Many of us eventually reach a point in our lives where our age becomes something of an obsession. It typically begins in that moment where we realize we’ve hit the point where there are more days behind us than ahead of us and we begin looking for ways to find a way to tilt that balance in our favor. That leads us down many different roads as we try out various methods that might potentially give us just that much more time. People can end up embracing fad diets, adopting eccentric habits, and even experimenting with less orthodox ideas about health all in the name of adding a few more years onto our lives. The truth is that medical science is continually looking into the best ways to extend our lives as that’s both an interesting question and holds a potentially lucrative answer. There have been a few answers on how we can all live longer, but they tend to vary in how pleasant they are and how willing most of us would be to try them. For instance, a calorie restricted diet has been known to potentially help keep animals alive longer and appears to have a similar effect on humans.
Calorie Restrictive Diets
People commonly report on this idea as “fasting” in some fashion, but we need to stress here that that isn’t quite accurate. Fasting implies there is an end to the change in diet. A calorie restrictive diet is a deliberate and permanent change to how one eats. You keep the benefits only for as long as you can maintain the diet. Studies have repeatedly shown that this sort of diet has a clear effect on the internal age of your major organs. This extends their period of health and makes them more resilient and “young”. That’s why the idea that fasting will help you slow aging keeps coming up. What most people miss is that you’ll probably be miserable the entire time. To get significant results, a calorie restrictive diet would require you to be constantly hungry from a lack of satiation. You’d lose a lot of weight from this too, but that would likely leave you feeling constantly cold or chilled depending on the climate as your body would have difficulty keeping warm. Neither of those states could really change either. Calorie restrictive diets are, roughly speaking, an exchange of quality of life for quantity of life. Most of us would consider that a bad deal.
What are you supposed to do if you want to live a little longer, but not be miserable for the rest of your life? It all comes back to the eternal advice of doctors everywhere: eat a healthy diet. The best way to understand this advice is to realize that you as a modern human have access to infinitely more knowledge and resources than your distant ancestors. Your ancestors weren’t ignorant because of the lack of knowledge as they got all of us this far, but the lack of resources generally meant certain behaviors were necessary. Early humans were hunter-gatherers for this very reason. They needed to be consistently on the move to find enough food to fuel their bodies. We share those bodies with them and, even with some modifications over the years, we’ve ultimately changed very little. Our bodies expect lots of fruits and vegetables, which were comparatively easy to come by, with meat occasionally as an accent to our diets as a burst of protein and calories. We need to eat similarly as opposed to our diets today that consist largely of what tastes good to us. That will help our bodies last longer.
As we highlighted above, hunter-gatherers were on the move, if not constantly, most of the time. This necessitated a certain level of movement. Our bodies, once again, are pretty much the same and the often comparatively sedentary nature of modern life works against us. The human body expects and requires a certain level of exercise if it is going to be healthy. Exercise helps keep your muscles limber and bones strong through consistent use. Skipping on it leads to a deterioration that only hurts our health. Strangely enough, exercise also seems necessary for keeping our minds healthy as well. The promotion of better circulation through exercise is believed to help keep the brain healthier than it otherwise would be and better able to maintain connections. This helps maintain better memory and cognition. A healthy diet and exercise, every doctor’s advice, is some important to us living longer and healthier lives because that’s how our bodies expect to be treated and treating them in less than optimal ways means that our quantity and quality of life both suffer.
Calorie restrictive diets, often mistaken for fasting, are one potential way of boosting how long we will in exchange for likely being miserable for most of the handful of extra months or years we actually get from one. There’s nothing to really recommend such a lifestyle because of how negatively it can impact our mental well-being. It is better to focus on maximizing both quantity and quality of life by eating well and exercising regularly. You’ll not only be physically healthier, but you’ll be better able to withstand the various changes age brings and thereby live a little longer while staying happy.