Unlocking the Secrets of Healthy Aging: Exploring Autophagy and the Role of Nutrition

Unlocking the Secrets of Healthy Aging: Exploring Autophagy and the Role of Nutrition

Decoding Cellular Aging: The Impact of Caloric Restriction and Autophagy

We are not talking about the relationship of certain foods in the aging process, but about cellular aging itself due to eating more than necessary. Several studies have been reporting the physiological importance of processes such as cellular cleansing and autophagy.

The most recent, the latest study by specialists at Columbia University, published in Nature Aging according to which: “Caloric restriction (CR), defined as decreasing caloric intake without depriving essential nutrients, results in changes in molecular processes that have been associated with aging, including DNA methylation, and is established to increase healthy life expectancy in multiple species”.

It is not about stopping eating, far from it (malnutrition is very dangerous), but about the process of proper nutrition for healthy aging.

Harnessing the Power of Autophagy and Intermittent Fasting for Longevity and Well-being

What role do autophagy and intermittent fasting play in all this? Autophagy and intermittent fasting are related, because during fasting, the body will use its own energy reserves. The role of autophagy is to provide the body with the necessary nutrients during an emergency situation.

The Blue Zones are the five regions of the world where people are known to live long and healthy lives. These zones are Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica) and Ikaria (Greece), among others. These three areas have the highest number of centenarians. It is no coincidence that in these three cultures the predominant diet is based on vegetables, legumes and nuts (which in their right measure are very healthy).

For her part, Ana Bellón, a family doctor specializing in nutrition, proposed in an interview for the Saber Vivir program – in relation to this study – three menus with the necessary nutrients.

Foods typical of the Mediterranean diet
Foods typical of the Mediterranean diet

Nourishing Your Body with Low-Calorie Delights: Expert-Recommended Meal Ideas

For a low-calorie breakfast, the specialist recommends: whole-grain toast with hummus, egg (scrambled or boiled), fresh seasonal fruit and coffee with milk (without sugar).

For a low-calorie lunch, the specialist recommends: a first course based on salad with nuts; a second course with chicken breast and a dessert with fresh seasonal fruit.

For a low-calorie dinner, Bellón recommends: vegetable puree and fish (salmon or sea bass).

It is worth insisting on the fact that neither food nor practices such as intermittent fasting should be taken lightly, it should be done with knowledge and talk to a specialist.

Waziry, R., Ryan, CP, Corcoran, DL et al. Effect of long-term caloric restriction on DNA methylation measures of biological aging in healthy adults from the CALERIE trial. Natural Aging 3, 248-257 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43587-022-00357-y

Ashley Johnson
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