Are you interested in learning about how to live longer or how to age well? If so, you need to start making nutrition a bigger priority.
Explained below is the importance of good nutrition for longevity. You’ll also find a breakdown of the 5 nutrients that can help you live longer and better.
How Does Nutrition Increase Longevity?
Your diet can absolutely have an impact on your lifespan and your overall quality of life. Here are some specific reasons to start getting serious about the way you eat:
Have you ever noticed that certain foods cause you to feel sluggish and heavy, whereas other foods can give you an energy lift and put a little more pep in your step? Which feeling do you want to experience regularly?
When you make an effort to eat healthfully and prioritize nutrient-dense foods, you’ll find that you have more energy to do all the things you want to do.
Avoid Excessive Weight Gain
You certainly don’t have to be a size 2 to be healthy. However, carrying an excessive amount of extra body fat, especially around the abdomen, has been linked to a variety of health problems. This includes serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
By changing the way you eat and reducing your intake of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, you can reduce your risk of gaining weight and developing these and other potentially life-shortening health conditions.
Eating well and prioritizing nutrient density can also reduce chronic inflammation. Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants have been shown to protect the cells against oxidative stress and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
When you’re dealing with high levels of chronic inflammation, you may experience a variety of symptoms that can impact your quality of life. This includes the following:
- Frequent aches and pains
- Gastrointestinal disorders
You may also be prone to more frequent infections because of a suppressed immune system.
Top 5 Nutrients for Longevity
Now, let’s get into the specific nutrients you ought to be focusing on if longevity is a priority. Here are 5 nutrients to start including in your diet:
1. Probiotics and Prebiotics
A healthy gut (or digestive tract) is key to reducing inflammation, strengthening your immune system, managing your mood, and supporting healthy aging.
One of the best ways to improve gut health is by including probiotics and prebiotics in your diet.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and yeasts that live in your digestive tract and promote a balanced gut microbiome. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are types of fiber that feed and sustain probiotics.
Both probiotics and prebiotics are essential to a healthy gut.
You can find probiotics in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt. Prebiotics are found in vegetables like asparagus, onions, leeks, artichokes, and garlic, as well as oats, wheat, soybeans, and chickpeas.
Reveratrol is a type of polyphenol. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in plants. They contain high concentrations of antioxidants, which makes them particularly beneficial when it comes to reducing inflammation, preventing cell damage, and supporting healthy aging.
When most people think of resveratrol, they think of red wine. It’s true that red wine, as well as other products made from grapes, such as grape juice, contain resveratrol. However, you can also get it from berries and even peanuts.
It’s worth noting, too, that the fact that red wine contains resveratrol is not permission to drink it in excess. In fact, high alcohol consumption is associated with more rapid aging, an increased risk of several chronic illnesses, and a shorter lifespan.
This is why it’s recommended that women drink no more than 1 drink per day (or 7 drinks per week) and men drink no more than 2 drinks per day (or 14 drinks per week).
3. B Vitamins
B vitamins offer a variety of benefits that can slow the aging process, support a healthy brain as you get older, and reduce your risk of heart disease and bone loss.
One of the main reasons B vitamins are so effective is because they help the body to metabolize homocysteine, an amino acid. The B vitamins that are especially beneficial for homocysteine metabolism include:
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
You can get B vitamins from a variety of whole foods, including liver (this is one of the most abundant sources of vitamin B12), eggs, and lamb. Legumes, brown rice, nutritional yeast, and dark leafy greens are good plant-based sources of B vitamins, too.
4. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound. It occurs naturally in humans’ hearts, livers, and kidneys.
A variety of age-related factors, such as oxidative stress and statin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) use can lower CoQ10 levels. This, in turn, can affect blood sugar regulation and increase your risk of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
You can increase your CoQ10 intake by consuming more organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys, etc.) and fish like herring and sardines. Spinach, broccoli, and peanuts are good sources of CoQ10, too.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid associated with reduced inflammation and better brain and heart health. There are 3 types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
ALA converts to DHA and EPA and can be found in a variety of plant foods, including flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. However, it’s recommended that humans get most of their omega-3 fatty acids from EPA and DHA since the body can’t always convert ALA efficiently. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, and herring.
Start Eating Well and Aging Well Today
Are you ready to improve your diet and increase your longevity? Start by incorporating these 5 nutrients into your meals to level up your health and wellness routine.
Do you need more help making changes to your diet or getting to the bottom of your health challenges? If so, we’re currently accepting new patients at Blue Sky MD Health.