How does food influence longevity?

June 4, 2024
minute read

What you eat and how much you eat can have a profound impact on your health, weight and in turn longevity.

Why we need to be sceptical about food claims?

There are thousands of studies that have been conducted that look at individual items of food and diets to see which reduced illnesses and mortality. But it is very hard to isolate certain foods as being better than others, because of the vast amount of lifestyle factors that could impact. We are also poor at recording what and how much we eat so many of these studies are done on animals and may not replicate in humans. 

Most studies focus on places in the world that follow trends and certain food groups do seem to lower the risk of serious illness and therefore in turn increase longevity.

Why do we think diet impacts our health and ultimately our longevity?

Nearly all aspects of people’s lives have been studied to determine what will lengthen their longevity and our diet is one of the top factors that come up time after time. Below are some of the theories that have seen the food and longevity correlations. 

“A sustained dietary change may give substantial health gains for people of all ages both for optimised and feasible changes. Gains are predicted to be larger the earlier the dietary changes are initiated in life”

Reference: Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modelling study 


Weight and diet are often lumped together, as the assumption is that if you have an unhealthy diet you will be overweight. You can be healthy but have an unhealthy diet and vice versa. However high fat diets to correlate to obesity which then correlates to earlier deaths.

The more we eat and the more we eat of highly calorific foods the more likely we are to put on weight, but even this assumption is not the whole story. Some foods like fibre and protein use more calories when we digest them then say sugary foods, thereby the calorie amount on the packet is misleading. Hence why the overall make of a diet is as important as calories.

Blue zones 

These are areas which have a high proportion of centenarians (people of 100), although they are distributed around the world they have very similar diets and therefore there is the assumption this is at least part of the key to longevity.


This sounds very complicated but in simplistic terms it has been shown that your genes can change how they work depending on behaviours and environment of which your diet has a significant impact. There have been studies done which have shown how you can change your biological age as much as 10 years with a very strict plant based diet.

Mental health

Many studies have found that a high quality diet with fruit and vegetables and can result in less incidences of depression.

Gut Biome

Your gut biome or microbiome is the area in your intestines, it contains trillions of bacteria.  These bacteria can not only send messages to the brain which can influence mood,  sleep and potentially brain disorders they also impact your immune system, heart health, weight and digestion.  Therefore if you can improve your gut biome you will inevitably increase your chances of healthier, longer life. 

"Good gut health is linked to the health of pretty much every other organ”,

Reference: Dr Megan Rossi

To obtain good gut health the advice correlates with other research that has been done on longevity research  and therefore by looking at the diets below you should also be able to improve your gut health. 


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