The only proven strategy for slowing aging and prolonging lifespan is moderate calorie restriction in the environment of micronutrient excellence.
Food supplies us with macronutrients and micronutrients. There are four macronutrients—fats, carbohydrates, protein, and water. Micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (chemical compounds found in plants, also called phytonutrients)—do not contain calories. Our balanced diet strives for micronutrient excellence by including a wide variety of micronutrient-rich foods and avoiding foods that are not nutritious. Excess fat, excess carbohydrates, and excess protein all shorten lifespan. To put it another way: Consuming too many calories will shorten your life.
The higher the nutritional quality of your diet, the less you will desire to overconsume calories.
When you eat unhealthfully, it becomes almost impossible for you to not crave and consume excess calories. Most people do not consume enough micronutrients daily. Because their micronutrient needs aren’t met, they can’t control food cravings and overeating behavior.”
“What you put in your mouth turns into your living self. The food you eat makes you who you are, both physically and emotionally. Everything you eat positively or negatively affects the structure and elasticity of your cell membranes, the tensile strength of your cartilage, the elasticity of your blood vessels, and the interior machinery of the cells in your body. Outside of unusual circumstances or very rare genetic defects, cells function normally when exposed to a diet with sufficient colorful, natural plant material. Conversely, they behave abnormally, and sometimes in a bizarre fashion, when these plant-derived nutrients are lacking.
H = N / C
Healthy Life Expectancy = Nutrients divided by Calories
“This means that your healthy life expectancy is determined by the nutrients per calorie, or the micronutrient density of your diet. Or said in another way, the more low-nutrient calories you eat, and the more lacking your diet is in micronutrients, the more miserable your later years will be, and the shorter your life. The term “healthy life expectancy,” or healthspan, means the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities associated with aging. This formula reminds you about this critical foundational principle—that everything you put in your mouth counts toward determining your future health.
But while food may be the most important and overriding influence on your health, it is not the sole determinant of healthspan and lifespan. Exercise or activities; chronic stress; happiness; exposure to drugs and chemicals in our environment, air, and water; and genetic and other factors all play a role too.”
Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates, protein, and water.
Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
To apply this concept, it helps to consider your micronutrient density exposure, which is your lifetime exposure to micronutrients (per calorie) that you have consumed. The more empty calories you have eaten and continue to eat, the higher your health risk; conversely, consuming more phytonutrients reduces your health risks.
Nature is dependable and consistent in terms of biological causes determining outcomes. You don’t get a free ride for smoking cigarettes for thirty years; it damages you and shortens your life. The sooner you quit, the better. It is the same with food. If you eat more nutritionally barren foods, such as white bread, oil, and sugar—which supply calories but no significant micronutrient load—you age faster, create disease, suffer needlessly, and shorten your life. Every bite of white bread, pita, bagel, candy, ice cream, cookie, pizza, and croissant enhances your suffering and takes time and quality off the end of your life—in proportion to the amount you consume. Empty calories come with a cost that you have to pay three times:
First, you pay in the present by feeling ill and being overweight and sickly.
Second, you pay in the future, with poor health and loss of brain function and memory as you age.
Third, you pay again down the road with the years of life taken away from you.
The popular idea that our health is predetermined by genetics, putting good health out of our control and determined by access to medical care, is not only not supported by evidence, but it is absurd.
The foods we consume throughout our lives are the largest factor determining our health destiny.
Our diet radically reduces your consumption of low-nutrient foods and radically increases your intake of high-nutrient foods. The program is not about counting calories. One of the benefits of eating foods with a high nutritional bang per caloric buck is that it leads to a lower caloric exposure naturally and less desire for excessive calories, so you don’t have to count them. That’s right. No calorie counting.
Adequate consumption of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect you from cancer and other diseases. Not surprisingly, the foods that have a high nutrient density come straight from nature, meaning plant foods, mostly vegetables. Nutritional science in the past twenty years has demonstrated that plant foods, especially from colorful plants, contain a huge assortment of protective compounds, most of which are still being discovered and studied by scientists. We are learning that these compounds work in fascinating ways to
Repair DNA damage
Reduce free radical formation
Facilitate the removal of toxins from the body
Only by eating an assortment of nutrient-rich, natural foods can we obtain the diversity of elements we need to protect ourselves from common diseases. By eating a diverse array of these colourful, nutrient-rich plants, we can make the human body resistant to cancer, even if we have a genetic predisposition or have been exposed to causative agents.