Longevity article by National Geographic Magazine

Longevity article by National Geographic Magazine

Longevity is about many different things and most of them are in your hands, being your diet, lifestyle and environment.

“They often say they prefer to eat only fruits and vegetables”
Maurizio Berardelli, a geriatrician, 2013, on studying centenarians.

106-year-old Salvatore Caruso was born on November 2, 1905.  He has a stunning memory, remembering back 100 years, to 1913 when his father died and to when his mother and brother had nearly died during the great influenza pandemic of 1918-19.  When asked how he had achieved his remarkable longevity, the centenarian said “No drinking, no smoking, no women, I have eaten mostly figs and beans while growing up and I have hardly ever eaten any red meat”.

The Ecuadorian Laron people have a common genetic mutation giving them incredibly low cases of diabetes and cancers.  In studying these people, they found an absence of a hormone known as IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor, in their blood.  IGF-1 has been implicated as an accelerant of cancers and as a powerful regulator of metabolism.  University of Hawaii researchers have also found variants of the gene that lowers IGF-1 in long-lived Japanese-American men on the island of Oahu.  IGF-1 levels in the body can be controlled through diet (eat a plant-based wholefood diet as animal foods raise IGF-1). 

The Calabrian results on centenarians’ show that “the genetic component of longevity appears to be stronger in males but women may take better advantage of external factors such as diet and medical care than men do”.  The Calabrian centenarian’s tended to possess a particular gene important to taste allowing them to enjoy bitter foods like broccoli and field greens.  They ate far more of these than most people do and thus it helped them to live longer.  This is controllable through diet (eat more greens).

The Einstein project studying more than 500 centenarians in and around New York City has found that the Ashkenazi centenarians have exceptionally high levels of HDL, often called the good form of cholesterol.  This can be controlled through diet (eat more plant-based wholefoods).

As reported by National Geographic in the May 2013 issue.


Posted: Tuesday 12 November 2013