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We appreciate experts who translate complicated and important topics so we easily understand them, like the effects of the food we eat on the way our bodies function. And, now that scientists are uncovering the powerful influence of our cells over how we age, the diseases we get, and what we weigh, we need the best teachers we can find to guide us on living longer and free from disease.
Valter Longo, PhD, Director of the Longevity Institute at USC in Los Angeles, and of the Program on Longevity and Cancer at IFOM (Molecular Oncology FIRC Institute) in Milan, Italy, is just such a teacher. His new book, The Longevity Diet, Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight, is a crisply and concisely written roadmap to “living healthy longer, and staying vibrant and youthful beyond the traditional life expectancy” by controlling what we eat.
Dr. Longo writes in the book’s introduction that his laboratories “performed decades of cellular, animal, and human studies focused on maximizing function (learning, memory, physical fitness, etc.) and on the prevention and treatment of diseases, with a special focus on cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as well as autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.”
If we understand how the human body is sustained while young, “we can stay fully functional into our nineties, hundreds and beyond,” he continues.
One of the most significant ways to achieve this is to take advantage of our body’s natural ability to regenerate itself at the cellular and organ levels, but our typical (unhealthy) diet prevents these built-in mechanisms from switching on, and leaves us susceptible to disease and degeneration in our thirties and forties. Dr. Longo maintains that his decades of research have led to discovering how to activate these systems, practically and safely.
The Longevity Diet puts Dr. Lango’s vast knowledge into a simple program that he says “anyone can live by.” It consists of two parts: 1.) a daily nutritional regimen combined periodically with 2.) a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), which provides the benefits of fasting with the deprivation and hunger.
I’ve experienced the fasting-mimicking diet (five days during each of the last two months), and I invite you to learn more about it here.
Dr. Longo’s method uses five research areas to determine whether a nutrient or combination of nutrients is good or bad for our health and to identify the ideal combination of foods for optimal longevity. These areas include: Studies on centenarians, clinical studies, and basic research on “juventology,” a term Dr. Lango coined to embrace the science of staying young. Although new science seems to constantly criticize or praise one food or another, he claims his methodology “ensures the widest possible scientific basis” for his dietary recommendations and minimizes the chance that future studies will drastically alter them.
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