Longevity Articles

How to Get Started With a Longevity Routine: Supplements, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Factors to Consider

How to Get Started With a Longevity Routine: Supplements, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Factors to Consider

Although growing older is out of our control, the way we age can be altered, positively or negatively, by the routines we lead. The things we do—or don’t do—every day become our habits, which become our lives. 

While not every day has to be a perfect representation of ideal health, people who consistently maintain healthy habits more often than not, like exercising, connecting with others, and consuming antioxidant-rich foods while avoiding nutrient-devoid ones, are more likely to lead long, healthy lives. If you’re just getting started on your health journey, these diet, lifestyle, and supplementation tips can help ensure you’re on the right track. 

How to Get Started With a Longevity Routine

Whether you’re 47 or 74, it’s never too late to start focusing on your health and desired longevity—but that doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire life in one day. (If that’s your MO, more power to you—but many people aren’t wired that way.) 

If you’re in the slow-and-steady camp, consider which of the following tips would be easy to implement or add to your daily routine, and work your way up from there. Even if you don’t remove anything from your diet, adding in foods from this list can “crowd out” some unhealthy foods, ultimately shifting your diet to a more longevity-supporting place. 

Nutrition to Support Longevity

Longevity-supporting diets tend to be rich in fiber, antioxidants, healthy fat, and protein, and low in sugar, added salt, preservatives, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats (like trans fat and excessive saturated fats). 

nutrition to support longevity

Many foods have been studied for their roles in supporting lifespan or healthspan, including:

  • Fatty fish: Consumption of omega-3-rich fatty fish, like sardines, salmon, and mackerel, is linked to improved health outcomes and longer telomeres—a cellular marker of aging. These oily fish contain omega-3s in the form of DHA and EPA and are thought to support longevity. One study of over 42,000 individuals found that people with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fats had a 15-18% reduced risk of dying from any cause over 16 years compared to those with the lowest levels.
  • Walnuts: While all nuts contain beneficial polyunsaturated fats, walnuts are especially helpful for health and longevity, as they contain the plant-based omega-3 fat, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which supports heart, vascular, brain, and gut health. Walnuts are also rich in polyphenolic antioxidants—like ellagic acid, catechin, epicatechin, and quercetin—which fight cellular oxidative stress, a leading contributor to aging. 
  • Leafy greens: Including arugula, spinach, kale, beet greens, microgreens, collard greens, swiss chard, and more, the leafy green family is loaded with beneficial antioxidants. Specifically, arugula contains the anti-inflammatory compound erucin and dietary nitrates, which are vasodilating compounds that convert into nitric oxide in the body and are beneficial for cardiovascular health.  
  • Berries: Many fruits in the berry family contain high levels of anthocyanins, especially blueberries. Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds that provide berries (and many other fruits and vegetables) with their deep blue, purple, or red pigments and function as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. In a study with roundworms, the highest doses of blueberry extract increased lifespan by 44%, and research with older adults found that blueberry extract improved memory and cardiovascular function.
  • Pomegranate: Pomegranate is rich in the antioxidant ellagic acid, which is metabolized in the body to urolithin A—a compound that boosts mitochondrial function. It primarily does this by increasing mitophagy, the cellular recycling of damaged mitochondria to make room for healthy ones. This quality control mechanism is essential for longevity and protecting against age-related degeneration. 
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain a heart-healthy fiber called beta-glucan and antioxidants like selenium and ergothioneine—a polyphenol associated with neural protection whose levels decline in the body with age. In a study of older Chinese adults, those who consumed mushrooms at least once per week had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to those who rarely ate them. 
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain the compound sulforaphane, which acts as a potent antioxidant, helps with detoxification, supports blood glucose control, delays cellular senescence, and reduces oxidative stress. 
  • Fermented foods: Fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and kimchi are known to benefit digestive health—but they also support cognitive, metabolic, and cardiovascular health and possibly even extend lifespan. In a study of Japanese adults, drinking a fermented milk drink (similar to kefir) for eight weeks significantly improved both attention and memory scores. 
  • Ginger: Of the hundreds of beneficial compounds in ginger, researchers have found gingerenone A and 6-shoagal to be the most potent for anti-aging, as they act as senotherapeutics—compounds that kill off senescent cells selectively. Gingerenone A also reduces levels of many pro-inflammatory cytokines and other detrimental molecules.
  • Garlic: Garlic is rich in potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial organosulfur compounds—especially allicin, an antioxidant that has been studied for its role in preserving cognitive and immune function with age. In a study of over 27,000 older adults in China, people who consumed garlic five times per week or more had an 11% reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to those who rarely ate garlic. 
Garlic is rich in potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial organosulfur compounds

    Lifestyle Factors to Support Longevity

    Healthy living is not only about what we eat—it also is heavily impacted by the things we do each day. Some of the lifestyle and environmental factors that can help you lead a longer and healthier life include: 

    • Exercise. Regular exercise—both aerobic and strength or resistance training—can slow down aging on the cellular level. It also promotes better organ function, contributing to longer healthspans. Exercise improves several hallmarks of aging, including genomic stability, telomere length, and mitochondrial function. Research shows that adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres that are nine years younger than those who are sedentary.
      • Maintaining a healthy weight for your body. Higher BMI is linked to increased biological age, as being obese accelerates age-related epigenetic changes, inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage. Although BMI is not the best predictor of health, having excess body weight is associated with most, if not all, chronic conditions, leading to reduced healthspans. 
      • Not smoking. Although we certainly see fewer people smoking today than in the 90s and 2000s, 12.5% of U.S. adults were still current smokers in 2020. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death, as it increases genomic instability, DNA damage, epigenetic alterations, telomere attrition, and many more hallmarks of aging.
      • Healthy mood. Chronic depressive symptoms are linked to increased epigenetic aging, which can reduce healthspan and lifespan. Talk to your healthcare provider about therapies, medication or lifestyle changes to help with mood. 
      • Minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption. Alcohol accelerates biological aging, especially when consumed chronically and in excess. Research shows that drinking 29 units of alcohol per week (about ten glasses of wine) accelerated telomere shortening at a rate equivalent to up to three years of aging. Moderate alcohol consumption is one drink per day for women and two for men—but in this case, less is definitely better.  
      • Train your brain. In addition to cardiovascular and strength exercises, training your brain can increase neuroplasticity—the ability to adapt and strengthen neural connections. Brain training activities include puzzles, word games, chess, learning a new language or skill, and even some video games. 
      • Healthy sleep schedule. Sleep is essential for autophagy, clearing out toxic brain waste and other cellular “housekeeping,” processing information, forming new neural pathways, strengthening immune function, and much more. Research shows that adults who get enough sleep (ideally seven to nine hours a night) have longer telomeres. 
      • Foster a community. Being lonely can accelerate aging by 1.65 years, and fostering a strong sense of community through family, friends, neighbors, or social groups can significantly boost both mood and health. 
      Foster a community. Being lonely can accelerate aging by 1.65 years, and fostering a strong sense of community through family, friends, neighbors, or social groups can significantly boost both mood and health.

        Supplements to Support Longevity

        Lastly, many supplements can help to support longevity or various aspects of health. While there are dozens of choices, here are a handful of longevity-supporting compounds to consider: 

        • NAD+ boosters. NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a compound known as a coenzyme, meaning it helps other enzymes function correctly. This vital molecule is needed by virtually every cell in our bodies, aiding hundreds of processes ranging from brain cell growth to repairing DNA to assisting mitochondrial function. NAD+ plays a critical role in maintaining cellular and metabolic functions, translating to better health and longevity of our cells, organs, and bodies. Although NAD+ levels are known to decline as we age, you can support your NAD+ levels by adding NAD+ precursors like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) or NR (nicotinamide riboside).  
        • Trans-resveratrol. This polyphenolic compound found in red grapes and wine exhibits strong antioxidant action and supports a healthy inflammatory response, which is linked to cardiovascular and cognitive health. 
        • Curcumin: The active compound found in the spice turmeric, curcumin is a potent antioxidant studied for its role in supporting cognition, joint health, and a healthy immune and inflammatory response. 
        • Fisetin. Fisetin is a senolytic found in vegetables and fruits such as strawberries, apples, persimmons, cucumbers, and onions. Fisetin is thought to support immune, neuronal, and metabolic health—and has been shown to extend mouse lifespan. In addition, fisetin is a potent compound in reducing markers of aging in mouse and human cells. 

        However, there are hundreds of longevity-supporting compounds, and knowing which supplements are right for you can be challenging. If you’re unsure which supplements to choose, you can text with ProHealth’s free Longevity Health Pro program

        This feature connects you with one of our credentialed nutrition experts, who have years of experience working one-on-one with clients. Through the program, you can easily text to ask questions and receive personalized recommendations to complement your unique health and lifestyle goals. 

        The Bottom Line 

        Dozens of diet and lifestyle factors play a role in how healthy we are. Even if you haven’t been focusing on longevity until now, it’s never too late to start living healthier—and these tips can help get you on the right track to living a long and healthy life.

        Reviewed by: Heather L. Makar


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