A six-year study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found three behaviors exerted enormous impact on longevity: not currently smoking, consuming a healthier diet, and moderately exercising at least 21 minutes a day. People with all three behaviors reduced their chances of dying in that time by 82 percent.
A similar study measured how much vitamin C subjects had in their bloodstreams, as vitamin C level was considered a good biomarker of plant food intake (and hence was used as a proxy for a healthy diet). The drop in mortality risk among those with healthier habits was equivalent to being 14 years younger.
The mitochondrial theory of aging suggests that free radical damage to our cells’ power source (mitochondria) leads to a loss of cellular energy and function over time. According to the theory, the resulting cellular damage is what essentially causes aging. Aging and disease have been thought of as the oxidation of the body, but eating antioxidant-rich foods may slow down this oxidant process. On average, plant foods may contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices each meal continuously floods our body with antioxidants to help ward off stroke and other age-related diseases, promoting longevity.
Consuming fruits and veggies, and not smoking, has also been associated with longer protective telomeres, the caps on the tips of our chromosomes that keep DNA from unraveling. Each time our cells divide, a bit of that cap is lost. Telomeres can start shortening as soon as we’re born, and when they’re gone, we’re gone. The food we eat may impact how fast we lose our telomeres: Consumption of refined grains, soda, meat, and dairy has been linked to shortened telomeres, while fruit, vegetable, and other antioxidant-rich plant food intake has been associated with longer ones.
Image Credit: Harli Marten / Unsplash. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Longevity
All Videos for Longevity
Heart Stents and Upcoding: How Cardiologists Game the System
Cardiologists can criminally game the system by telling a patient they have a much more serious, unstable disease than they really have, fraud that results in unnecessary procedures, unnecessary cost, and unnecessary patient harm.
Why Are Stents Still Used If They Don’t Work?
Over and over, studies have shown that doctors tend to make different clinical decisions for patients based on how much they will get paid personally.
Do Heart Stent Procedures Work for Angina Chest Pain?
Sham surgery trials prove that procedures like nonemergency stents offer no benefit for angina pain—only risk to millions of patients.
Angioplasty Heart Stent Risks vs. Benefits
What do physicians and stent companies have to say for themselves, given that they are promoting expensive, risky procedures with no benefit?
The Risks of Heart Stents
Why are doctors killing or stroking out thousands of people a year for nothing? How do doctors even convince patients to sign up for procedures that are all risk without benefit?
Do Angioplasty Heart Stent Procedures Work?
There are demonstrably no benefits to the hundreds of thousands of angioplasty and stent procedures performed outside of an emergency setting. They don’t prevent heart attacks, enable you to live longer, or even help with symptoms any more than placebo (fake) surgery.
The Effects of Processed Meat on Lung Function
If the nitrites in foods like ham and bacon cause lung damage, what about “uncured” meat with “no nitrites added”?
Plant-Based Protein: Are Pea and Soy Protein Isolates Harmful?
What are the different impacts of plant protein versus animal protein, and do the benefits of plant proteins translate to plant protein isolates?
Is Sorghum a Healthy Grain?
How does sorghum compare with other grains in terms of protein, antioxidants, and micronutrients? And the benefits of red sorghum compared to black and white varieties.
What’s the Ideal Waist Size?
Increased risk of metabolic complications starts at an abdominal circumference of 31.5 inches in women and 37 inches in most men, though it’s closer to 35.5 inches for South Asian, Chinese, and Japanese men.
Is the Obesity Paradox Real or a Myth?
How do we explain studies that suggest overweight individuals live longer?
The Effects of Obesity on the Immune System and Kidney and Liver Diseases
What are the effects of weight loss on natural killer cell function, our first line of immune defense against cancer, as well as kidney function and fatty liver disease?