Okinawa is referred to as the island of immortals due to their unusually high number of people living past 100 years. Their impressive longevity comes down to one simple habit which reaps major health rewards and could help to boost your longevity too.
In a study published in the National Library of Health, caloric restriction and healthy ageing on the world’s longest-lived people and its potential impact on morbidity and life span was analysed.
The low caloric intake, long life expectancy, and the high prevalence of centenarians in Okinawa have been used as an argument to support the calorie restriction hypothesis in humans, said the study.
It continued: “We investigated six decades of archived population data on the elderly cohort of Okinawans (aged 65-plus) for evidence of CR.
“Findings include low caloric intake and negative energy balance at younger ages, little weight gain with age, life-long low BMI, relatively high plasma DHEA levels at older ages, low risk for mortality from age-related diseases, and survival patterns consistent with extended mean and maximum life span.
“This study lends epidemiologic support for phenotypic benefits of CR in humans and is consistent with the well-known literature on animals with regard to CR phenotypes and healthy ageing.”
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Conversely, other research has suggested that exercising a degree of caution when it comes to counting calories helps to boost longevity.
Evidence shows that long-term calorie restriction can have negative side effects, such as increased hunger, low body temperature, and a diminished sex drive.
Intermittent fasting may provide a happy medium, and this dietary approach has been shown to offer a defence against potentially deadly complications such as visceral fat.
Professor Mattson says studies have shown that this switch improves blood sugar regulation, increases resistance to stress and suppresses inflammation.
The professor notes that four studies in both animals and people found intermittent fasting also helped to decrease blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rates.
Preliminary studies suggest that intermittent fasting could benefit brain health too.
A clinical trial at the University of Toronto found that 220 healthy adults who maintained a calorie-restricted diet for two years showed signs of improved memory in a battery of cognitive tests.
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