Nutrition is one of the most important factors affecting life expectancy.
Functional nutrition means getting with food the necessary amount of minerals, amino acids, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and fats for a full life.
There are 3 components of functional nutrition that allow you to influence health and longevity. It:
- The number of calories consumed
- Power structure
- Separate food items
The number of calories coming from food should not differ significantly in one direction or another from their consumption by our body.
An indicator that determines the need to limit or increase calorie intake is the body mass index. To find out your body mass index, you need to divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in meters) squared. For example, if your weight is 80 kg and your height is 1,8 meters, then your body mass index will be 24,7.
Body Mass Index = Weight / Height ²
BMI = 80 / (1,8 * 1,8) = 80 / 3,24 = 24,7
A body mass index of 18,5 to 25 is considered normal.
A body mass index below 18,5 indicates underweight.
A body mass index of 25 to 30 indicates overweight. Anything above 30 is already obesity of varying degrees.
With a body mass index of more than 30, you need to seriously think about constantly limiting the average daily amount of calories consumed to 80% of the calculated norm (which is about 2500 kcal, but must be determined individually), while observing the recommended nutrition structure.
With a body mass index below 18,5, on the contrary, weight gain is required.
What combination of products in the daily diet can be considered optimal for functional nutrition?
It is widely believed that vegetarianism is the "healthiest" type of diet. Modern scientific research suggests that there is no conclusive evidence for such conclusions.
On the contrary, there is evidence that vegetarians, due to their diet, are deprived of certain vitamins and substances necessary for the body, as a result of which they suffer from various diseases. The most dangerous are mental disorders.
Vegetarians form a heterogeneous group of semi-vegetarians (plant-based, dairy, eggs, and fish), ovolacto-vegetarians (plant-based, dairy, eggs), and vegans (plant-based).
According to vegetarian ideologues, people who eat a vegetarian diet have better health and live longer than non-vegetarians because people who consume milk, dairy products, meat, eggs, and fish are at health risk.
In fact, the healthiest people in Europe are the people of Iceland, Switzerland and Scandinavia, who consume a lot of food of animal origin.
A meta-analysis of several prospective studies found no significant differences in mortality due to colorectal cancer, stomach, lung, prostate or breast cancer and stroke between vegetarians and "ignorant" healthy people.
Vegetarians experienced a decrease in coronary heart disease mortality, likely due to lower serum total cholesterol levels, lower prevalence of obesity, and higher intake of antioxidants.
It is quite clear that sufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables, and not the exclusion of meat, creates health benefits.
Vegetarianism is not a functional diet at all, but a form of dietary restriction. In today's overfed society, dietary restriction is a plus, but only if it does not lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Eating a small amount of meat could increase the life expectancy of vegetarians.
The so-called “separate nutrition”, in which protein foods are consumed separately from carbohydrate foods, is very popular and is considered correct.
However, this point of view also has no scientific justification. If such nutrition were rational, evolution would certainly have created two digestive tracts – one for protein foods, and the other for carbohydrate foods.
We talked in detail about the dangers of separate nutrition in the article "Separate nutrition: misconceptions and facts".
Any diet is not a complete, balanced and functional diet. For normal life, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and trace elements are required in certain proportions.
Among the known diets, the so-called "Mediterranean diet" is as close as possible to the optimal one. Read more about it here ☛.
Today it can be argued that the diet of a person who wants to live the longest and healthiest life should include vegetables, fish, meat, dairy products, fatty foods, cereals and much more.
Variety is the most important thing in nutrition! The more varied your table, the more complete and functional your food.
Perhaps the longevity of the Japanese is due to their diet. So, the traditional Japanese table consists of a variety of small varied dishes, both vegetable and fruit, as well as carbohydrate and meat, fish and seafood dishes. In other words, the traditional Japanese table is a huge food variety that provides functional nutrition.
General recommendations for functional nutrition
It would be wrong to recommend any strict norms for the consumption of products – there are not sufficient grounds for this.
You can eat everything, taking into account the total calorie content.
The main principle of functional nutrition is the following. The basis of the diet for 2/3 should be plant foods, to which animal products are added in a small amount: fish and seafood, some meat (100-150 grams 2-3 times a week, white meat is best), eggs, vegetables and animals fats (olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and preferably ghee, lard), cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream.
If you are a vegetarian, you should include at least oily fish, butter, and eggs in your diet.
The most harmful cooking methods are high-temperature ones (frying, baking, grilling), in which a crust forms on the surface, in which carcinogens and glycated proteins are present.
The most useful ways of cooking are boiling, stewing, microwave processing.