The principle of nutrition that slows down aging and the development of dementia

The principle of nutrition that slows down aging and the development of dementia

Today, scientists in many countries are seriously concerned about two problems: human obesity and senile dementia. Even Japan, known as a country of slender longevity and healthy lifestyles, has begun to sound the alarm because of the steady growth of statistics on these indicators.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2025, almost 50% of the world’s population will be overweight and the number of people with dementia will exceed 100 million. And that’s a worrying statistic!

Against the backdrop of such prospects, the discovery of Japanese scientist Yoshinori Osumi, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2016, cannot be overestimated. Although the truth is that this Japanese biologist was not the first in his research. He simply continued the work of the talented Belgian scientist Christian de Duve, who in 1974 discovered the cells responsible for recycling so-called “waste substances” from the body. However, the Belgian was not able to connect his discovery (in particular, the discovered lysosomes) and the processes of rejuvenation of the body.

Yoshinori Osumi has accomplished this task. And he discovered an entire branch of science called “Autophagy”, which explained the mechanisms of cellular self-renewal and also gave people knowledge of the so-called “Eating window”, which allows them to fight effectively:

  • with obesity;
  • with senile dementia;
  • with diabetes;
  • with oncological pathologies;
  • and can also slow down human’s aging!

What is Autophagy?

In the course of his scientific experiments (first with yeast cells and later with mice), Yoshinori Osumi came to the conclusion that being on “starvation ration” a cell starts to digest itself. It do it very selectively, destroying only damaged structures, thereby not only replenishing nutrient deficiency but also rejuvenating. And the longer the cell is starving, the more active the process is.

That is, in essence, the cell began to rejuvenate itself. And this was a great discovery! And the scientist decided that the same processes [autophagy] can take place in the human organism as well. Of course, our DNA is much more complex than mouse DNA, but they also have a lot in common, as well as the ability to form new cells by recycling spent, damaged particles, bacteria, and viruses.

The principle of nutrition that slows down aging and the development of dementia

This is what the scientist noted in one of his many interviews:

“Our cells have the ability to independently extract the amino acids necessary for tissue regeneration. And they can extract them not only from healthy particles, but also from “junk” ones, including harmful bacteria and viruses. And this process is activated when we starve or replace animal proteins with plant proteins”.

What is the Eating window?

Another discovery by Yoshinori Osumi is the introduction into biology of the concept of an “Eating window”. This is the gap between the first and last meal, which opens one hour after breakfast and closes during dinner. So the scientist said that if we reduce this window from habitual 12-14 hours to 8 hours, it will have a beneficial effect not only on our figure, but also on our longevity!

This claim was also confirmed by another study by scientists from the Salk Institute in San Diego, USA. They confirmed that a narrower eating window improves mental and physical activity, improves sleep and normalizes blood pressure.

The studies were conducted on 4 groups of volunteers who ate the same amount and caloric content of food each day, but at different eating windows: 12, 8, 6 and 4 hours. The best results for all organs and systems were recorded in the group of those who adhered to the narrowest window.

In other words, starving a little makes us healthier!

But why does this happen? According to scientists, all processes in our body are directly dependent on circadian rhythms: the timing of cortisol and melatonin production. So cortisol is best produced in the morning hours (giving us good appetite and vigor), and melatonin is best produced in the evening (it is responsible for relaxation, slowing down processes in the body and activation of regeneration of its cells).

Schematically, their production in the body looks like the figure below:

The principle of nutrition that slows down aging and the development of dementia

Accordingly, the wider our eating window is open, the more our internal biological rhythms are disrupted. We suddenly start to feel sleepy when our brain should be actively working, or we suddenly cannot fall asleep at night (because we ate a cake or ice cream at night). Our body simply does not understand the signals we give it. And all this leads to increased fatigue and premature aging.

The ideal eating window according to Osumi looks like this:

  1. A dense breakfast at 8 a.m;
  2. A medium-calorie lunch at 12 noon;
  3. And an even less caloric dinner at 4 p.m.

That is! After 4 p.m. you should eat nothing at all!

That sounds tough! Personally, I think it’s unrealistic, it’s too extreme a diet for most people. The problem is not only the habit of people to eat late supper, but also the fact that cortisol has another peak release – at 7 pm. It precisely at this time we begin to experience a sudden feeling of hunger. And if you abruptly start starving yourself in the evenings, you can get completely unpredictable effects.

And that is why I am by no means urging you to switch to this dietary regimen. This article is written for introductory purposes, and you should definitely think through your diet together with specialists: doctors and nutritionists.

To conclude this article, I will share something else useful info with you (again, for introductory purposes). So, according to nutritionists, it is impossible to defeat hunger in the evenings immediately, but it can be weakened by replacing high-calorie meals with low-calorie ones (for example, switch from pasta and meat to vegetable salads). In this way, you will allow your body to get better used to the change. Over time, the feeling of hunger in the evenings will dull, and soon it will disappear altogether.

The principle of nutrition that slows down aging and the development of dementia

Then it’s time to start gradually narrowing your eating window.

If you want to try this dietary regimen, experts recommend starting small: narrow your window first by 1 hour, then by 2, then by 3.

Moreover, you can start narrowing it down without reducing the caloric content of your diet. All you have to do is stick to Yoshinori Osumi’s recommendations (that breakfast should be the most dense in your diet, and your dinner should be the lightest). Also, don’t forget to drink a lot of green tea and plain drinking water.

As a rule, our body gets used to the new diet within a few weeks. Afterwards you will notice that you’ll become more awake, you’ll think more clearly (due to faster regeneration of brain cells). In addition, you will lose a few pounds, your figure will become better, you will get sick less (because your immune system will become stronger).

Another nice bonus of narrowed eating windows: reduced risk of dementia and plus a few years of life! Because healthy cells are the basis of our health and longevity.

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