When we think of aging, we tend to concentrate on its exterior
manifestations - the symptoms that pile up on us year after year,
robbing us of vitality and leaving us with an ever-thinner margin of
possibility in life.
The wrinkles that line our face, increased susceptibility to colds,
decreased athletic performance, and longer periods needed to recover
from soreness or injury close in on us as the years go by, leading so
many to complain as they get out of bed with creaky joints - 'ugg, I'm
Some types of aging - such as whether or not a man will lose his hair
as he gets older - seem to be mostly outside of our control. Other
aspects, however, such as whether or not a person develops arthritis,
dementia, heart disease, or has enough energy to play with their
grandchildren, are up
The scientific definition of aging is far more ambiguous than our own
symptom-based one, and there are many theories about why and
how we go
through the aging process. Some point to free radicals while others
blame degraded telomeres, the segments of DNA which bookend our
But most scientists now agree that aging is, at least in part, the
result of ever-accumulating damage to the proteins, lipids, DNA, and
that make up our cells
If enough of these molecules are damaged, cells stop functioning at
full capacity, which leads to our muscles, brain, skin, organs and
tissue deteriorating. As our body functions at an ever-lower level, the
physical and mental tasks we once carried out with ease become more
and less efficient.
The Anti Aging Diet - So How Do We Prevent Cellular
The important question,
then, is where does this damage come from and how can we prevent it.
The damage originates from many sources, both external and internal.
of them can be controlled through a healthy
, with things like getting enough sleep being critical.
These are outside the scope of this article, however.
From a dietary perspective, there are two things we can do to prevent
aging. The first is to stop consuming the foods that age us, and the
second is to eat foods that prevent or even reverse aging.
consider living the greatest number of years possible to be
the end goal of a well-managed aging process.
Or perhaps you think total
years lived is less important than possessing the utmost vitality and a
disease-free body during the time you have.
I can happily tell you that
no matter which of these
goals you have in mind, a low fat raw vegan diet can help you out.
Decades of studies have shown us that one of the most effective ways to
increase lifespan -sometimes by as much as 30 percent - is caloric
restriction, but who wants to go through
life fighting constant hunger?
Luckily, more recent research has shown us there's a better way. When
we eat a low protein, low methionine, low fat, high carbohydrate diet,
the end result seems to be extended lifespan in a similar range to the
calorie restriction diets. Recent animal studies
have demonstrated the much-touted benefits of dietary restriction are
primarily from reducing intake of fats and proteins rather than simply
restricting food and calories (1).
One group of humans placed on this type of low protein diet
(technically a calorie restricted diet) for six years had
hearts estimated to be 15 years younger than the control group
Now to some extent they were merely sidestepping the damage they would
have received eating animal products, but at least to some extent their
hearts seemed to actually get younger on this regime, a truly
The Anti Aging Diet - Animal Protein Is Killing Us
Animal proteins - meat, dairy, and eggs - have been sending us to early
graves for a long time, and it's clear that one thing we can do to
increase the length and freedom of our time on this earth is to stop
Even when animal protein intake is extremely low (the equivlent of
three chicken nugets a day), a person's risk of cancer, heart disease,
host of other diseases, and early death is considerably higher than
when a person eats less meat (3).
Numerous studies have linked animal protein consumtion and early death.
One study of Seventh Day Adventists who follow vegetarian diets found
men living an average of 83.3 years and women 85.7 years. That's 9.5
and 6.1 years longer than the average Californian lives, respectively.
Even those adventists who ate meat just once a week lived shorter lives
than those who ate it once a month (4).
Another studied the meat intake of half a million Americans and found
cardiovascular diseases and cancer decreased with
declining meat consumption while age at death increased (5).
The Anti Aging Diet - The
Problem With Methionine
Although animal protein is the most agregious killer, high protein
foods in general tend to cause us problems.
Numerous animal studies have linked early death and high intake of the
amino acid methionine, which is abundant in animal protein, present in
high-protein vegetable foods like nuts and seeds, to a lesser degree,
and found in most raw fruits and leafy green vegetables at much lower
In studies of rats, one group of researchers allowed the animals to eat
as much food as they pleased, but cut their methionine intake by 80
percent by using plant foods.
The rats fed this low-methionine diet lived 40 percent longer than the
control group, another indication that caloric restriction isn't the
only way to extend lifespan (6, 7).
Beyond rats, there's a lot of science supporting the idea that vegan
diets have the potential to greatly increase human lifespan, at least
partially because of the lowered intake of methionine (8).
A healthy raw vegan diet, with its concentration on low-methionine
fruits and leafy greens, would likely do even better. Check out the
chart below to see how these foods rank.