The over 65s in the world will reach one and a half billion by 2050 and in Italy they already represent 23.3% of the population, with an average life expectancy that in the space of eighty years will reach the threshold of 93 years. In short, we will live longer, but how can we achieve a longevity that is also healthy? The Valter Longo Onlus Foundation draws up a list of advice based on observing the life of centenarians.
Intermittent fasting for younger cells: a habit that unites several groups of centenarians is the intake of main meals and any snacks in a span of 12 hours to benefit from as many hours of night fasting which, thanks to the body’s rest period, allows you to regenerate from and to repair damaged cells, eliminating those that are no longer functional. The result? Younger and healthier cells. A further reduction of the hours you eat (10 hours or less) would then allow you to get even better results in terms of weight reduction, but it is much more difficult to comply with and could also increase the risk of side effects such as development of gallstones. The ideal is, therefore, to consider 12 hours from the end of dinner: if we have eaten the last meal at 9.00 pm, we will wait for breakfast at 9.00 am.
Foods that extend life: “The longevity diet incorporates the eating habits of the healthiest groups of centenarians, including those we follow in Calabria, those of Okinawa, Loma Linda in California, Costa Rica and Greece”, explains nutritionist Romina Cervigni. ” A low-protein diet – similar to that used by the centenarians of Molochio, in Calabria – corresponds to a lower incidence of tumors and, in general, a longer life “.
But what are the ingredients of the diet and the habits of the centenarians that contain the elixir of longevity? Definitely a diet with a lot of nuts, some fish, few animal proteins, few sugars and few saturated or trans fats and many complex carbohydrates derived from legumes and other plant-based foods. Many of these centenarians often eat at most 2-3 times a day, little in the evening, and in many cases before dark.
Friendly fibers of the microbiota. In the event that the diet is too rich in proteins of animal origin, the diet can generate a state of inflammation of the organism that risks compromising the proper functioning of the immune system, altering the intestinal bacterial flora, the so-called microbiota. It is therefore better to prevent this danger with a menu rich in fiber: let us never miss seasonal vegetables, legumes and a little fruit.
Stronger immune system with vitamin D. A varied and complete diet, which includes the intake of the right amount of protein, the consumption of products rich in omega 3 – such as fatty fish, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil – is an irreplaceable ally for an efficient immune system. . But to give a real ‘boost’ to our body’s defenses, the right amount of vitamin D, contained in foods such as fish and mushrooms, or easily integrated into the diet, is essential.
Finally, always active metabolism with sport. Physical activity is another fundamental element for healthy longevity: from simple gardening, to martial arts, to dance. Most people hitting the age of 100 in good health are active or very active people into old age, although many of them don’t even know what “exercise” means. For example, in Okinawa many fishermen over 80 never stop working and ladies over 90 dance with weights on their heads several times a week. In Calabria, 110-year-old Salvatore Caruso used to walk to his olive grove every day.