Ideal diet and lifestyle for longevity and health?

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    Jul 30, 2013 5:22 AM GMT
    This topic really isn't discussed that often around here and I'd like to know people's opinion on it. A lot of people are concerned with getting fit or losing weight, but no one ever talks about what is the most ideal for health and longevity. A lot of scientific studies show that calorie restriction is the key to longevity. Is this true or is a bodybuilding lifestyle and focusing on anaerobic exercises the way to go? Is doing a lot of aerobic training better for health than anaerobic or is the reverse true? Are the Paleo diet and other high protein diets like the Atkins diet healthier than high carb diets like the Okinowa diet and a vegan diet? There really doesn't seem to be any info on this on the web and it seems to be that most of the "experts" have completely different views about what's healthy and what's not healthy. The health care system is so advanced that you would think that they would be able to create a standard diet and lifestyle that's ideal for health and longevity, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
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    Jul 30, 2013 6:16 AM GMT
    My belief is that you can shorten your life by living or eating poorly but you can't extend it. Of course, when buy a book on the paleo diet, step into a health food store, etc., they'd like you to believe otherwise. Longevity is largely determined by genetics.
  • AMoonHawk

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    Jul 30, 2013 6:20 AM GMT
    I here a couple glasses of red wine a day will do it
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    Jul 30, 2013 11:25 AM GMT
    Lumpynose saidMy belief is that you can shorten your life by living or eating poorly but you can't extend it. Of course, when buy a book on the paleo diet, step into a health food store, etc., they'd like you to believe otherwise. Longevity is largely determined by genetics.

    So you think people who exercise and eat clean aren't any healthier than people who don't exercise and eat average American diets?
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    Jul 30, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
    jr17 said
    Lumpynose saidMy belief is that you can shorten your life by living or eating poorly but you can't extend it. Of course, when buy a book on the paleo diet, step into a health food store, etc., they'd like you to believe otherwise. Longevity is largely determined by genetics.

    So you think people who exercise and eat clean aren't any healthier than people who don't exercise and eat average American diets?


    He specifically said eating poorly can shorten life so that would be a measure of health.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity#Longevity_and_lifestyle
    "Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices"

    I'd add two other major components to that, reserve capacity and dumb luck.

    Reserve capacity includes your early childhood health, not necessarily your own personal lifestyle choices but those of whomever raised you. Maybe a young child didn't get proper nutrition or exercise or mental stimulation so they start at deficit and would have to work harder later to keep from falling further faster. Someone with more reserve capacity also could deplete that by lifestyle choices but has more room to coast and can also work towards maintaining their greater capacity.

    It all depletes eventually, but remaining healthy longer generally means a longer life and a quicker end with less suffering. But there are no guarantees and that's where dumb luck kicks in.

    While my family does have some genetics for Alzheimer's, it comes only down one line, from my maternal greatgrandmother and so not everyone gets it. Mom got it, her brother did not; my grandfather got it, his brother did not. So they wind up dying in their 70s while many people in my family live healthy lives into their 90s. Makes it a bitch to plan life because you just don't know.

    My grandfather and mother were both pictures of health. Both were raised in comfort by smart people so they had the reserve capacity. Grandpa was an athlete in fantastic shape into his 70s, hours of tennis every day even then. Mom kept a great figure, swam laps with me. People thought she was my sister until she hit her 60s. She was doing protein shakes back in the 1970s. Always worked on her mind, puzzles and books and self improvement. All to no avail. Dead of Alzheimer's by 75.

    My father, also raised well by a family with resources so plenty opportunity for reserve capacity. No Alzheimer's in either of his bloodlines. Yet he never exercised. I don't recall him ever swimming with us. Smoked packs a day until just a few years ago. Eats anything he wants. He's in his mid 80s and looks fabulous. Well, for a guy in his mid 80s, but still fabulous.

    So I think longevity is mostly dumb fucking luck. You can be the most health conscious guy, born into a health conscious family, make only health conscious decisions and still get hit by a bus. So I'm gonna eat this here bagel and enjoy it with my coffee. So there!
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    Jul 30, 2013 3:48 PM GMT
    Sugar and salt are poison.
    So are Doritos but they're worth it.
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    Jul 30, 2013 6:33 PM GMT
    A classic example to me of genetics being a factor is Jim Fixx. He wrote a popular book that ignited the running craze in the US back in the late 70s. His death at age 52 from a heart attack stunned everyone. Turned out his father and older brother died around the same age, also from heart attacks. But if you read the Death section in the following, you can see that that may not have been the only factor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Fixx
  • xebec75

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    Jul 30, 2013 7:07 PM GMT
    Eat food, not too much...mostly vegetables.
    -Michael Pollan http://michaelpollan.com/
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    Jul 30, 2013 7:18 PM GMT
    Obviously if you're at risk factor for certain conditions abstinence from a bad diet (alcohol, sugar) will promote longevity. That being said...

    theantijock said
    jr17 said
    Lumpynose said...remaining healthy longer generally means a longer life and a quicker end with less suffering.


    Statistically, because people are living longer today because of healthy diet and lifestyle and medical advances in heart surgery, etc., people are dying harder - and longer.
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    Jul 30, 2013 7:21 PM GMT
    xebec75 saidEat food, not too much...mostly vegetables.
    -Michael Pollan http://michaelpollan.com/


    This makes sense to me - eating clean, unprocessed as much as possible, but enjoying an occasional cheat because life's meant to be lived AND, I feel, if you eat only healthy your digestive system would be more intolerant to anything unhealthy that sneaks your way.
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    Jul 30, 2013 7:43 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said... but enjoying an occasional cheat because life's meant to be lived AND, I feel, if you eat only healthy your digestive system would be more intolerant to anything unhealthy that sneaks your way.

    That reminds me, I haven't had a meal of Spam and Tater Tots in over a week.
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    Jul 30, 2013 9:22 PM GMT
    eagermuscle saidObviously if you're at risk factor for certain conditions abstinence from a bad diet (alcohol, sugar) will promote longevity. That being said...

    theantijock said
    jr17 said
    Lumpynose said...remaining healthy longer generally means a longer life and a quicker end with less suffering.


    Statistically, because people are living longer today because of healthy diet and lifestyle and medical advances in heart surgery, etc., people are dying harder - and longer.


    By harder I assume you mean more abruptly instead of a lingering death and as I said that's mostly true. But that can be a scary proposition too.

    Mom stayed self-aware and highly cognizant of others throughout her Alzheimer's. Even while her brain was turning to liquid, it seemed she was able to retreat beyond the damage such that she presented herself as aware of her own condition up until the end. She was also aware of how her condition affected me and said so.

    As she never smoked, always watched her diet, was very up on nutrition and exercised regularly throughout life, her body was in excellent shape which meant she lasted a long time through a disease that might otherwise have taken her sooner.

    So depending on what life throws your way, doing everything right can work against you. The only way I can think to plan for that is to start smoking when I'm 70 or keep a gun by my bed. Lights out.
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    Jul 30, 2013 9:26 PM GMT
    The most interesting research I've come across is called blue zones.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html?_r=1&

    http://www.bluezones.com/

    If I recall correctly, have a low-stress lifestyle, socialize with friends and loved ones every day, care for others and let them care for you, play every day, never stop doing light physical labour, grow your own food, eat a healthy diet of mostly veggies and a little high-quality meat, stay phyically active until the day you die and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.
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    Jul 31, 2013 12:56 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    eagermuscle saidObviously if you're at risk factor for certain conditions abstinence from a bad diet (alcohol, sugar) will promote longevity. That being said...

    theantijock said
    jr17 said
    Lumpynose said...remaining healthy longer generally means a longer life and a quicker end with less suffering.


    Statistically, because people are living longer today because of healthy diet and lifestyle and medical advances in heart surgery, etc., people are dying harder - and longer.


    By harder I assume you mean more abruptly instead of a lingering death and as I said that's mostly true.

    Nope. People are dying harder AND longer. Read this. It's enough to knock everybody off their treadmills and straight to MacDonalds:

    http://nymag.com/news/features/parent-health-care-2012-5/

    The pertinent quote:

    "The traditional exits, of a sudden heart attack, of dying in one’s sleep, of unreasonably dropping dead in the street, of even a terminal illness, are now exotic ways of going. The longer you live the longer it will take to die. The better you have lived the worse you may die. The healthier you are—through careful diet, diligent exercise, and attentive medical scrutiny—the harder it is to die."
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:00 AM GMT
    If you want to live a long and healthy life, abstain from anything that can damage your health.

    If you want to live a fun and exciting life, take up an adrenaline/extreme sport, eat foods that give you lots of energy for that sport, and accept the fact that dying young is more fun than being a boring old fart. icon_twisted.gif
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:11 AM GMT
    Lord_Trollileo said
    paulflexes saidIf you want to live a fun and exciting life, take up an adrenaline/extreme sport, eat foods that give you lots of energy for that sport, and accept the fact that dying young is more fun than being a boring old fart. icon_twisted.gif
    I like this philosophy.

    I always knew Paulflexes was our resident Hunter S. Thompson.

    The pertinent quote:

    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!'"

    - Hunter S. Thompson
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:12 AM GMT
    1. Go Vegetating
    2. Always try to eat home made foods
    3. Avoid oily deep fried vegetarian foods
    4. Always try to eat a colorful diet (Tomatoes-red; green leafy vegetables; Orange oranges; Bananas-yellow; etc.)
    5. Soups & tea.

    with a bit of meditation & yoga or Tai qi for your peace

    Very simple steps...but most don't show interest or would not like to follow.

    Yes...calorie restriction is very good; that's why many people go fasting and also many religions incorporated fasting as a ritual.

    and also genetics play a role...
    This is more noticeable in people(actually whole families or communities which have common ancestors) with bad dietary lifestyles and also surprisingly live very long.

    EDIT:
    6. I forgot to mention...avoid processed foods.
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:13 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said- Hunter S. Thompson
    My hero. icon_cool.gif
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:13 AM GMT
    Harry7785 said4. Always try to eat a colorful diet
    Does eating a rainbow flag count? Or sprinkles?
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:27 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Harry7785 said4. Always try to eat a colorful diet
    Does eating a rainbow flag count? Or sprinkles?

    No! you can't eat flags! icon_eek.gif
    sprinkles?...aren't they artificial. ;)
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    Jul 31, 2013 1:31 AM GMT
    jr17 saidThis topic really isn't discussed that often around here and I'd like to know people's opinion on it. A lot of people are concerned with getting fit or losing weight, but no one ever talks about what is the most ideal for health and longevity. A lot of scientific studies show that calorie restriction is the key to longevity. Is this true or is a bodybuilding lifestyle and focusing on anaerobic exercises the way to go? Is doing a lot of aerobic training better for health than anaerobic or is the reverse true? Are the Paleo diet and other high protein diets like the Atkins diet healthier than high carb diets like the Okinowa diet and a vegan diet? There really doesn't seem to be any info on this on the web and it seems to be that most of the "experts" have completely different views about what's healthy and what's not healthy. The health care system is so advanced that you would think that they would be able to create a standard diet and lifestyle that's ideal for health and longevity, but that doesn't seem to be the case.



    Eating food as per out genetic predisposition ( Paleo Diet) has worked better for me than any other regime that I have tried. It trumps exercise . You simply don't get fat and exercise pays off with muscle growth or tone ( if you are active but don't work out) . BTW Paleo is not a high protein diet nor is it a low carb diet. ( I dont know why people believe this)
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    Jul 31, 2013 3:33 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Harry7785 said4. Always try to eat a colorful diet
    Does eating a rainbow flag count? Or sprinkles?

    Skittles!
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    Jul 31, 2013 5:08 AM GMT
    eagermuscle saidNope. People are dying harder AND longer. Read this. It's enough to knock everybody off their treadmills and straight to MacDonalds:


    That's a very specific case--though, with increasing longevity, a growing case--the same I mentioned with my mom, and so as I said there are instances where living a healthy life can produce more suffering at the end. But mostly, that is not the case, at least not according to the aging studies classes I've taken. And it makes sense. The healthier you remain, the less will you suffer. Just imagine some guy spending his life with the ravages of diabetes. He's gonna suffer a lot more and for a lot longer than someone who watched closer what they ate.

    The problem is that if you then do get dementia, or disabled by accident, etc, then living healthy can work against you. But you can't plan on that. You still have to make the best decisions you can with what information you have at the time, not with what other information you might have later.

    Here's what I just googled (from this point, all text quoted from article but for what I put in parentheses):

    http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nia-who_report_booklet_oct-2011_a4__1-12-12_5.pdf

    The world is on the brink of a demographic milestone. Since the beginning of recorded history, young children have outnumbered their elders. In about five years’ time, however, the number of people aged 65 or older will outnumber children under age 5.

    Reducing severe disability from disease and health conditions is one key to holding down health and social costs.

    The longer people can remain mobile and care for themselves, the lower are the costs

    And there is mounting evidence from crossnational data that—with appropriate policies and programs—people can remain healthy and independent well into old age and can continue to contribute to their communities and families.

    The potential for an active, healthy old age is tempered by one of the most daunting and potentially costly consequences of ever-longer life expectancies: the increase in people with dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.

    An estimated 25-30 percent of people aged 85 or older have dementia.

    In 2010, an estimated 524 million people were aged 65 or older—8 percent of the world’s population. By 2050, this number is expected to nearly triple to about 1.5 billion, representing 16 percent of the world’s population.

    The dramatic increase in average life expectancy during the 20th century ranks as one of society’s greatest achievements. Although most babies born in 1900 did not live past age 50, life expectancy at birth now exceeds 83 years in Japan—the current leader—and is at least 81 years in several other countries.

    (here's the part I mentioned about reserve capacity: )

    A growing body of research finds that many health problems in adulthood and old age stem from infections and health conditions early in life. Some researchers argue that important aspects of adult health are determined before birth, and that nourishment in utero and during infancy has a direct bearing on the development of risk factors for
    adult diseases—especially cardiovascular diseases.

    Research also shows that delayed physical growth in childhood reduces physical and cognitive functioning in later years.

    Behavior and exposure to health risks during a person’s adult life also influence health in older age.

    (and now to your point)

    Are we living healthier as well as longer lives, or are our additional years spent in poor health?

    There is considerable debate about this question among researchers, and the answers have broad implications for the growing number of older people around the world. One way to examine the question is to look at changes in rates of disability, one measure of health and function. Some researchers think there will be a decrease in the prevalence of disability as life expectancy increases, termed a “compression of morbidity.”Others see an “expansion of morbidity”—an increase in the prevalence of disability as life expectancy increases. Yet others argue that, as advances in medicine slow the progression from chronic disease to disability, severe disability will lessen, but milder chronic diseases will increase.

    In the United States, between 1982 and 2001 severe disability fell about 25 percent among those aged 65 or older even as life expectancy increased.

    This very positive trend suggests that we can affect not only how long we live, but also how well we can function with advancing age. Unfortunately, this trend may not continue in part because of rising obesity among those now entering older ages.

    (And for anyone considering retirement)

    there is some evidence that staying in the labor force after age 55 is associated with slower loss of cognitive function, perhaps because of the stimulation of the workplace and related social engagement.