How to Follow the Longevity Diet

The Longevity Diet is the culmination of research from Dr. Valter Longo, Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. Dr. Longo has studied the regions that hold the oldest yet healthiest individuals around the world. The diets, habits, and traditions of these communities are the foundation of The Longevity Diet. Despite the name, The Longevity “Diet” is a lifestyle that focuses on prioritizing fresh produce, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, and plant-protein sources. 

The Longevity Diet has many guidelines that ensure adequate nutrients to help improve health-span. These guidelines include: having ten servings of fruit and vegetables per day, getting 25 grams of fiber per day, and consuming less than 30% calories from fat per day. 

Make Half of Your Plate Fruits and Veggies: Consuming at least ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancer. Focus on making half of your plate fruit and non-starchy vegetables. Not ready to jump right into ten servings? Start small! Fill ¼ of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and work up to filling half of your plate! Explore a wide range of fruits and veggies to add variety to your diet. Adding a pop of color will give you a range of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, which can help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The Longevity Diet encourages you to consume 25 grams of fiber per day. Consuming at least ten servings of fruits and vegetables can ensure that you are meeting that goal. Fiber plays an important part in our digestive health. Load up your plate with fruits and vegetables and reap the benefits! Most vegetables are naturally low in calories, meaning you can fill up your plate while staying on track! 

Carbohydrate Control: Focus on making ¼ of your plate whole grains. They are high in dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins. The fiber in whole grains helps with glycemic control, especially in individuals with high blood glucose. 

For carbohydrate control, don’t forget to read the food label and look at the portion size to see the amount of carbohydrate you are getting per serving. Be sure to recognize how much you are eating and calculate your carbohydrates accordingly! A general rule of thumb is one slice of bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal can be considered one serving of carbohydrate. N4L meal kits have pre-portioned macronutrients to ensure your carbohydrate consumption complies with the guidelines set forth by the USDA, American Diabetes Association, and The Longevity Diet. 

Protein: When compared to the Standard American Diet (SAD) The Longevity Diet is seen as a lower-protein diet. It emphasizes predominantly plant-based foods, especially protein. Plant-based sources of protein include legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Considering a pescatarian option is an easy way to add high-quality fish and source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Aim to eat fish 2-3 times per week to get the benefits of omega-3s and Vitamin B12! Be sure to choose low-mercury-containing fish like salmon, cod, sardines, fish, and trout. 

Fats: Our body needs fats for energy, vitamin absorption, and to protect our heart and brain. When following The Longevity Diet, the amount of daily calories consumed from fat is less than 30 percent per day. Sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, and oils. The Longevity Diet encourages the use of olive oil due to its healthful benefits. Check out our Nutrition for Longevity blog on all of the amazing health benefits of incorporating olive oil into your diet, here!