Everyone loves to treat themselves. A chocolate sundae, a cookie with lunch, or a calorie-laden coffee drink, rewarding yourself with food has become a tradition in America.
But if you’re hoping to live a long and healthy life, deprivation, not indulgence, may be the key to success. Researchers at the University of Southern California have found that adopting a diet that mimics fasting may improve brain function, cut fat and extend the life of seniors.
Don’t throw out the contents of your refrigerator just yet. Fasting can be dangerous, especially for older people who may have chronic health conditions. Researchers say fasting isn’t the only way to achieve these results, and that a calorie-restricted diet that mimics a fast can be as effective. To mimic fasting conditions, subjects were given a diet plan that featured about 34% of their normal caloric intake.
The team found that if mice ate a fast-like restricted calorie diet for four days bimonthly, the rodents showed remarkable health benefits. The practice extended the lifespan of the mice, reduced inflammatory diseases, boosted the immune system, decreased cancer occurrences, and fortified bone density.
“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,” explains head researcher Valter Longo. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”
Should you try out this fasting-based diet? We recommend checking with your doctor before making a drastic change in your caloric intake, especially if you’re on any medications. However, it is an interesting concept. Simply lowering the calories you consume is a good start. At Capital City Nurses, we promote well rounded nutrition as part of a successful aging plan. Our nurse can help you plan nutritious meals, and our home care workers can even prepare them. Our new Refined Residential Living assisted living, The Cottage at Curry Manor, features home cooked cuisine that is both delicious and nutritious.