NutritionFacts.org

lifespan

Japan has the number one life expectancy of any nation; the US falls around 19th. A study recently suggested that eating a single serving of berries every day could add an extra year to our lifespan. The available evidence also suggests that eating nuts may extend our life by years. A plant based diet overall is thought to be capable of reversing heart disease and, thus, extending the lifespan (see also here, here, here, here). However, British vegetarians do not appear to live longer than British meat eaters (possibly due to the fact that they are less likely to supplement their diet with vitamin B12). And lastly, coffee has been associated with decreased all-cause mortality. Besides diet, sleeping 7 hours a night may maximize longevity. Severe caloric restriction has been found to extend the lives of animals in laboratories.

On the other hand, there are a number of vitamin supplements that have been found to increase all-cause mortality, or shorten the lifespan (see also here). Iron pills have also been linked to a shorter lifespan. Eating just one egg a day has been found to shorten our lifespan (see also here). Meat intake means increases in total mortality according to the massive NIH-AARP study (the largest forward looking study of diet and health in history). Processed meats and fish have likewise been associated with accelerated aging. Similarly, the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study linked red meat consumption to living a significantly shorter life—increased cancer mortality, increased heart disease mortality, and increased overall mortality. Not surprisingly then, people on animal-based low carb diets have been found to live significantly shorter lives. Untreated celiac disease may shorten the lifespan. Early puberty has been associated with a shorter lifespan. Kombucha tea has been associated with life threatening effects and should be avoided. Dark fish consumption (such as salmon) has been linked with atrial fibrillation (a heartbeat arrhythmia, which can significantly shorten the lifespan).

Moderate alcohol consumption does not affect the lifespan of healthy people either positively or negatively. Vitamin C and multivitamin supplements appear to have a neutral effect on our lifespan. Vitamin D, however, seems to be the only supplement that actually appears to make us live longer (see also here, here, here, here, here). And women with breast cancer who eat soy appear to survive longer.

See also the related blog post: How to live longer in four easy steps

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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Watch videos about lifespan

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    Plant-based diets may prove to be a useful nutrition strategy in both cancer growth control as well as lifespan extension because these diets are naturally lower in methionine.
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    Those eating a more plant-based diet may naturally have an enhanced antioxidant defense system to counter the DNA damage caused by free radicals produced by high-intensity exercise.
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    Two kiwi fruit an hour before bedtime may improve sleep quality and duration without the side effects associated with sleeping pills.
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  • The McGovern Report
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    The story behind the first U.S. dietary recommendations report explains why to this day the decades of science supporting a more plant-based diet have yet to fully translate into public policy.
  • Flaxseeds & Breast Cancer Survival: Epidemiological Evidence
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    Lignan intake is associated with improved breast cancer survival in three recent population studies following a total of thousands of women after diagnosis.
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