Essential nutrients you need to live a longer, healthier life


We all want to live as long and healthy as possible, but our diets are not providing enough of the right nutrients that slow down the aging process. Indeed, the unhealthy foods we eat are making us age faster. So an American study helpfully identified 41 different “longevity vitamins” that can promote healthy aging.

These nutrients are made up of 14 vitamins and 16 essential minerals. All of them are known to nutritional researchers.

The former group are comprised of vitamins A, C, D, E, K, four B vitamins, and five other vitamins. The mineral group is made up of calcium, chloride, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur, and zinc.

The last 11 nutrients are healthy compounds that do not count as either vitamins or minerals. However, the nine amino acids and the pair of omega-3 fatty acids play big roles in important bodily functions.

University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researcher Bruce Ames came up with the term “longevity vitamins” to describe these vital nutrients. He believes they are vital to both long life and good healthy. (Related: Taking vitamin C and quercetin together can suppress inflammation and decrease cellular damage.)

The body prioritizes short-term survival over long-term health

Many years ago, Ames proposed the “triage theory,” an idea where the body normally has a limited amount of nutrients available. The theory suggests that the body prioritizes processes that ensure the survival of the organism for the time being.

These biochemical processes include fight-or-flight reaction and reproduction. They ensure the organism survives long enough to reproduce and spread its genes to a new generation.

Conversely, the body skimps on supplying processes that are involved in maintaining its health over long periods of time. For example, DNA contains the blueprints for the body’s many parts and functions. But the healing process for this genetic data doesn’t get the levels of energy and raw materials it needs to work properly.

If DNA repair and similar processes for maintaining the organism’s long-term health are deprived of nutrients for long periods of time, the body’s ability to recover from illnesses and injuries will diminish. This makes the organism much more vulnerable to chronic diseases that could lead to its early demise.

Longevity vitamins are vital to supporting these long-term survival processes. Ames therefore recommends increasing the intake of these nutrients as much as possible, if you want to live long enough to see your grandchildren instead of just your children.

Natural foods are often better sources of “longevity vitamins” than supplement pills

Furthermore, Ames endorses obtaining longevity vitamins from food rather than taking vitamin supplements. He suggests eating various foods that contain plenty of these important vitamins, essential minerals, and nutrients.

Most of these recommended foodstuffs are derived from plants. Fruits, legumes, sea veggies, vegetables, and whole grains are considered to be naturally therapeutic when consumed as food.

Plant-based nutrients have not been greatly altered from their original state, especially when compared to their animal-based counterparts such as meat and milk. That makes plants much better sources of unadulterated nutrition.

Fish is one of the few exceptions to the restrictions on animal-based foods. Salmon, tuna, and certain other food fish contain plenty of the amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for long-term survival processes.

These aforementioned foods are staples of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Understandably, these two eating patterns have demonstrated many health benefits.

As for vitamin supplements, the exceptions are vitamin D and magnesium. Most Americans are badly deficient in these two nutrients. Diet alone will not be enough to replenish them ASAP, so supplementation could be of assistance.

Sources include:

HealthLine.com

PNAS.org



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