The longevity diet to live a healthy 120 years

Mega-billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are investing huge sums of money in the search for the magic pill that will prolong our lives. However, there is scientific evidence that the food we eat has a direct impact on our health and longevity.

In this regard, we have sought the opinion of Dr Manuel de la Peña, a multi-award winning and internationally renowned academic, director of the Chair of Heart and Longevity and president of the European Institute of Health and Social Welfare.

Professor de la Peña points out that, if we want to live with more vitality and health until the age of 120, the most important aspects to take into consideration are the following:

– Hydration. Up to 30% of adults do not reach the basic level of hydration, something that is related to premature ageing. Medical guidelines in the United States advise consuming 2-3 litres of water a day, i.e. complying with the 8 glasses a day rule, although the reality is that the amount also depends on age, physical activity and where we live.

– Consume fresh and organic products. Organic products are those that are produced without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, fertilisers and hormones, among others. They are produced on land that has been free of synthetic chemicals for at least three years.

– Performing periods of intermittent fasting. A dietary practice that involves alternating between periods of fasting and eating within a specific time period. The best known is 16/8 fasting, which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours.

– Reduce salt. 70% of people are “salt-sensitive”, i.e. their blood pressure increases when they consume salt and decreases if salt restriction occurs.

– Reduce sugar. According to the WHO, consumption of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total caloric intake. A reduction below 5% of total caloric intake would produce additional health benefits.

– Calorie restriction. This involves reducing calorie intake by reducing the amount of food eaten, choosing foods with fewer calories, or combining both approaches. The aim is to eat until you feel 80% full and not to end up stuffed at every meal.

– Eat a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high consumption of olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables and cereals, a high consumption of fish (especially blue fish) and poultry and a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats and sweets, as well as a moderate consumption of wine with meals.

– Daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), vitamin E and phytosterols, all of which are cardioprotective compounds that increase HDL (good) cholesterol. About 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil should be consumed daily.

– Moderate consumption of red wine (maximum 2-3 glasses per day). It contains polyphenols and flavonoids and is therefore a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, acting as an inhibitor in the early stages of arteriosclerosis.

– Nuts. Eating a handful of nuts every day (4-6 units), such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts, are a good source of antioxidants and a perfect complement to reduce cholesterol.

– Fruit. Fruits that have a high anti-inflammatory power should be consumed, such as: red or wild berries, apples, cherries, sour fruits, pomegranates, grapes and avocados, among others.

– Green tea. Its daily intake can delay brain ageing by activating nerve cells and reducing stress.

Professor de la Peña concludes by stating that if these dietary guidelines are followed with discipline and rigour, energy levels increase, inflammation is reduced and the risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer is reduced.

De la Peña, in addition to being a professor of cardiology, is a doctor cum laude and a writer. He has been awarded the Gold Badge of the Association of Coronary Patients (APACOR) and the Bronze Medal of the Society for International Studies (SEI).

The European Institute of Health and Social Welfare is an independent institution, where Nobel Laureates, ministers of different political persuasions and Members of the European Parliament, among others, have participated.

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