Can food help you live "forever"?
You’ve probably heard the cliches a thousand times over: “You are what you eat,” “your health is your wealth,” and “eat to live, don’t live to eat.” It’s no secret that you reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle. Added energy, improved mental well-being, and a better sense of self are all attributes most people aspire to have. So, what is the key to a balanced and well-maintained lifestyle, and what has it to do with cryonics?
Although diets and cryonics (aka human cryopreservation) seem like topics at polar ends of the spectrum, the two actually have some things in common. Throughout the years there have been countless discussions both online and offline surrounding diet fads, fasting, and overall healthy living. Oftentimes, advice and trends that crop up tend to contradict what came before, and it can be daunting trying to navigate the health and wellness world when you feel like you’re drowning in an information overload. The opposite could be said for cryonics—a niche area of technological expertise where information is harder to find and plenty of misconceptions exist. So, what’s the correlation?
For the most part, people that are interested in healthy living find solace in research, and technology that backs the possibility of an extended lifespan. Those committed to forming good habits today are probably hoping to see many long and healthy years ahead. But what if they could go beyond that? As the fastest-growing European-based cryonics provider, Tomorrow Bio also knows a thing or two about longevity. We are committed to working hard for our members so that they might benefit from advanced medical technologies and be revived in the future. To understand how a healthy diet can affect cryopreservation, let’s begin by discussing what longevity means.
Longevity simply refers to living a long life - a much-coveted concept desired by most of society. Psychology Today, the world’s largest mental health editorial, states that the majority of people consider dying as one of the worst things that could ever happen to them and the ones they love. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that people would try a variety of lifestyle changes in a bid to evade death for as long as possible.
Since the first fad diet book, The Art of Living Long, came out in 1558, people have sought out new and more experimental ways to maintain their health, whether that’s through technology or diet alone. The book was written by Italian man Luigi Cornaro, who himself was determined to lose weight. Cornaro detailed a fixed diet plan that allowed for approx. 340 gms of food and nearly 400 gms of wine each day. Cornaro was believed to live to almost 100 years old, and by the end of his life, he subjected himself to just eating egg yolks.
Following the success of Cornaro’s food bible, in 1614, Italian writer Giacomo Castelvetro published "The Fruits, Herbs, and Vegetables of Italy," which is still in print today. Castelvetro criticized the English for eating too much meat and sugar and promoted the Italian’s preference for fresh vegetables. His book would later become the blueprint for what we know today as the Mediterranean Diet.
As society has evolved, so has our attitude towards food and dieting culture, as we watch fads and trends come and go. From juice cleanses and liquid diets to pre- and post-workouts, food and exercise have become a culture within themselves.
While there are many factors, such as genes and environmental stresses that come into play with living a long life, there is no shortage of research to back up the correlation between the food you eat and living a healthy life. Foods don’t just affect how we function day to day, but also impact every single process inside our cells. Along with eating nutritious foods, other factors like sleep, exercise, and maintaining stress, band together to aid a person’s overall well-being. That said, there are no quick fixes to enjoying a long and healthy life, but implementing good habits and focusing on your health is a gateway to a longer lifespan in most cases.
However, regardless of how well a person looks after themselves, aging is inevitable and no technology exists to reverse it right now. Any diet or anti-aging company selling otherwise might be capitalizing on a person’s fear of death or death anxiety.
A key takeaway from research carried out over the years is that there is no diet or food alone that a person can eat to make their way to 100. This is because longevity is not just about food.
There are five regions in the world - known as the blue zones - that have been identified as having the highest concentration of centenarians in the world. These ‘longevity hotspots’ are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California, and Ikaria, and found fame in a 2012 New York Times Magazine article “The Island Where People Forget To Die”. So, what’s their secret? Scientists have shown that food alone didn’t grant these countries their blue zone title, but rather a combination of moving their bodies (exercising), having social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors, taking time to de-stress, being part of a community, and being committed to their families.
The key to longevity is a mixture of factors, but it’s natural for humans to mull over the dietary aspects as, for the most part, the food we eat is something that is in our control. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what exactly these centenarians are eating!
The Mediterranean Diet has long been considered the gold standard for nutrition, disease prevention, wellness, and longevity. The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and good amounts of omega-3s from fish and algae. Individuals on this diet minimize refined carbohydrates, trans fats, processed meats, and added sugar, and instead fuel their bodies with nutrient-dense foods. Foods such as poultry, eggs, and dairy are to be eaten in moderation, and red meats are also limited. The diet is generally adopted by people in countries like Italy and Greece and is thought to be a hybrid of the various blue zone dietary features.
When researching longevity food plans online you will often come across the above familiar dietary advice, just packaged up in different ways. The truth of the matter is that ‘longevity diets’ and the Mediterranean diet are often similar to many national evidence-based dietary guidelines.
Not nearly as popular as its sister Mediterranean diet, the Keto Diet still has a cult following. The high-fat, low-carb plan has surpassed the Atkins Diet and intermittent fasting in terms of popularity over the years and is touted as a catalyst for weight loss. Around since the 1920s, the diet was initially used as a medical treatment, as it forces your body to use a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on glucose that comes from carbs, the diet relies on ketone bodies - a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. Centered around burning fat, It’s no surprise the diet became a phenomenon in the weight-loss industry, however, there are challenges that come with it. In order for the liver to make ketone bodies, a person needs to eat between 20 - 50 grams of carbs per day (bearing in mind that a medium-sized banana consists of 27 grams!) It also takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis, and overeating protein could interfere with ketosis.
The possible reason for the diet’s popularity is because of its high-fat content. People who tried to lose weight by avoiding fats can now eat things like red meats, fatty fish, nuts, cheese, and butter, while still losing weight. However, just like any strict diet - it is difficult to sustain.
It’s clear that adopting better lifestyle choices can affect every aspect of your life - not just your physique. As mentioned earlier, along with the foods you eat - sleeping well, avoiding tobacco, and keeping stress low can all attribute to a longer lifespan. So, what has this to do with your cryopreservation procedure? Firstly, cryonics is the practice of preserving human bodies at cryogenic temperatures after their legal death. The aim is to treat the causes of death and restore the patient to good health when future technology allows it.
When making healthier lifestyle choices in an attempt to live longer, you are also in a position to see technology advancements occur before your eyes. Cryonics companies don’t have the technology available today that can revive you from your cryopreservation. Moreover, the techniques used for the procedure and long-term storage will most likely be improved in the years to come. Every day, we strive to unlock new research and implement protocols to provide high-quality cryopreservation and get a step closer to future revival. Therefore it makes sense that the longer a person is alive, the more that tech will be developed, and a better cryopreservation procedure for the individual.
After you have been pronounced legally dead, the SST team (standby, stabilization, and transportation) lowers your core temperature and perfuses your body with cryoprotective agents (CPAs), a type of medical-grade antifreeze. The CPAs help prevent the formation of ice within the body, as ice could lead to cell and tissue damage, therefore decreasing the quality of the cryopreservation. After your body has been perfused, you are transported to the long-term storage facility. There, your body is further cooled down until it reaches what’s known as a glass-like amorphous state, or vitrification. Once vitrified, you are stored inside a cryogenic storage dewar, where you will remain until revival is possible in the future.
The quality of the cryopreservation is dependent on how well the brain and the body can be perfused. Anything impeding this process, or that makes it more difficult for the CPAs to reach areas in the body, can reduce the quality of the procedure. Diseases of the arteries, like arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, or thrombotic conditions, can reduce (or sometimes block) the speed at which blood travels around the body, which would directly impede the cryonics process. Atherosclerosis is typically a cause of poor lifestyle choices. A person suffering from the disease could put themselves at risk of not having a high-quality cryopreservation procedure as opposed to if they had a healthy circulatory system.
In most cases, atherosclerosis is avoidable through healthy eating and lifestyle changes. In situations like death, where the how, where, and why, are not always in a person’s power, it’s important to control the controllable.
It’s clear by now that there is no magic pill that can help a person live until they’re 200. Right now, we view cryonics as the only thing that could extend a person’s lifespan, thanks to technology that has been developing over the last 60 years and that will keep developing for decades or even centuries in the future. Considering advancements in medical technology, we expect that causes of death that are incurable today will eventually be curable, including aging.
While a healthy lifestyle is always recommended, the number one influence of high-quality cryopreservation is a fast response. It’s important that you keep us in the loop about your health and make sure the people around you know how to notify us, too.
Looking to find out more about longevity and cryonics? Tomorrow Insight is filled with fun and fascinating articles to read through. If you’re keen to talk all things cryonics with us, then join us on Discord for more interesting chats! Or, if you think you know enough and would love to sign up as a member, you can do so on Tomorrow Bio.