Most people in America love to eat. This includes not only healthy foods but junk food as well. For most people, any food will do as long as it removes the hunger or desire for a snack. Recently, researchers have been finding that, contrary to natural inclinations, the secret of living longer may be tied to eating less – even when you already are eating healthy.
Why Eating Less Matters
One reason that restricting calories may add years to your life is that cutting your calories has been found to reduce the likelihood of getting diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. It has also been seen to slow the aging process.
Consuming fewer calories is believed to increase longevity because it means that you will be adding fewer free radicals into your body. It is the free radicals that lead to various potentially fatal diseases.
The body can more easily eliminate fewer free radicals when you eat less food. Your metabolic rate will also slow down. Studies with various animals have shown that simply cutting calories has extended the life of those animals.
Health Benefits Included
Although it may be surprising, the level of health increased in studies by restricting calories. This was true in studies that involved both animals and humans. Some of the animals involved even added another 50 percent to their normal lifespan. As individual cells of various types were studied to determine the impact of calorie-restricted diets, it was discovered that the cells of older mice were very similar to those of animals much younger. The aging process was definitely slowed.
Another benefit that has been observed from calorie restriction is improved brain function. Two things that have been linked to decreased brain performance are inflammation and high levels of insulin. These problems have been seen to increase the death of neurons in the brain. Reduced calories have been seen in animal studies to help protect the neurons – which means that there is a smaller possibility of development of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and other brain diseases.
Recommended Restriction Levels
Cutting too many calories can produce a harmful and unhealthy effect. It is recommended that most Americans can benefit by reducing their calorie intake by about 15 percent. More than this could be harmful to most people. When calories are reduced, be sure to maintain a healthy diet to ensure your body is getting the right amount of essential nutrients.
Along with the fewer calories, proper exercise is also recommended. This helps to ensure a healthy weight is maintained and better utilization of calories consumed.
Eating Less Is the Best Natural Way to Live Longer
Researchers presently believe that calorie reduction is the best way – without using medications – to live longer. The method enables you to fight age-related illnesses better and retain brain function longer. It can also help treat various declines in function due to brain-related problems.
The benefit of calorie restrictions is even more noticeable when it is started earlier in life before age-related problems start developing. Reducing calories helps prevent and intervenes with the development of typical age-related diseases.
Some cultures that have blue zones – areas where some of the world’s oldest known people live – are also known to restrict their diet. Those areas also have very few age-related diseases. Some of these people groups eat only 80 percent of the food on their plate, eat a lot of vegetables, and their smallest meal of the day is in the evening.