The Longevity Diet:
Healing Foods and Herbs For Creating Lifelong Health into Your 100’s and Beyond
BY RONNIE LANDIS
the longevity diet includes sacred, highly medicinal and nutritious herbs and foods from around the globe. photo: istock
The Future of Nutrition
In order to get a glimpse of the future we often times must look into the past and identify common patterns. One of those trends that reveals itself throughout every major culture is the inclusion of highly revered, high nutritionally dense, longevity enhancing foods found in their inhabited environment. In our time we have catalogued all the major staples of these civilizations under the grouping of “superfoods”. These are unique among more common food selections for a multitude of reasons. One of which and potentially the most important is that they contain novel compounds that are rarely found in other foods. In some cases these properties are entirely unique to that single food and cannot be replicated in a laboratory. Due to the wide diversity and uniqueness of these foods they are considered therapeutic grade foods. This means they are recommended, as well as have been used historically, as healing agents and preventative nutrition as part of a larger longevity diet.
The way I educate people on super foods is that they represent natures preferred replacement for supplementation. It is a known fact of living in the twentieth century that strategic supplementation is necessary. It has been my observation over the years that synthetic chemically extracted isolated nutrients in most cases can throw the bodies metabolic rhythm off balance. This is why we now turn our attention to foods and whole food concentrates that contain all their active compounds, are not extracted using chemical solvents, have a historical lineage dating hundreds to thousands of years of usage as key components of longevity diets, and at the end of the day are 100% food.
The future of nutrition is found in the ocean.
— Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Fossil records show that cyanobacteria or “blue-green algae” have been on the earth dating as far back as the precambrian era. It is widely believed that the first organisms to exist on the earth, even in the Archean era, were single celled photosynthetic algae. There are over forty-thousand estimated varieties of micro-algae which constitute the basis of the entire food chain. The vast majority of the earths overall oxygen and food supply (80-90%) are reliant on various forms of these single-celled organisms. It is well theorized that the entire atmosphere of the earth was altered by the photosynthesis of micro-algae, transforming the atmosphere from an oxidizing(anaerobic) environment to an oxygen rich (aerobic) environment, thus sparking a richer degree of bio-diversity.
“Throughout every major culture is the inclusion of highly revered high nutritionally dense foods found in their inhabited environment.”
The highly famed undersea explorer of the 20th century Jacques Cousteau studied the mystery of the sea, and all its life forms. He believed that the search for human nutrition and a true longevity diet would find its way back to the ocean. This appears to be the next frontier of the human race, and at the very least provides the essential ingredients for balanced nutrition. The micro-algae and phytoplankton of the sea deliver extraordinary nutrition appropriate for all humans across the board, most specifically for developing children, all stages of pregnancy, chronic bone and muscular atrophy, the elderly, and every situation in between. Consider Jacques’s words as we move forward; “The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”
marine phytoplankton is widely agreed to be one of the premier longevity boosting foods known to man and as such is a key part of any longevity diet.
Marine Phytoplankton is considered to be the basis for all living organisms on the planet. In the vastness of the sea there are tiny microscopic single-celled algae called phytoplankton. They are filled largely with chlorophyll, giving them a strong green pigmentation and increasing oxygen in the muscles of those who consume it. Phytoplankton account for up to half of the photosynthetic activity on our planet. All animals and plants, in one way or another, depend on this bacteria/algae as it is a direct link to all of our food supply. The animals, such as bears, that catch fish are consuming phytoplankton since the fish the bear consumes feed on plankton. The tiny oceanic shrimp called krill are also consuming phytoplankton as well which is where they get their unique health properties. Whales who have the largest nervous system in the world consume large amounts of krill. As phytoplankton moves through the food chain it influences every form of life from start to finish.
Marine-based foods are essential for complete nutrition because an over reliance on land-based foods may lead to deficiencies in trace minerals and micronutrients that are abundant in seaweeds and algae. Phytoplankton is an incredible source of brain nourishment as it contains the long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for a proper longevity diet and most commonly sourced from fish. However, due to heavy metal contamination, radioactive pollution, and the over fishing in the oceans, fish sources are not frequently advised. As a vegan source of nutrition this is a great aid for brain, nerve, cellular energy production, and muscle fuel.
The beauty of marine phytoplankton is that it feeds our cells without the interferences of digestion. The process of digestion often times interferes with nutrient absorption, and therefore we do not always assimilate what is needed. In order to digest food our body must expend enough energy to do so. The harder it is to break a food down, the more energy must be used to disperse the proteins, sugars, oils, etc. to their destination. Initially, the body has to identify the food and then convert it into useable forms of energy. Phytoplankton does this immediately without conversion, meaning it does not waste biological energy and actually creates deposits in our energy savings account within our cells. These cellular energy currencies are referred to as nucleotides (ATP, ADP, GTP) which bypass the mitochondria (energy storehouse for our cells) so the energy packets are delivered right away to the cell, whereas most foods must pass through the mitochondria like a processing factory for the rest of the body to receive nourishment.
Marine Phytoplankton contains the most complete package of nutrition of any known food, which is why it is a key component of the longevity diet. It is a complete protein source, estimated to be about 60% protein by weight and 100% bioavailable. This characteristic is virtually unheard of in the nutrition world. Phytoplankton has every known mineral that the human body requires and perhaps every unknown mineral. This is not surprising considering its origins is deep within the ocean where the abundance of minerals reside. According to David Wolfe in his book Super Foods, Marine Phytoplankton contains massive amounts of B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3,B5, B6, and B12, along with vitamin A, C, and D. These are required for hormone synthesis, stress reduction, sperm cell production, nerve growth factors, eye health, tissue repair, and immune support.
Marine Phytoplankton is safe for all ages, especially children for the construction of bones, tissues, brain, nervous system, and skeletal mineralization. Those that are older can truly benefit from this longevity enhancing food by regaining what was lost by certain degenerative conditions by filling in the holes that may have gone empty for a lifetime.
“Best food for the future”
— The United Nations World Food Conference of 1974 speaking of Spirulina
spirulina has been used by ancient cultures as a core food and essential part of their longevity diet. photo: william ismael
The famed cyanobacterium algae of South America, spirulina is one of the premier foods of the future. Given the research, the historical usage, and nutritional bio-diversity, spirulina is one of the most recommended foods to incorporate into any longevity diet. The recent reemergence of this ocean algae was in 1964 when Belgian botanist Jean Leonard brought it to the modern world. Before that nobody in modern civilization really knew anything about it. Usage of spirulina as a food staple dates back further than the early 1500s when Hernando Cortez came to the Aztec nation. In Mexico City, Spirulina was the main protein source consumed for hundreds of years and, has become one of the staples in many vegetarian longevity diets today. Differing varieties of spirulina have been incorporated in the diets of indigenous Mexicans, Africans, Asians, and South Americans. Spirulina is said to have inhabited the earth as far back as time has allowed.
“In Mexico City, Spirulina was the main protein source consumed for hundreds of years and, has become one of the staples in many vegetarian diets today.”
Spirulina is 60% (51-71%) protein by dry matter weight. Though the US National Library of Medicine said that spirulina was no better than milk or meat as a protein source, and was approximately 30 times more expensive per gram they do not factor in that spirulina contains a complete bio-available amino acid profile whereas neither milk nor any meat product do, specifically when these products are cooked. Unlike cooked animal protein spirulina has been shown to produce no adverse side effects in humans or animals, regardless of dosage. In 2009 a study was conducted with 550 malnourished children feeding them up to 10 grams/day of spirulina powder with no toxic effects. Spirulina has been found to assist and prevent toxin-induced damage to the cardiovascular system, glandular system, reproductive system, and the nervous system.
Spirulina contains powerful antioxidant pigments that support all biological processes and make it a key component of any longevity diet. Pigmentation in spirulina is related to eye health and nervous system function. Some of the pigments in spirulina are beta-carotene (eye retina health), zeaxanthin (eye retina), chlorophyll (blood health), and xanthophyll (eye protection), among others. One of special interest is phycocyanin which literally translates into algae-blue. This deeply pigmented substance is a potent free radical scavenger protecting us from excessive oxidation. Researchers in Japan found that phycocyanin was liver and kidney protective during stages of detoxification. This blue pigment is regarded as the compound responsible for spirulina’s protective capabilities against kidney failure caused by pharmaceutical drug administrations. In the book Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford clearly states the benefit:
“Important to note in the area of prevention, spirulina is richly supplied with the blue pigment phycocyanin, a biliprotein which has been shown to inhibit cancer-colony formation. Predominant blue pigmentation in food is rare. The blue color tends to promote astringency, a drawing together. The chemical reality of spirulina’s blue color is demonstrated by its effect in the brain. Here phycocyanin helps draw together amino acids for neurotransmitter formation, which increases mental capacity.”
Research studies have indicated that spirulina has the ability to block the replication of HIV T-cells in humans. It has been shown to help malnourished children with or without HIV to increase weight gain and improve anemic conditions. A study done in 2007 showed that spirulina actually improved antioxidant potential of patients who were given it for 16 weeks. The blood plasma of these patients showed that the antioxidant levels had increased. There is no doubt that this will be one of the most important longevity food sources, along with other micro algae like chlorella, marine phytoplankton, and blue green algae, as we go into the future.
chlorella is revered in many cultures throughout the world as a key component of the longevity diet. photo: istock
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae that gets its name from it’s rich chlorophyl content, this is also where it gets its deep green pigmentation. It is the highest known food in the blood building nutrient chlorophyl, 3-5% per gram, some even suggest 10% per gram, whereas the best wheat grass juice may contain at most 0.2% per gram. There has been an extraordinary degree of scientific research conducted on chlorella dating as far as back as the early 1900s. In the late 1940s, chlorella was considered as a promising food source and solution to the ever increasing population growth which, at the time, was thought to create world hunger. This algae was thought to end the potential hunger crisis by providing a high-quality food source worldwide.
All the superfood algae’s boast an impressive nutrient resume, especially in terms of protein, fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals which is why they are recommended as part of any longevity diet. Chlorophyl by dry matter weight is roughly 45% protein making it a premier food source for pregnant mothers, developing children, and those involved in consistent exercise activities. A Japanese study followed 70 women who suffered from pregnancy induced hypertension and pregnancy anemia. The women were split in two groups, one group given a placebo, and the other given six grams of chlorella per day from their third month of pregnancy until child birth. Those who took chlorella had measurable improvements in both their anemia (measured via hemoglobin), and pregnancy induced hypertension symptoms. Chlorella contains significant amounts of iron which is essential for building blood for the prevention, and aid of anemic conditions.
During the process of photosynthesis chlorella develops one of its most unique characteristics which are termed “chlorella growth factors”. Chlorella is know to grow extremely fast, each cell quadruples itself every 20 hours, and CGF’s are responsible for its rapid rate of growth. These are considered anti-aging nutrients that help the body rejuvenate damaged cells from free radical exposure, improved recovery from sickness, increased immune system function, and the re-growth of damaged tissues. In cases of Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, dementia, or any other degenerative condition, specifically in the rapid decline of cognitive, and/or motor functions chlorella is highly regarded. CGF is known to repair, and build back insulating nerve tissue that protects the delicate nerve fibers in which allow us to think, feel, and move. These CGF’s are made up of a full body of valuable nutrients, most interesting are the nucleotides RNA/DNA. The absence of nucleotides in the diet over time can result in accelerated aging markers due to a slowing down of cellular repair. Chlorella is suggested to help increase advanced cellular repair and help the body build new genetic material, making it a premier longevity diet food. Research in Japan has concluded that chlorella is the highest natural source of RNA where it was previously thought to be sardines.
Chlorella is widely regarded for its advanced detoxification capabilities, especially in removing environmental toxins, plastic compounds, and heavy metals. Chlorella contains a fibrous indigestible shell that binds onto toxins that bio-accumulate in the body and escort them through the digestive tract for removal. It has been shown to be effective in removing toxic elements such as heavy metals(copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, etc.), xenoestrogens such as pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and various carcinogenic compounds such as DDT, PCBs, and alcohol metabolites which are the antithesis to a longevity enhancing diet. Liver function is central to optimal health, digestion, hormone secretions, and performance. Chlorella is shown to be liver protective, both as a preventative, and detoxification modality. Dr. Fukui of Shapporo Medical University demonstrated that consuming 4-5 grams of chlorella before drinking alcohol could prevent 96% of hangovers exhibited by alcohol toxicity to the liver. Consider this excerpt from Dr. David Steelblock in his book Chlorella Natural Medicinal Algae:
“Chlorella has been used to detoxify people suffering from PCB exposure (polychlorbiphenyl) . Doctor Ueda of the Kitakyushu City Institute for Environmental Pollution Research in Japan gave 30 patients who suffered from PCB exposure daily doses of 4-6 grams of chlorella for a one year period. Almost all improved as a result, becoming less tired, having better digestion and normal bowel movements. Beside PCB, chlordecone (kepone) , which is another very harmful chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide, has been shown to be removed more than twice as fast from the body when chlorella is taken by mouth.”
Chlorella is, by far, one of the top super foods in my own longevity diet and serves great importance in detoxification protocols I design for health clients.
“Chlorella is widely regarded for its advanced detoxification capabilities, especially in removing environmental toxins, plastic compounds, and heavy metals.”
“In just a few decades, intensive agriculture has stripped the earth of nutrients that may have taken thousands or millions of years to develop. The bottom line is that depleted soils produce depleted food crops; depleted foods build depleted bodies; depleted bodies build disease…Chlorella, unlike most food crops, is grown in liquid, not in soil. The proper ingredients for its efficient growth can be easily obtained, so it can be grown almost anywhere (climate permitting), and the percentage of its various nutrients can be changed by modifying the growth medium. Chlorella transforms inorganic chemicals into active, living bio-nutrients, sun-energized to provide vital food nutrients.”
— Chlorella, Jewel of the Far East, Dr. Bernard Jenson
“O Love, what hours were thine and mine, In lands of palm and southern pine; In lands of palm, of orange blossom, Of olive, aloe, and maize and vine.” — Alfred Tennyson
aloe vera has been used for millennia as a powerful healing and longevity boosting plant. photo: tom parnell
Aloe Vera is one of the great survival plants in the world. Said to originate to fruition in Africa, it now flourishes across the global landscape in temperate and tropical climates. This plant has been passed down through the centuries for its unique healing and longevity enhancing properties. The Egyptians are the first people in recorded history to utilize Aloe. It is rumored that the two Egyptian queens, Nefertiti and Cleopatra, used Aloe Vera frequently as part of their beautification routine. This plant was highly revered by the Egyptians as well as other cultures as part of a larger longevity diet and lifestyle. The Mohammedans viewed Aloe Vera as a religious icon, hanging it in the doorway believing that it would protect them from negative spirits. The people would create a mixture of aloe and myrrh for embalming upon the death of a Pharaoh. People were allowed to enter the funeral of the esteemed king so long as they brought at least one pound of aloe vera. The lure of this plant has only escaped a small portion of the planet. Aristotle is said to have persuaded Alexander the Great to conquer the land of Socotra (now Yemen) for their aloe vera plantations. In the times of the Crusades, the Knights of Templar concocted a drink made out of palm wine, hemp, and aloe pulp. They called this “the elixir of Jerusalem”, believing this would add considerable years to their lives. Arab traders had brought aloe to India and Persia by around 600 BC. The Arabs figured out how to separate the gel from the outer shell. They called this plant the “desert lily” for its inner and outer uses.
The history of aloe vera continues to span far across continents, making it’s way to Great Rome, China, Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and Britain. Every stretch of land that has had its hands on aloe began to revere it and incorporate it into their own healing systems. Christopher Columbus discovered aloe vera on his second voyage to America reporting, “Four vegetables are indispensable for the well being of man: wheat, the grape, olive, and aloe. The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirt, the third brings him harmony, and the fourth cures him.”
Aloe vera exhibits highly unique properties that make this a true longevity enhancing superfood in every way. The plant displays a husky green armor where inside of each one of these sturdy leaves lies a mucilaginous gel. The aloe leaves must be filleted off in order to consume this potent medicinal food. Aloe can be used topically and internally. It is suggested in this book to use it both ways. It is not widely recommended here to use many of the store-bought aloe vera concentrates or drinks as many are filled with preservatives and do not even remotely contain the medicinal qualities this plant is known for. The soft gel is highly concentrated with the long-chain sugars known as polysaccharides, providing satiation, long-term energy production, anti-inflammatory properties, and informing our immune system with highly advanced “biological-data” in which to perform better. The white blood cells that make up our immune system operate more efficiently on certain types of nutrients such as these bitter polysaccharide sugars. These rare sugars help modulate our immunity, which helps fight back all forms of infection such as fungal, viral, and nano-bacterial(calcification). Viral infections, in particular, are a major concern in the world at large. They are even smaller than bacterial organisms and require a viable host to survive. They invade our cells and, once in the body, begin to replicate virus cells in place of what was once a healthy cell. Aloe vera is a powerful ally in the removal of these virus-producing organisms by restoring the delicate balance of our inner terrain.
The glyconutrients (polysaccharides) in aloe vera help to boost the immune system by producing antioxidants that help identify and eliminate free-radicals in the body and increase longevity. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E are present in aloe along with increasing the production of the glutathione syntheses enzyme in the liver. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is important for the development of our white blood cells as well as preventing damage to other cellular capabilities that hinder as oxidation occurs. Every area in the body can be affected by the increased production of glutathione such as the liver, amino acid transport, enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and critical metabolic reactions that influence DNA repair.
Research studies done at the Medical Plant Information Centre, Mahidol University in Bangkok showed that aloe vera juice on its own could have significant effects on diabetic patients by lowering blood glucose and triglyceride levels. A study was conducted with two groups out of 72 patients with diabetes mellitus. One group took one tablespoon of aloe juice (not even the whole gel) twice a day and the other was administered a placebo. Their results showed that after two weeks, the fasting blood glucose levels of the patients who drank the aloe juice was generously reduced and continued to improve as the study progressed.
In the book, Sugars that Heal, Emil I. Mondoa, MD, Mindy Kitei attests to a case where Aloe Vera was used to help stabilize a cancer condition where traditional medical treatment was ineffective.
“In a 1998 study conducted in Milan, Italy, twenty-six patients with advanced solid tumors (including cancers of the breast, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and lung) who hadn’t responded to traditional therapy were treated daily with 20 milligrams of melatonin, which has been shown to induce some benefits in untreatable metastatic cancer patients. Another twenty-four patients received 20 milligrams of melatonin daily plus a tincture (alcohol-based liquid) of Aloe vera, 1 milliliter twice a day. A partial response was achieved in two of the twenty-four patients treated with melatonin plus aloe, whereas none of the patients treated with melatonin alone improved. In addition, the cancer stabilized in fourteen of the aloe patients, compared with only seven of the melatonin patients.”
“The Aloe Vera plant was highly revered by the Egyptians as well as other ancient cultures.”
This plant is best known for it’s topical uses along with it’s astounding digestion-enhancing properties. Aloe aids the body in calming the digestive system and can be helpful for many digestive disturbances such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. Our internal surface structure is lined up with epithelial cells that are responsible for connective tissue maintenance where aloe vera supports the replication of these cells, making it a key component of any longevity diet. When our inner environment is clean and functioning optimally then our outer environment begins to show it. The topical application can be remarkable for sunburns, scars, psoriasis, open wounds, and fire burns. I remember staying under the sun for too long during a festival. My skin showed signs of severe sunburn by the next day. I filleted a aloe leaf and stuck the gel on my forehead, smearing it all over my face for the day. Two days later my sunburn was gone. It is suggested to hold the gel on a specified location for hours to an entire day, depending on the severity of the wound, for best results.
“There is a sweet water inside a tender coconut. Who poured the water inside the coconut? Was it the work of any man? No. Only the Divine can do such a thing.” — Sri Sathya Sai Baba
coconuts have been revered and incorporated as a longevity enhancing food throughout asia for thousands of years. photo: xipe totec39
The coconut is a food that not only tastes amazing, can hydrate and replenish someone living in the hottest climates, but can also literally save someone’s life in critical care. Coconut is a fan favorite among raw food advocates and all other foodies alike. The oily meat is so nutritious that it is widely used as a cosmetic aid providing nourishment to the surface of the skin, and the fine connective tissue under it. The water of the coconut is a gift from the heavens itself, containing the most important electrolytes (electrically conductive free ions-”minerals”) which is balanced by proteins, fiber, and vitamins. One could survive in tropical climates where coconuts are native for extended periods time only consuming this food. I believe many cultures that coveted the coconut fasted on it for stretches of time, whether by choice or necessity as part of their own longevity diets and protocols.
In the Philippines, the coconut tree is often referred to as the “tree of life”. It is known as “The tree that supplies all that is known to live” in Sanskrit. In Sri Lanka history there is a poem called The Mahavamsa dating back to 589 AD which gives early mention of the first planting of coconuts. Interestingly enough, there is a Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka who’s mission and vision is to generate technologies to create knowledge and limit the challenges in the coconut industry in order to increase sustainability of this food source.
Coconut water is truly amazing in its health preserving and performance and longevity enhancing qualities. The trace minerals in coconut water are bound by free ions of electrolytes aiding our nervous system, thus making this an ionic mineral source. This means these minerals are much more conductive in our body than typical food choices and mineral supplements. The water is almost identical to that of human blood plasma, which is estimated to consist of 55% of our blood. The other 45% of our blood is hemoglobin which is almost identical to chlorophyll. In wartime, specifically the Vietnam War, they would use the coconut’s water as a blood plasma substitute, gathering coconuts up in preparation for a big battle. In developing countries there has been many cases where they have used coconut water as an intravenous hydration fluid to replenish blood loss.
The above information could be a great indication on why many cultures such as Polynesians, Hawaiians, and Filipinos have excellent health and skin even though they eat many fried and fatty foods in their diets. The blood is literally being purified and replenished, providing hydration to the cells which transfers over to all parts of the body. What an outstanding food!
Along with a great source of important saturated fat coconuts also contain Medium Chained Fatty Acids which are fatty acids inside Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), the consumption of which are a key component of any longevity diet. This form of medium chain fat requires much less metabolic effort to digest and does not prompt the pancreas to produce enzymes as saturated fats from animal foods do. MCT’s are easily absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and transported directly to the liver for energy manufacturing. One of the corner stone benefits of coconut oil products is for athletes and those who exert a lot of energy in their day. Fats, in general, expend a lot of energy in processing into a viable fuel source which may not be useful for athletes prior to an activity or workout. The MCT’s in coconut oil act as a fast track energy source that helps your body use ketones instead of sugar as fuel without the digestive discomfort of heavier fats. The MCT content in coconut oil is used by the body like carbohydrates but without the constant urge to eat every 10-20 minutes for glucose replenishment. Coconut oil is composed of around 60-66% MCTs, making it highly absorbable and easy to store in the body for usable and easily accessible energy reserves.
Dr. Ray Peat who has been a champion for the benefits of coconut products explains that farmers tried using cheap coconut oil to fatten their pigs in the 1940s. The farmers were looking to fatten up the animals to increase their weight for greater profits. Opposite of their intentions, the farmers ended up with lean, more active, and hungrier pigs. This resulted in the use of corn and soy to slow down the thyroid of the animals and cause them to gain excessive weight instead. Coconut products provide hormone pre-cursors, activating hormone production such as the thyroid stimulating hormone that controls how quickly the body uses energy, creates proteins, moderates metabolism, and assists in the regulation of all other hormones. The thyroid is considered the shield gland of the body existing in the neck, protecting us from physical dis-ease. If the shield is deactivated or suppressed we begin to experience health issues such as potential weight gain. In the case where someone may have hypothyroidism (extremely decreased activity), coconuts and coconut oil may be the best thing to jump start their metabolism.
“Life is the flower for which love is the honey”. — Victor Hugo
“For so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom”. — William Shakespeare
bee products are highly nutrient dense and healing—as such they are a staple in any type of longevity diet.
In nature all things are perfect; there is a sacred geometrical design that cannot be forced by human hands. All moving parts must work together with respect of the whole. This is the proper way for the inhabitants of nature and humans to live together. The importance of the bee kingdom is misunderstood on various levels. Bees are important for certain ecosystems as a major pollinator of flowers. Bees cross pollinate from the flower to other plants. The flower contains the sexual reproductive pollen of nature, and it is delivered to other plants by bees in order to help them fully develop. Pollination of food crops, such as blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, melons, and most other food crops, is good to know due to the misuse of pesticides and other environmental factors like nearby suburban developments put pressure on the health of this wild life. The organic bee keepers are doing a phenomenal service, and we should do whatever we can to support their efforts in keeping ethical bee farms up and running.
The use of bee products have spanned across the frontiers of recorded history as a core component of nearly all longevity diets. It may be possible that no other animal has had more of an intimate connection with the human species than bees. The magic of honey during ancient times seems to be shrouded in a bit of mystery and the attraction to it must have been instinctive to indigenous peoples as it surely has been for wild animals. Despite the opinions of many “experts”, we truly know very little of early man’s true eating habits. We do have good evidence that one of the staples of many cultures was the use of honey and pollen. Countless biblical references have been presented such as Proverbs 25:16: “Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as its sufficient for thee”. The book of Ezekiel shows true in Ezekiel 16:13: “Thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom”. The great cultures of the past knew these foods had inherent longevity enhancing qualities unlike anything else that positively effects clarity of mind, strength of the body, and conscious awareness.
“The longest living people in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, upwards of 125 years of age, regularly consumed honey they harvested fresh from the combs.”
The magic of this category of food produced from the sacred bee hive appears to be the source in which they come from. Bees are cultivators and travel from some of the most mana-filled areas of nature. What this means is they are absorbing the intrinsic factors of nature and these energies are giving us that direct connection when we consume these foods raw. Each one of these foods has its own properties that make them complete nutrition sources and excellent foods for a longevity diet. When combined, they become a power house of nutrition that could store in the body for future needs.
When Professor Nicolal Vasllievich Tsitsin from the U.S.S.R (Russia), a biologist and botanist, did a long term study on the longest living people in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, he was very intrigued with what reports have stated over 200 people living in the upwards of 125 years of age, some say even 150. What was most surprising to Professor Tsitsin was all of the natives were still working well into their older age. This was a clear sign of remarkable health. The common theme he was looking for between the people was that they all worked with bees and what they consumed regularly was the thick residual accumulation of honey they harvested fresh from the combs. Tsitsin was served a portion of what he would believe to be their longevity nectar, a sticky glob-like substance (honey) that had inside it noticeably large amounts of bee pollen. The product of the bee hive combined with the villagers’ healthy lifestyle and clean air was what is to be believed to be the main ingredients to their longevity diet and impressive vitality.
“The people of antiquity knew that both milk and honey are strongly connected with healthy human life force.” — Rudolph Steiner
honey never goes bad when stored properly, which speaks volumes about what it could do for your body as an integral part of your longevity diet…
The sweet nectar we call honey has had a long history as a revered longevity enhancing food in different civilizations such as Egypt, the Middle East, Ancient China, mighty Rome, mythical Greece, and traditional Central America. Honey has had different uses than just food. In Egypt they used it for embalming the dead. It was used as an ointment for burns and skin rashes as well as helping to alleviate throat issues like chronic bronchitis and asthmatic conditions. Topical honey has been used in the place of topical antibiotics for diabetic ulcers. Honey is a verified antibacterial substance because of the natural hydrogen peroxide properties present in most honey. Honey has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine through their traditional applications. A common practice in China, as well as India, is to ball up certain herbs and honey an effective herbal delivery system.
The nutritional complex of raw honey is very impressive, far more than any other sweetener. Honey is a far superior source of carbohydrates than heavier sources before and after workouts to influence muscle recuperation. The carbohydrates stored in the muscle (glycogen) help effective restoration. Most protein supplements contain a carbohydrate derived from corn called maltodextrin which is used to compliment protein intake. Studies have verified that using honey instead of maltodextrin has equal, if not better, effects for muscle repair.
Honey has a good response in moderation for those dealing with glycemic sensitivities due to the complex sugars it gradually releases into the blood stream, making it a sustainable source of energy. Honey is extremely enzymatic, making it much more digestible than more sugar concentrated foods, specifically processed carbohydrates, which, in most cases, glob up our cells and can shorten our life span. The big problem with carbohydrates in conventional food practices is that they are void of complimenting nutrients which honey has in excess. High quality raw honey is full of B Vitamins such as Thiamin(B1), Niacin(B3), Riboflavin(B2), and Pyridoxine(B6). It has an impressive list of minerals which may vary depending on the source of the pollination. For instance, Manuka honey is said to have the highest concentration of minerals of any honey. The darker the honey, the more dense the nutrition is in most cases, assuming it is raw, organic, and unfiltered, making it an ideal food for a longevity diet.
bee pollen has long been valued as a core superfood for longevity and overall health and wellbeing.
Bee pollen is one of the best sources of nutrition in nature, making it an excellent addition to a longevity diet. It can bridge the gap for almost anyone experiencing nutrient deficiencies. The protein content is said to be around 40% free-form amino acids which means the protein is highly available and can act almost immediately in the blood stream. Bee pollen exceeds all animal products as a complete protein. Serious athletes and body builders have used this food for decades. Muhammed Ali who is considered the greatest boxer of all time by many was known to start using bee pollen to supplement his training. This is possibly where he got the phrase “Float like a butter fly, sting like a bee”.
“Honey bee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in nature in a single food.” — Institute of Apiculture, Taranov Russia
Bee pollen is one of the most concentrated sources of polysaccharides (essential sugars), that reprogram our immune system. Bee pollen also contains a high amount of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), nucleic acids that aid in the formation of healthy cells and can stimulate the growth of new skin tissue. As a result of these unique nucleic acids, it can positively effect our genetic code and is a key component of a longevity diet. This food is so powerful that it is not to be abused; it must be respected like any of the foods we would deem “super foods”, and therefore you would only require a decent amount to make a difference. You can mix half a tablespoon or possible even less with some honey or just eat it straight.
When the time comes for the worker bees of a colony to breed a new queen they must select several small larvae to feed them generous amounts of royal jelly in order to initiate the transitional stages. Royal jelly is the secretion from a honey bee used as a high quality source of nutrition originally for the development of the queen. In asian cultures, royal jelly is celebrated as a longevity diet food, supporting fertility, immunity, and long life. Considering how this food in particular is reserved for the queen bee who lives exceedingly longer than regular worker bees, the queen also matures sexually whereas the worker bees do not. This presents an interesting idea, such as the doctrine of signatures, when looking at the potential of a food so unique and exclusive to the royalty of an entire species.
“In asian cultures, royal jelly is celebrated as a longevity food, supporting fertility, immunity, and long life.”
Royal jelly contains many of the same B-complex vitamins in honey and bee pollen along with sources of different amino acids, simple sugars (monosaccharides), and fatty acids. The main constituent of royal jelly that causes a female larvae to develop into a fully matured queen bee is the individual protein royalactin. This protein seems to cause a phenotypical change in the bee, giving it a larger size and ovary development. Bee products have always been linked to increased sexual health and royal jelly seems to be no different. Royal jelly has also been shown to improve brain health by stimulating the growth of glial cells (provide protection and support to brain neurons) and neural stem cells(self renewable cells). This can explain why the queen bee develops quicker than the other’s due to an increased production of glial cells that, both protect, and build out the queens nervous system.
If you decide to use royal jelly then do it sparingly since it is very potent. About the size of your pinky finger tip is enough to begin with. I have been known to throw a small spoonful into raw chocolate fudge or just it eat straight.
Propolis is the resinous material that is collected by bees from a mixture of botanical sources. This waxy substance is used to provide protection from outside invaders as well as to seal up any holes or cracks in the hive. Propolis has been studied extensively for its unique anti-bacterial compounds that have been used all through human history as food and treatments. Bees are depicted on Egyptian vases because it is a well known fact that they used this product of the hive effectively for sores and ulcers. The Egyptians were also known to use strips of propolis on the bodies of the deceased in order to prevent decay from microbes and other bacterial infections. In the book Health from the Hive, Carlson Wade points out the recognition of propolis by the Roman scholar Pliny (A.D.23-79) as a medicinal tool to soothe pain, reduce swelling and heal sores. Wade had this interesting observation, “So we see that the beehive is a miniature city teeming with life. The temperature inside the hive is kept at approximately 95 F. With 90% humidity—a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of molds, mildews, and bacteria. Yet the hive remains the most sterile environment found in nature. Reason: Propolis has antibacterial and fungicidal agents and contains many different antibiotic substances.”
The nutritional composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, like most natural foods. Propolis is said to be approximately 55% resins and balms and 30% wax. These are considered to be the bacteria fighting compounds in this exotic, longevity enhancing substance. It is full of amino acids, minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper along with most likely “undiscovered trace minerals” to note. Perhaps the most important aspect of propolis is its bioflavonoids, otherwise known in the medical community as “vitamin P”. These flavonoids are a type of plant pigment found in certain fruits and vegetables as well as flowers found in nature. Our immune system gets attacked on a daily basis. Flavonoids add a tremendous antioxidant surge to our body, thus empowering our immune system to full strength. Oxidative stress on our internal system is a major issue in any city environment, especially considering the food choices most people are making. Terms some people may be familiar with are polyphenols (cellular restoration, blocks cancer cells from forming), quercetin (Anti-inflammatory, helps vitamin C work better), and epicatachin (supports heart health, circulatory health-also found in cacao) which are different types of flavonoids that work to increase vigor and extend all forms of life and should be included on any longevity diet!
Cacao (Raw Chocolate)
cacao is one of the key foods in a longevity diet supplying a wide range of essential nutrients and phytochemicals. photo: everjean
Cacao is the seed of a fruit where all chocolate in the world comes from. There is literally no chocolate bar in creation that did not start, in some portion, from the cacao producing tree. A food shrouded in mystery for hundreds of years, it has recently come into prominence. This may be the most powerful super food in existence for the simple fact it has the most universal appeal. The world at large has already fallen in love with this food, they just did not know it. They have been involved in a love affair with chocolate not realizing it was the cacao they craved. Cacao is the most chemically complex food ever identified under scientific analysis making it the most unique, nutritionally compacted, and culinarily versatile.
Cacao is the most alchemical food because it can go from a nut to a chocolate bar—it transforms itself with the assistance of a chocolatier. There is a movement of raw, organic, vegan chocolate making sweeping the health food world. The alchemical purpose of this is to use chocolate as a delivery vehicle for herbal medicine. Herbs are a class of food and work best when delivered through a food source. This has been traditionally practiced in regions of central and south America for thousands of years. Introducing this form of medicine is the most profound and effective way to get other super foods and herbs into the body. This can be done via solid raw chocolates, raw fudges, or hot herbal elixirs (recipes provided in the back of the book), all excellent additions to any longevity diet.
Theobromine is the bitter alkaloid most abundant in cacao (chocolate) among 17 other identified plants including Yerba Mate (Illex paragueriensis), Ilex Guayusa, and Kola Nuts. It is a part of the methylxanthine class of alkaloids which include theophylline, mattiene, and caffeine as sibling molecules. Theobromine may in fact be the most potent and physiologically supportive alkaloid that is appropriate for consistent consumption. The worlds absolute favorite food is chocolate in all of its incarnations. It appears, based on strict scientific research and observational studies that dark chocolate (cacao) is the single most cardiovascular protective food across the board, making it an ideal addition to a longevity diet. A long term Dutch study was conducted with 470 men in their mid 60’s and in good health. Researchers followed the men for 15 years. The concluding findings were the men who consumed more chocolate products than those who consumed less or none had a documented 50% decrease in heart attack risk. Even when factors such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise were considered the protective aspects of chocolate consumptions proved stable. This has been attributed to the vast array of polyphenols in chocolate that speed up nitric oxide production in the blood. I surmise that this is a big factor but more important is the theobromine content.
Theobromine has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. It is a vasodilator meaning it dilates the blood capillaries increasing oxygen absorption and smooth blood flow. The stimulatory effects of theobromine are similar to caffeine except theobromine does not affect the central nervous system, it is entirely a cardiovascular stimulant. This helps explain why the longest living woman ever recorded, Jeanne Louise Calment, ate 2.2 lbs of dark chocolate every week until her final days at 122 years old. Clearly it is an important part of a longevity diet. From 1890-1930 theobromine was isolated and administered via intravenous injection to revive heart attack victims. Theobromine has also been identified as the most effective anti-asthmatic compound found in nature. The bronchial muscles that reside at the ends of the lower bronchus can become tight, inhibiting oxygen flow leading to asthma. Theobromine is a bronchial dilator known to alleviate the symptoms of asthma by loosening the bronchial muscle. I have seen this effect first hand working with actors and musicians in Los Angeles. One day they are caught with a cough, or strep throat from either smoking or performing extensively, I make them a special cacao tonic and the very next day their symptoms have dissipated.
One of the most commonly abused alkaloids is caffeine via inorganic high acid-forming coffee. I want to acknowledge my long held assumptions about coffee and be one of the first in the field of living foods to contend that not all coffee products are created equal. Commercial coffee beans are mass produced on chemical sprayed farms and facilities posing health risks for the farmers and the consumer at large. Due to the low level fermentation processes of commercially traded coffee the common beans that people brew are loaded with fungi-bacteria called mycotoxins. This is the main contributor behind the brain fog and energy roller coasted often associated with coffee consumptions. Caffeine gets lumped into a generalized group of substances by most serious health food luddites as stimulants. This is a oversimplification of caffeines role as a powerful brain and cardiovascular supporting alkaloid.
Putting aside the hype and looking strictly at the pharmacological data on caffeine some interesting insights have arisen for me. Caffeine in moderate amounts inhibits a neurotransmitter-blocker called adenosine which is designed to suppress central nervous system activity. A slight reduction in adenosine caused by consuming caffeine allows certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and serotonin to become more active. When caffeine is over consumed it can decrease GABA production leading to elevated cortisol and anxiety in some individuals, not always the case with those who can metabolize caffeine more efficiently. Animal studies have been conducted to prove that caffeine inhibits multiple sclerosis from forming. It appears based on the study results the blocking of adenosine prevents immune cells from inappropriately forming, ultimately leading to multiple sclerosis, an auto-immune nervous system deconstructing condition.
“The longest living woman ever recorded, Jeanne Louise Calment, ate 2.2 lbs of dark chocolate every week until her final days at 122 years old.”
Research has provided conclusive evidence that caffeinated beverages such as organic low toxin coffee is cardiovascular supportive and can significantly cut the risk of stroke by 36%. Caffeine increases circulatory function by breaking down endothelial scar tissue and promoting blood flow to the arteries of the brain. It appears that one of the primary methods caffeine improves cognitive function is by increasing oxygen transportation to the brain.
The discovery I found most interesting was that caffeine is what is known as a methyl donor. Methylation is a critical factor of metabolism, cognitive function, detoxification, and genetic expression. A methyl group is simply the transferring of a substance which contains 1 carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms (CH3) to another substance. Caffeine is a methyl donor; tri (3)-methyl-xanthine is the chemical name for caffeine. Theobromine is also a methyl donor; di (2)-methyl-xanthine. Methylation takes place by way of the liver detoxifying caffeine in order to strip off its methyl groups and redistribute them elsewhere as needed by the body. As methyl groups are stripped away hourly caffeines chemical structures changes thus making it more physiologically active. The given half life where the body eliminates 1/2 of the total caffeine varies on the individual based on liver metabolism. Some people can only consume caffeinated beverages in the morning and some have mild stimulatory effects later in the evening. Caffeine is metabolized by the liver, thus it is not recommended for those with weakened liver function to consume caffein until they heal their liver through raw food, juicing, and liver/gall bladder flushing. If one has a compromised liver the half life of caffeine can accumulate in the extremes of 96 hours whereas in a healthy individual it may only last 3-4 hours.
It is recommended to only purchase organic fair-trade mycotoxin free coffee and use it functionally as part of a larger longevity diet. Alkaloid rich substances are powerful and used irresponsible can become counter productive. It is recommended to cycle off of coffee products long term and replace them with less abrasively stimulating caffeinated herbs.
Illex paraguariensis most commonly known as Yerba Mate is a now famous herbal tea that originates in the Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay regions of South America. It is considered one of the most medicinal caffeinated plants in common usage world wide. It has been studied for it’s proven effects on increasing metabolic rate and being used as a weight loss herb. It is far more known for it’s effects on enhancing focus, concentration, and mental alertness without the common side effects of coffee. Yerba mate is a good source of xanthine chemicals including theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine and as such would be wise to include on a longevity diet. The amount of caffeine in a normal serving of yerba mate is substantially lower than in a cup of black coffee. The concentration of antioxidants such as quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and saponins greatly outweighs that of green tea. Yerba mate is heart protective, cognitively enhancing, and mood supportive.
Guayusa is an indigenous plant that grows native to the Ecudorian Amazon rainforest. The Guayusa tree is considered by many as the caffeinated Amazonian holly tree. The leaves of this plant contain the largest concentration of caffeine of any known plant in the world. Unlike high acid coffee though it has no association with high blood pressure, stomach problems, anxiety, moodiness, or heart disease. Like it’s chemical cousin Yerba Mate this herb hosts a wide spectrum of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, theobromine, polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins. Interestingly as the highest caffeine source in nature it also contains a good amount of L-theanine. This amino acid compound helps to produce dopamine which is responsible for reducing stress and balancing the nervous system. L-theanine is used as an isolated supplement to calm an over active mind and reduce anxiety. Guayusa is a powerful replacement to a daily coffee ritual.
This article on the longevity diet is excerpted with permission from The Inner Alchemy Youthening Program: A Guide to Everything Vitality, Energy, and Beauty by Ronnie Landis.
About The Author
Ronnie Landis is one of the leading educators of the new generation on raw living foods and super foods, tonic herbalism, blender alchemy, peak performance strategies, and functional nutrition. He is an author, professional speaker, and life style design specialist who conducts live presentations, workshops, conferences, private consultations, superfood chocolate parties, and retreats regularly. He is the author of The Life Food Peak Performance System and the The Inner Alchemy Youthening Program. His personal mission is to uplift others by spreading a health message based on self-sovereignty, inner-resourcefulness, and personal empowerment. Visit his website: ronnie-landis.com
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