To lower blood pressure and cholesterol and live a healthy, long life research tells us we need to jettison dairy, wheat and processed foods and realign our eating habits with lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. As the food critique for the New Yorker reminds us; four and a half million years before the genesis of Facebook early hominids survived on seeds, nuts, plants and root vegetables. Despite the hardwiring of this DNA imprint for survival this is not easy to sustain. I pride myself on my eating patterns but for lunch today I had lactose-free cheese on 2 slices of gluten-free toast, not so ageing friendly and a salad which contained nuts, seeds, roots and tubers, more in tune with my neanderthal ancestors.
For those like me who find it difficult to totally revert to prehistoric eating two botanical extracts, Rhodiola rosea and Rosa damascena have been shown to extend mean lifespan by 25% and decrease mortality by 22%, respectively. The only glitch is that you need to morph into a fruit-fly to enjoy these benefits. This hasn’t yet been tried on humans. What’s even more interesting is that this longevity boosting effect is not additive. The singular benefit of each herb was in fact undermined in combination and also when added to the primitive diet the life-enhancing culinary advantage was also abrogated. The authors go on to add that this notion of too much of a good thing being bad for you is supported by a meta-analysis indicating that combining antioxidant mixtures with niacin or vitamin B3 is actually harmful and reduces lifespan. This is in humans, not fruit flies.
This probably tells us that there is a lot we don’t know about what makes us humans age healthily. Commercial interests might be trumping science when it comes to informing us about the best way to live healthier and longer. I’m probably not the only one taking a ton of supplements which I’m not about to discard. Perhaps I need to be spending more time hanging out with fruit flies. At least then scientists would be looking after my best interests.