to clean up and also B-vitamins.
We also suspect that burning carbs cause glycation and cross linking of proteins, especially with fructose in high doses (though low doses are fine if you have a working liver.) Though I've seen something saying that burning protein can cause AGEs too.
So the obvious clue is that we should eat higher saturated fats than protein or carbs, but at what ratios? And what works well for someone may not work well for another. And what works well today for us, might not work well tomorrow.
In my own case, when I was in college, I fell for the "Best Stuff on Earth" tag line of things like Snapple and Arizona iced tea as an alternative to drinking 2-3 sodas a day. But 2-3 of these drinks a day got me obese at 290lbs, and near diabetic. While I didn't go paleo to resolve the issue, as I didn't know about it back then, I did wind up going on a nearly meat only diet with some veggies here and there, and that worked, so it was sort of paleo without my explicit knowledge of it. :)
What else counts? We need to do the things that cause a rise in our mitochondria count and save our stem cells from being used up.
Avoiding things like chronic cardio, stress, excess oxidants, etc. This is an area where Art De Vany's stuff is helpful. It turns out that chronic cardio removes our stem cells and shortens our teleomeres. His way of exercising, he claims also lengthens the lifespan our our hearts. Aim for fractal patterns instead of steady state. That is, don't do the same level of exercise all the time. HIIT is good, but vary your work load and patterns. Do some days light some days heavy.
The same is true of food. Do intermittent fasting randomly. Don't eat the same thing every day, vary your diet, so you don't hit the same pathways all the time and overload on the same toxins.
Hormetic stressors such as exercise are great things that will lengthen our lives. But are toxins hormetic? Or are they just poison? And which ones?
There are some foods and supplements that are helpful, supposedly, such as turmeric, cocoa, coconut, grassfed meats, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli (not excessively), pastured eggs, chickens, organ meats from the same, etc. Magnesium, Zinc, Iodine (only what's needed), R-Lipoic Acid, Selenium, PQQ, etc. which we should mostly get from food and water, but can't always...
Some foods should be eaten raw or rare, others shouldn't. Things like spinach that contain oxalates should be cooked. Nuts which have the same and in some cases more levels of phytates should be soaked and roasted, or avoided. Some foods such as cabbage is far better for us fermented than raw, or even cooked.
Cooking meat has both good and bad sides to it. There's the oxidation and AGE question. We don't yet know whether exogenous AGEs are as harmful for us as endogenous ones, so maybe boiling and steaming are better, but then again, I highly doubt that our ancestors boiled their meats. They most likely fire roasted it. So maybe we are AGE adapted. I say this because we lost our large guts and jaws when we started to hunt and cook our foods, and that's what made room for larger brains. Supposed we've had fire 1.6M years ago, that's plenty of time to develop an adaptation or at least a mechanism to deal with AGEs... Maybe.
When it come to fish, there's nothing as nasty as oxidized fish oils. So maybe, if you trust the source, take in some sashimi occasionally. Or maybe make ceviche where you use acids to cook the meat, but that won't oxidize the omega 3's. But again, avoid seafood from the Gulf of Mexico where possible, and from Vietnam. Eat only wild caught fish, and avoid large predators such as some species of tuna, or at least take chlorella and selenium to chelate out the mercury.
But in the end, these are all things that we suspect or know about, we don't actually know for sure that all of these will lengthen our lives, for sure. Certainly, they will help improve the quality of our lives.
Sardinia is the place to be! Anyhow, as I have read the blue zone book what always jumps out to me is social structure/culture. LARGE gathering of close family and friends on a frequent basis along with revering the elderly and sense of purpose. That is the real significant difference in my view when speaking in terms of longevity.
In our culture and with exercise/diet/limiting toxic exposure and such I feel like we are attempting to extinguish our MIDDLE-AGE morbidity/mortality. For longevity at the end stage you need purpose, and that is what these cultures provide.
My take on the video is that the 9 points are surprisingly compatible with the ancestral health approach.
Moving naturally, enjoying the human community, are things many of us are doing as part of a better connection to nature than others have.
Even the "plant slant" makes sense, because we've backed away from grains, refined sugars and industrially processed foods. That leaves meat, vegetables and fruit so many of us are in fact eating a diet that's 50% or more plant-based while savoring our healthy meats.
The possible area of difference lies in legumes, which some of the blue-zone groups use with careful preparation. I've noticed a slight opening for that within ancestral as well as long as they are thoroughly soaked/sprouted.
Genetics are the fascinating part. I don't think my mother and maternal grandmother lived lives that were so very different, yet my grandmother died at 92 and my mother at 47 (heart attack.) My father's family was full of little old ladies.
So for me, the question is exactly what mix of genes and lifestyle have I created? I've made it to 64 in surprisingly good health particularly after 7 months of ancestral eating.
BUT the most powerful point made in the video was that in this country we all leave years we might have lived on the table. How many years did I waste eating SAD and suffering binge disorder?
Film at 11.
Part of it is likely a crap-shoot and part may be genetic but the part we have control over may lean things in our favour, like eating healthful uncontaminated foods and staying active.
Just make sure that when you last to 100 yr. or more you have the resources/pensions/wealth to look after yourself- don't run out of money at 75 yr. old!
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