Cards on the table; I believe there is the ultimate anti aging diet. After years of being wowed by various ‘ultimate’ options and looking at the research, the challenge has been identifying which, if any carries realistic benefits long term.
There are several schools of thought about which foods can help you stave off the worst effects of aging and the following ideas have merit:
Calorie restriction (CR)
Author of The 120-year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years, Roy Walford researched ‘life extension’ via restriction of calorie intake. His primary interest was on foods which are naturally low in calories and high in nutrients: fruit, vegetables and lean flesh foods. Within these groups, those with the lowest calories and highest amount of nutritional benefit were focussed on.
A medical doctor, Wolford successful significantly extended the life of lab mice through his methods. Many others in the scientific community also believed his findings were a way to experience healthy aging. His work and career achievements made his name a leading light in the study of Aging. Unfortunately he died of a genetic disease, which arguably may have been exacerbated by CR. See the discussion here.
Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB)
Campbell et al have spent decades investigating the health benefits of the plant based diet, the new and less scary name of veganism. His particular interest has been the connection between animal protein in all it’s forms and cancer. His conclusions have led him to deduce that plants foods are synonymous with healthy longevity.
This category is really a nod to the influence of the media. A quick Google search will reveal a long list of the latest specific foods believed to have anti aging properties. Interestingly, with a few weird exceptions, most would be incorporated into the WFPB with the addition of a little fish.
The ultimate diet?
There is no doubt in my mind that plants as a food group offer the best nutrition. When eaten in their raw or steamed, unprocessed state there are considerable amounts of readily accessible nutrients in a form the body can absorb. However I also acknowledge that flesh protein can also have a place on your plate (I will discuss this in more detail in a later post).
My personal choice in my own anti aging diet to minimise animal products and emphasise plants. This personal decision is based on ecological, environmental, animal husbandry issues and questionable nutritional benefit of a high proportion of flesh foods. Campbell makes a good case for this stance.
I appreciate minimising animal products is not validated by (all?) the medical profession. It is certainly not advisable to those who do not have the ability or knowledge to put together well balanced, predominantly plant based meals.
However I believe as generic way of eating, WFPB is certainly worth investigating as the ultimate anti aging diet.