Eating for longevity, brain and gut — it is all the same diet.
Longevity, brain health.
These trends are for sure here to stay with us for 2018.
2017 was huge on gut health and it still is. But longevity and brain health — I’d say might take the main stage this year.
And they should. Because long term health, habits, that make us live longer, healthier, fitter, happier for many many years should be our priorities and long term goals.
It was kind of fun to realize, after exploring recently published books like “The Longevity Diet” by Professor Valter Longo, “The Better Brain Solution” by Doctor Steven Masley, it was fun to reflect and realize, that what makes us live longer and what makes our brain healthier, improving its cognitive functions, our memory, preventing deceases of an aging brain like Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the habits, the nutrition, the fitness routines — it’s all pretty much the same, and doesn’t vary much, especially if we study lives of the longest living people.
They say, “Everyone needs a different diet. Everybody is unique”
Yes. And No.
Even though we are unique, with our genetics and environment and gut bacteria, we are still the same species, sharing our DNA with very few variations.
There are many things we can put in our mouth, chew, digest and poop out, but there are very few things, that support our long term health, and there a very few things, that we must have in our diet to thrive.
Just like we need certain amount of calories as species (VS let’s say monkeys), with kinds of foods too, it’s pretty much the same no matter how unique we think we are.
Our species’ diet is a boring thing, just like of any other animal.
What makes it complicated is our ability to make all kinds of fancy food like products.
What makes it complicated is our thinking imaginative brain.
Yes, we created a lot of products, changed our food supply, invented all these diets to justify consumption of fun foods, that our body doesn’t care for, doesn’t need and very often suffers from, but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should — continue eating fancy food like products thinking more is better, more variety, more taste, more indulgence, more excitement.
Let’s take these latest two books I’ve finished. What do we really need and thrive on as species? What food makes us live longer? Smarter? Improving all areas of our performance and health?
Pretty basic actually.
Lots and lots of GOOD QUALITY ORGANIC FRESH vegetables — think leafy greens (kale, spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens), think broccoli and Brussels sprouts and all kinds of cabbages, think colorful veggies. Not too much high starch tubers though as our brain and cells do not like spikes in blood sugar — so take it easy with potatoes.
Good sources of protein and fat, ESPECIALLY sources of ESSENTIAL Omega-3s, like fatty fish (sardines, herring, anchovies, salmon).
Other sources of animal protein: grass-fed meat and organ meat, eggs. Not too much. 0.8 g per pound of lean body mass is more than enough. Especially if you plan to live a long life — overdoing protein is definitely not something you want to do, at least not with animal protein.
Nuts and seeds, dry-roasted or raw, anything but peanuts.
Fruit? Treat occasional fruit as a dessert and nature’s candy. Berries are the best choice — blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries.
Fermented foods — sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled veggies, organic sugar-free yogurts and cheeses from pasture-raised animals (goat and sheep is always better).
Beans — when cooked properly (soaked, pressure cooked), ¼–½ cup a day.
Herbs and Spices, fresh and dried, dill cilantro, oregano, cumin, turmeric, rosemary etc.
Cacao, the darker the better — I eat only 100% or stevia sweetened. Since the benefits you get come from actual cacao plant, the less processed the final product is, the better it is for you. Sometimes I snack on dried cacao beans or nibs.
Coffee and green and black tea. Lots and lots of anti-oxidants there.
Red wine — 1, max 2 servings a day (150 ml is a serving).
Olive oil — THE oil for longevity and brain health.
These are the foods, that are proven by studies, doctors and professors, studies of the longest living populations around the world to be beneficial, extremely good for us short an long-term, these are the foods that our brain and gut especially love.
These are the foods I consume daily (except for beans and red wine).
The more of these foods you have in your daily diet — the healthier you are now and the more chances you have to live a long life with a healthy sharp brain and great memory, the more chances you have to be healthy, fit and happy now. You don’t know how good your life can be, how good you can feel and perform daily until you try this longevity, brain, gut diet.
If you want to simplify it even further, eat lots and lots of veggies, except potatoes, cooked in a gentle way and raw, eat fatty fish for omega-3s and other sources of whole food protein and …. And that’s basically it. All the other foods, add as many as you can for additional amazing health and performance benefits but build your diet around just 2 things and all the variety of them, all the variety of dishes you can prepare, veggies and fatty protein (protein rich food with healthy fats).
Here is a video of my grocery shopping trip this weekend in NYC, staples of my diet are all there, except for dark chocolate and olive and coconut oil, that I still have plenty of and didn’t have to buy.
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