Ready access to an abundance of food could be accelerating the aging process and shortening your life. Simply put, eating too many calories per day can trigger premature death. In truth, the scientific evidence is clear, calorie restriction (CR) is one of the most effective ways to extend life and combat the negative effects of aging.
Conservatively speaking, an estimated 30 million American adults are consuming more calories than their bodies need, putting their health and longevity at great risk. In fact, scientists have learned that even people who eat healthy and exercise can still be at risk of taking in more calories than they actually need. The toll on the body is not always evident from appearance, but can be lethal.
Too many calories produce deadly results
Results of an analysis by the Mayo Clinic’s heart researchers reveal a number of deadly health effects caused by consuming more calories than the body needs to function. An overabundance of calories was found to influence virtually all known age-related diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, dementia and arthritis.
Among the findings were that excessive calorie intake increased cardiovascular disease risk. In men, too many calories are known to cause high blood pressure while in women, researchers found that cardiac death risk was doubled.
The researchers also noted that consuming too many calories results in a four-fold higher incidence of metabolic syndrome in later life, which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They also found that excessive calorie intake causes blood lipid abnormalities in both men and women – a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease due to its association with atherosclerosis, and a potential factor in acute pancreatitis.
A natural way to turn on the longevity genes
Even individuals who appear thin and healthy could be suffering the deadly effects of excessive calorie intake, according to the researchers at Mayo Clinic, because they are still taking in more calories than their bodies can utilize. Vast amounts of scientific data show that a calorie-restricted lifestyle is critical to activating so-called “longevity genes” within the body that slow the aging process.
When you decrease the number of calories you consume while still assuring you receive optimal and necessary nutrition, you launch a system-wide, anti-aging process within your body. CR effectively switches on genes that promote youthful physiological function. The result is that calorie restriction effectively and dramatically slows the pathological effects of the aging process. In fact, research has revealed the CR boosts biomarkers for health across a broad range of the body’s systems, including reduced risk of cancer, cardiac health, glucose control and cognitive function.
Foods that promote calorie restriction benefits without starving
But even armed with this critical information about the proven benefits of calorie restriction, few people are able to follow a dietary regimen that will sufficiently reduce their intake enough to reap the benefits. The good news is that a 20-year controlled study of calorie restriction in primates found that even a moderately restricted diet can reduce the risk of age-related disease three-fold.
Research has also shown there to be a unique class of six nutrients called “calorie restriction mimetics.” These compounds safely mimic some of the same advantages of a calorie restricted diet without the necessity of strict dietary intake tracking.
1. Fisetin. This is a relatively rare flavonoid. Although found in strawberries, it primarily exists only in miniscule quantities in the plant kingdom. It supplements the effects of the most well-known of the CR mimetics, resveratrol.
2. Resveratrol. This CR mimetic is found most plentifully in red wine grape skins. It is also found in other darkly colored fruits.
3. Whey. Recently identified as the first whole food CR mimetic, the benefits of whey protein include a broad spectrum of anti-aging effects. Studies with laboratory mice suggest whey could add the equivalent of nearly 10 years to the human lifespan.
4. Pterostilbene. This compound is closely related chemically to resveratrol, but has its own unique attributes for promoting longevity. It is found naturally in almonds, grape leaves and vines, as well as blueberries and certain other berries. Unlike resveratrol, it is not found in wine.
5. Quercetin. This plant-derived flavonoid is found in several types of fruits, vegetables, leaves, and grains. It is also sometimes used as an ingredient in beverages, foods and supplements.
6. Black Tea. This tea is more oxidized than green or white teas. It is frequently blended with other plants in making a beverage.
7. Grape Seed Extract. This derivative of whole grape seeds works to promote longevity because it contains resveratrol.