Irina Papidakis is in her 60s, but she looks younger.
Yuzo Nishimura is nearly 80. But he too looks less.
They both live in what are called ‘Blue Zones’. Blue Zones are areas of the world where people are not just very long-lived – frequently to 100 – but where they also stay fit, mentally sharp and healthy.
We, in the West, may be living longer, but it’s how you live these years that really matters.
Too many suffer in their last decade from degenerative diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Secrets of the world’s healthiest people
Irina and Yuzo’s principal ‘secret’ is their diet, the foods they eat. Their foods are of exceptionally high nutritional value – full of protective vitamins, minerals, trace elements, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and other powerful plant nutrients.
But they are different diets. What if you could take the best elements of each?
Irina’s “Mediterranean Diet”
Irina eats what’s called the ‘Mediterranean Diet’. It corresponds with current dietary recommendations from the American Cancer Society and the British Heart Foundation.
In March 2018, The Journal of Gerontology published a meta-review which stated quite clearly:
“Consuming a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in minimally processed plant foods has been associated with a reduced risk of developing multiple chronic diseases and increased life expectancy.”
Yuzo’s Far-Eastern Diet
The same study acknowledged that certain other populations in Asia, notably parts of Japan, also achieved similar extended health and longevity results.
Diets here include oily fish, green tea, soy and the curry spice curcumin (turmeric). These foods and nutrients help contribute to Yuzo Nishimura’s ‘healthy longevity’.
A ‘super-boosted’ diet
All these other nutritional elements – which have also been subject to top-class published scientific research – should logically be combined to become a ‘super-boosted’ Mediterranean Diet.
Breakthrough research from the Leibniz Institute on Aging in 2017 also suggests that a ‘super-boosted’ diet should include optimum (not just RDA) levels of B complex vitamins, which are vital to prevent incorrect activation of genes.
Because although genes are a factor in health and longevity, a 2016 study clearly shows it is the impact of nutrition on the way genes are expressed that is the real key to health.
The simple way to ‘super-boost’ your diet
Dr Paul Clayton is the former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine. In researching his best-selling book “Health Defence”, he set out to determine exactly what foods and lifestyles could maintain genuinely good health into old age.
His conclusions are based on thousands of peer-reviewed research studies and clinical trials. And from analysis of the nutritional intakes in the regions of the world’s longest lived and healthiest people – the Blue Zones.
The result was not just a best-selling book, but an invitation to present his findings to a UK Parliamentary Select Committee.
Health Defence is over 600 pages long, and still available to buy in print or read online. But now Dr Clayton has also made his updated conclusions available as a simple to follow one-page plan.
The challenge of 10-a-day fruits and vegetables
But here’s the challenge. The American Cancer Society, the British Heart Foundation and other health experts call for up to 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. And 2-3 portions of oily fish (or other source of Omega 3 essential fats) a week.
Because only these high intakes of vitamins, minerals and plant-derived nutrients seem to confer enough protection to help prevent premature illness.
Illness doesn’t have to be age-related
The diseases we call ‘age-related’ are not actually related to the number of years of life – they are damage-related.
Damage to DNA, damage to mitochondria, damage to arteries and blood vessels, and a weakening of the immune system. It’s this accumulated damage that leads to accelerated ageing and illness.
If you prevent that damage with a protective diet, you give yourself the best possible chance of staying healthy.
Professor Partridge is the Director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London. She puts it well:
“What if getting older didn’t mean getting ill?”
Optimum nutrition helps you look younger, too
High blood levels of protective plant compounds – anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, minerals and trace elements – are also linked to younger appearance. Because a healthy look on the outside is a function of healthy cells and active mitochondria on the inside.
A simple multi-vitamin A-Z isn’t enough
A 10-a-day fruit and vegetable diet is really hard to achieve in normal Western daily life – even for conscientious people. So many people take a nutritional supplement. But will it work?
The evidence is that a simple one-a-day vitamin and mineral pill, at merely RDA levels, is not enough – especially for older people (50+).
Because, after this age, people’s nutritional needs increase – at the very time that their ability to absorb and utilise vital nutrients starts to decrease.
RDAs are established at ‘just adequate’ levels to prevent deficiency diseases – like scurvy or rickets – not at optimised levels to help counteract accumulated damage.
Just ‘adequate’ is not optimum
All of which is why many doctors dismiss inexpensive, RDA based, A-Z supplements as largely ineffective. And that scepticism is supported by research – there is little evidence that multi-vitamins alone reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer.
That’s because they have been separated and isolated from other plant nutrients that make a Mediterranean or Far Eastern diet unquestionably healthy.
These nutrients are vital ‘co-factors’ for vitamins and minerals, enabling them to be absorbed properly by the body.
Combining the best of the best to ‘super-boost’ your nutrition
We have created a one-page simple guide that ensures you can eat the most protective foods for long term health.
It includes lifestyle advice on achievable activity targets and ways to improve mental well-being with mindfulness and relaxation.
It crystallises years of advice in recognised health newsletters from universities like Harvard, Tufts and Berkeley – as well as 35 years of research by Dr Paul Clayton.
The guide also recognises that there is a role for a comprehensive daily health supplement to ‘fill in the gaps’ so that you can achieve optimum nutrition every day.
An effective supplement needs to include the sort of co-factor plant nutrients found in the Blue Zones, not just vitamins and minerals.
To get all these nutrients day after day, from food alone, is a challenge – in terms of planning, cooking and even calories. Not the least, because our intensively-farmed soils are becoming less nutrient dense.
The following are plant micro-nutrients that research shows can make a real difference. Some help activate genes that promote health and others deactivate genes that threaten health. (You can click on any one for more information.)
12 Superfood Plant Nutrients
Essential vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 fats
The healthy eating/healthy ageing plan anyone can follow
You can download the one-page health plan based on Dr Clayton’s 35 years of research here.
We believe getting older does NOT have to mean getting ill. And that the primary focus of our healthcare system is unsustainable. It should be far more on prevention rather than cure.
NutriShield comprehensive supplement
You’ve probably heard that we should all “eat a rainbow” – have a variety of colours from different plant foods on your plate.
NutriShield is a daily comprehensive supplement, designed by Dr Paul Clayton. It contains a rainbow of ALL the protective bio-active plant micro-nutrients highlighted above, PLUS an optimum level of essential vitamins and minerals and Omega 3.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends.
You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily headline health tweets.
Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive health supplement with OPTIMUM levels of 43 essential nutrients including standardised green tea extract, polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants, Omega 3, betaine and soy isoflavones. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.
Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from bookstores or from Uni-Vite Healthcare here.
A free summary report and the opportunity to read the book online is available here.
See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet.
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