Eating Well to Live Longer

Lifestyle: a determining factor of quality of life

The first conclusion is that the quality of aging is thought to be closely related to lifestyle. And lifestyle grows in importance as people age. But what do we mean by lifestyle? When we talk about aging, five factors are in the crosshairs: sedentarism, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. However, it is difficult to distinguish the impact of each factor because of how interconnected they are. For example, it is likely that someone who exercises regularly also has an optimal weight, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t have diabetes.

Eating well: essential to the aging process

However, one factor stands out from the others: diet. Studies have confirmed the widespread idea that a healthy, balanced diet may be the secret, or at least one of the keys, to successful aging. And what is the recipe for a healthy retirement? Increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, dairy products, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, combined with a low intake of alcoholic beverages.

Above all, don’t eat less without medical monitoring!

To stay on the safe side, should you also restrict calorie intake? Since the end of the 1980s, numerous studies have indeed shown that reducing calorie intake in different animal species has helped significantly increase lifespans and defer the appearance of diseases associated with aging. From there to conclude that you should eat less to live longer, there is only one step… not to take! Or at least, not just any way, at not just any age. It should be out of the question to eat less when the body is fragile, whether because of advanced age or after a stress or illness. Maintaining a diet adequate in quality and quantity remains essential for guaranteeing sufficient intake of nutrients including protein and vitamins B9, C, D, and E, all indispensable allies for a delicate body.

However, if a restricted diet is put in place in a favorable context—to maintain an appropriate weight in a healthy environment with continued regular exercise—it can only be beneficial.

Living to one hundred: still a mystery

While interest is providing momentum to advance knowledge in this investigative field, longevity still remains shrouded in mystery. Through what mechanisms does calorie restriction promote aging well? What is the exact role of dietary fatty acids? What is the optimal body weight as we age? Many questions remain. And if you listen to hundred-year-olds, the path to longevity is not always straight and narrow…

Want to learn more? The Louis Bonduelle Foundation explains the keys to continuing to enjoy eating and protecting your health while aging in the file it published, ”How to Eat to Age Better”.