Diets and Exercises That Can Help You Live Longer
A Look at Which Diets and Exercises Will Help You Live Longer
In previous AgeRate articles, we have looked at the effects of various diets and their potential to help you live a longer and healthier life. Among these include intermittent fasting and the Blue Zones diet. As a quick summary for those interested and unaware, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves fasting (not eating) for long stretches of time and consuming all of your daily calories within a smaller time frame, while the Blue Zones Diet involves taking on a diet that consists of mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the main differences between these two diets is that intermittent fasting seems to be targeted at people who want to lose weight without being so active, while following Blue Zones guidelines requires more than following a diet, as it also involves adopting an active lifestyle and putting greater emphasis on social relationships. As such, the Blue Zones lifestyle displays the importance of combining diets and exercises/activities for longevity. With this in mind, this article looks at some more trendy longevity-based diets, as well as exercises to help you live longer.
Diets for Longevity
Beyond intermittent fasting and the Blue Zones diet which were covered in previous articles, this article specifically takes a look at two more trendy diets that have been associated with longevity.
The Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet, while much talked about, has its skeptics for several reasons. Before getting into that, let’s cover the basics of the alkaline diet and why some believe that it is a key diet for those interested in longevity. According to Healthline, an alkaline diet is a diet that replaces acid-forming foods, with the idea being that it will allow you to alter your pH (acidity) value. The reason that many believe that this diet is so useful for longevity comes from the idea that eating acidic foods makes your blood acidic while eating alkaline (non-acidic) foods has the opposite effect. This affects longevity because many believe that you are more prone to illness and disease when your blood is more acidic.
For those interested in what the alkaline diet entails, it has a very similar diet to that of the Blue Zones diet. That being, it is very heavy on fruits and vegetables. Following the diet requires a heavy consumption of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, while eliminating meats, dairy products, and fish; essentially anything that comes from an animal. This leads to the second trendy diet, perhaps the most discussed diet amongst Western society, as it explains why some are skeptical about the idea behind the alkaline diet.
The Vegan Diet
The vegan diet is another diet that has been heavily linked with longevity, and one which also in part can explain why some don’t believe in the alkaline diet. The reason behind this is because an alkaline diet is essentially a more strict vegan diet, as with its entire purpose being to avoid acidic foods, most animal-based foods are acidic. With this in mind, the Healthline article linked earlier points out that an alkaline diet is still a healthy diet, but mostly because it involves consuming plant-based foods and eliminating processed foods. There is very little scientific evidence to support the idea that an alkaline diet is healthy because it alters pH levels, or that it alters pH levels at all.
Having said this, the alkaline diet is still healthy due to its heavy reliance on plant-based foods, much like the ever-present vegan diet, which requires that you consume mainly fruits and vegetables as well as starchy carbohydrates for larger meals. The vegan diet is one that has often been associated with longevity due to its elimination of processed foods and meats. The one issue that skeptics usually have with a vegan diet is wondering where to get protein from if they cannot eat meat, with those on the diet arguing that either you don’t need large amounts of protein, or that you can find vegan-friendly alternatives in nuts and soy-based foods.
One example of a diet for longevity that is mainly vegan-based comes from Professor Valter Longo. This diet, which they state is vegan-based, could also be considered a pescatarian diet as it is mainly vegan with small amounts of fish. The diet also involves low amounts of protein, saturated fats, and sugars, while consuming lots of good fats and complex carbs. To check out the full details of the diet, click the link above. This is just one example of a diet created specifically with longevity in mind.
Exercises for Longevity
For those who want to live an all-around healthy lifestyle to improve their biological age, exercise can be just as important as dieting. Similar to there being specific benefits to different types of diets, there are also specific benefits to different types of exercise. For exercises related to longevity, Time writes about a diet that would make Blue Zones followers proud. This is because they state that longevity from exercise comes from both physical and mental benefits. As such, they write that exercises that can be helpful to live longer include activities such as tennis, badminton, and soccer. Essentially, they believe that team sports/activities are more helpful regarding longevity than solo exercises such as running, cycling, or gym workouts because not only do they benefit you physically, but the social aspect also benefits you mentally.
With this said, if you are reading this around the time that it is published, you will be well-aware of the predicament that we are all currently facing and the fact that it does not really call for getting together in groups and playing a team sport. With that in mind, one solo exercise that requires little time, no equipment, and allows you to stay in the comfort of your own home are planks. This video by Body Hub explains that just doing a plank for one minute every day can help reduce the risk of spinal injuries and help strengthen and solidify your entire body. This is not to say that this is the only exercise you need to do all day; you should still get your steps in and try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. However, I offer to you that just doing a plank for one minute every day could help with longevity due to its full body strengthening, and its aid in correcting posture and helping prevent long-term posture-based injuries long-term such as arthritis.
If you choose to take on one of the diets or one of the exercises in this article in an attempt to improve your longevity, consider checking out AgeRate. At AgeRate, we offer a biological age test that can allow you to see how much these diets or exercises are improving your lifespan, as well as personalized insights to optimize your health.