Particularly in the health sector, you read time and again about nutrition hacks for losing weight or improving performance in sports. But what actually helps to live healthier and potentially longer? In the following article, we present the top 5 nutrition hacks for a long and healthy life. Scientifically proven.
Plant based diet
When you start to deal with the topic of longevity and nutrition, the question arises relatively quickly: What is actually the best form of nutrition to live as long as possible? Does that even exist? Studies show: Yes, there is! Although there are many contradictory opinions in the field of nutritional science, it is now very well proven that a plant-based diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can protect against the development of certain types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and also type 2 diabetes mellitus, among other things (1).
Responsible for this positive effect are to a large extent so-called secondary plant compounds. These are produced by the plant to ward off predators or to attract insects. When combating pests such as bacteria or fungi, they have antibacterial and antifungal effects. So far, tens of thousands of such molecules have been identified that exert a variety of bioactive effects in the human body.
Thus, research shows that the consumption of phytochemicals has anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. In addition, studies have shown that some phytochemicals have beneficial effects on the process of autophagy. Autophagy is - to put it simply - the recycling process in our cells that ensures that unusable and diseased cells are destroyed (2).
Secondary plant substances as a secret ingredient
Due to the large number of bioactive secondary plant compounds, a plant-based diet can thus protect against the development of age- and diet-related diseases. In addition, some secondary plant compounds such as fisetin or quercetin from strawberries promote senolysis. This means that they intervene in the cell division process and can eliminate body cells that are no longer capable of dividing. For this reason, medicine has a great interest in further researching these substances and identifying new molecules with senolytic effects.
However, you can also achieve positive results through your normal diet. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you also consume a high proportion of phytochemicals. The following table summarizes the positive effects of these phytochemicals, their effects and occurrence.
|Secondary plant substances||Effect||Occurrence|
|Quercetin||senolytic||Capers, apples, onions, broccoli, green leafy vegetables|
|Fisetin||senolytic||Strawberries, apples, cucumbers, grapes|
|Resveratrol||senolytic||Red wine, grapes, peanuts|
|Polyphenols/Flavonoids||antihypertensive||Cocoa, apples, soy products, citrus fruits, tea|
|Polyphenols/Flavonoids||anti-inflammatory||Capers, apples, onions, broccoli, green leafy vegetables|
|Polyphenols/Flavonoids||antimicrobial||Strawberries, apples, cucumbers, grapes|
You can find out more about secondary plant compounds here!
Secondary plant substances in the MoleQlar range
Nutrition hacks for a healthy microbiome
Eating a plant-based diet is also recommended because of the increased fiber content. Studies show that the gut microbiome is directly related to aging and longevity (3). A plant-based diet influences the gut microbiome by providing a diverse mix of dietary fiber, which is metabolized by gut bacteria as so-called prebiotics. Among other things, this produces short-chain fatty acids, which have a positive effect on the intestinal barrier.
Here you can find out more about blood lipid levels.
The consumption of fermented foods can also have positive effects. The close connection between the gut microbiome, the immune system and the development of various diseases also suggests an indirect influence on the aging process.
Fermented foods with probiotic effects include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha. If such foods are part of your diet, this has a beneficial effect on the diversity of the intestinal flora (4). However, it is not only the consumption of a plant-based diet including secondary plant compounds, fiber and fermented foods that can contribute to staying healthy for a long time. Consciously abstaining from food for a certain time window can also be beneficial to our health.
Intermittent fasting has become very popular in recent years as part of weight loss programs. Beyond its use for weight loss, interval fasting also offers many benefits in terms of the aging process. But before that, it would be necessary to briefly explain what interval fasting is exactly.
The bottom line is that everyone does Intermittent Fasting every day for a certain period of time, namely when we sleep. During this time window, we usually do not eat any food and are therefore in a fasting period. However, since most people take food early in the morning with a breakfast, the daily fasting period lasts no longer than 8 - 9 hours.
The actual interval fasting extends the usual period of non-eating and shortens the period of food intake. In practice, fasting is usually done for 16 - 18 hours and eating is done in a period of 6 - 8 hours. As a result, the body is in a "state of hunger" for a longer period of time during the day. This has a positive effect on various blood parameters and also on autophagy (5).
Studies show that DNA repair and insulin sensitivity increase during interval fasting. In addition, scientists have found increased levels of proteins associated with longevity.
Other positive effects of interval fasting, which play a role in the context of a healthy and long life, are increased cognitive performance and, in addition, a favorable composition of serum proteins in terms of:
- the glucose and fat metabolism
- the circadian rhythm
- the immune system
- Obesity and the metabolic syndrome
- Inflammations and
- neuropsychiatric diseases
Here in the big MoleQlar fasting guide you can learn everything about the topic.
Calorie restriction is also strongly related to interval fasting. Thus, interval fasting, due to the temporal abstinence, has a positive effect on the human body even without calorie restriction. However, studies also show that not only the temporal context of food intake, but also the amount of calories consumed per day or on average plays a significant role.
For example, a calorie-restrictive diet increases the peptide hormone adiponectin, which is responsible for insulin sensitivity in fat cells. At the same time, serum leptin, insulin and blood glucose concentrations fall. In addition, conscious calorie restriction implemented in everyday life lowers the HbA1c value, an indicator of blood glucose concentration over the last 8 to 12 weeks. You can find out which other values are crucial for your blood glucose metabolism here in our blood glucose guide.
But that's not all: moderate consumption of calories also results in a reduction in blood lipid levels and total and LDL cholesterol. Especially in relation to cardiovascular diseases, which statistically increase with age, this can have a protective and protective effect (6). In addition to cholesterol, according to recent research, there is an apparently better risk marker in apolipoprotein B (ApoB).
In this article we have taken a closer look.
When combined with a plant-based diet, little to no processed meat and added sugars, and moderate salt and alcohol intake, calorie restriction is associated with increased quality of life and reduced risk of diet- and age-related diseases. A calorie-restricted diet also has an anti-inflammatory effect and lowers proinflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein.
In recent years, the molecule spermidine has been the focus of increasing scientific attention. Study results show that a diet rich in spermidine has cardio- and neuroprotective properties. In addition, animal studies have shown that spermidine mediated the degeneration of cells. Furthermore, maintenance of normal mitochondrial function, anti-inflammation and senolysis are discussed. Molecularly, spermidine induces these effects by the same mechanisms as caloric restriction (7).
Spermidine can also be absorbed in large quantities through food, and it is particularly abundant in selected foods. The front-runner here is wheat germ with approx. 24 mg spermidine per 100 g.
(mg per 100g food)
Conclusion - Nutrition hacks for more longevity
Overall, a plant-based diet rich in phytochemicals is recommended in combination with Intermittent Fasting. This diet is diametrically opposed to the common Western diet. The consumption of fiber-rich and probiotic foods as part of a plant-based diet can have a positive effect on our intestinal microbiome and thereby have a beneficial effect on certain disease mechanisms. In addition, consciously restricting calories and maintaining a normal body weight also has a positive effect on our health.
To support the diet and the own body in a targeted manner, dietary supplements offer a variety of possibilities. Smart supplements compensate for deficiencies in micronutrients that cannot be compensated for by conventional foods, or only with difficulty. In addition, they target molecular pathways in the organism that are neglected due to aging.
- Kim H, Caulfield LE, Rebholz CM. Healthy Plant-Based Diets Are Associated with Lower Risk of All-Cause Mortality in US Adults. J Nutr. 2018 Apr 1;148(4):624-631. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy019. PMID: 29659968; PMCID: PMC6669955.
- Craig WJ, Mangels AR, Fresán U, Marsh K, Miles FL, Saunders AV, Haddad EH, Heskey CE, Johnston P, Larson-Meyer E, Orlich M. The Safe and Effective Use of Plant-Based Diets with Guidelines for Health Professionals. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 19;13(11):4144. doi: 10.3390/nu13114144. PMID: 34836399; PMCID: PMC8623061.
- Badal VD, Vaccariello ED, Murray ER, Yu KE, Knight R, Jeste DV, Nguyen TT. The Gut Microbiome, Aging, and Longevity: a Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 7;12(12):3759. doi: 10.3390/nu12123759. PMID: 33297486; PMCID: PMC7762384.
- Kim M, Benayoun BA. The microbiome: an emerging key player in aging and longevity. Transl Med Aging. 2020;4:103-116. Epub 2020 Jul 21. PMID: 32832742; PMCID: PMC7437988.
- Bagherniya M, Butler AE, Barreto GE, Sahebkar A. The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: a review of the literature. Ageing Res Rev. 2018 Nov;47:183-197. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2018.08.004. Epub 2018 Aug 30. PMID: 30172870.
- Chung KW, Chung HY. The Effects of Calorie Restriction on Autophagy: Role on Aging Intervention. Nutrients. 2019;11(12):2923. published 2019 Dec 2. doi:10.3390/nu11122923.
- Madeo F, Eisenberg T, Pietrocola F, Kroemer G. Spermidine in health and disease. Science. 2018 Jan 26;359(6374):eaan2788. doi: 10.1126/science.aan2788. PMID: 29371440.
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