No matter the age, we often hear about the importance of eating right, exercising and getting enough vitamins and minerals to be healthy. However, the vast amount of information on what types of exercises we should do, food we should eat or supplements our bodies need can be confusing.

Is there a correct path we should follow for a long and healthy life? An Italian longevity expert believes he has the answer, according to The New York Times.

What is longevity?

According to the Healthy Longevity Clinic, longevity means a long duration of a healthy life. This includes:

  • Extension of life.
  • Improvement of health during life.
  • Controlling and reversing the biological and chemical changes of aging.

Valter Longo, an Italian professor of gerontology and director of the U.S.C. Longeviy Institute in California and past rock guitarist, obsesses over longevity, per The New York Times.

Longo told The New York Times, “I want to live to 120, 130. It really makes you paranoid now because everybody’s like, ‘Yeah, of course you got at least to get to 100.’ You don’t realize how hard it is to get to 100.”

How hard is it to live to 100?

Researchers specializing in human longevity assert that the foundation for living past 100 years lies within an individual’s DNA, which encompasses the genetic inheritance passed down from their parents, per The Washington Post.

S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago told The Washington Post, “You can’t make it out that far without having already won the genetic lottery at birth.”

Besides genetics, The Washington Post says environment, lifestyle and location matter too. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you eat?
  • How often do you exercise?
  • Do you have a support system from other individuals?
  • Do you have access to quality health care?
  • Is there a lot of pollution near you?
  • Do you live in a war zone?

Longo, who is also currently working on identifying genes that regulate aging, advocates for a diet he terms “The Longevity Diet” in his new book. He believes that this diet, characterized by the Lite Italian diet and faux fasting, is the way to reach 100 years, per The New York Times.

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What is a Lite Italian diet?

Lite Italian is similar to the Mediterranean diet. However, Longo notes the diet should be pescatarian, or fish heavy, with legumes.

Per Cleveland Clinic, a traditional Mediterranean diet includes:

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains or extra virgin olive oil at every meal.
  • Eating three servings a week of fish, seafood, nuts and legumes.
  • Having one serving a day of poultry, low-fat dairy or eggs.
  • Limiting red meat and sweets to one serving a week.
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What is faux fasting?

According to The Celiac MD, faux fasting effectively fools the body into believing it is undergoing a fast while still permitting some food consumption. A fasting-mimicking diet seeks to harness the advantages of fasting while mitigating the associated difficulties, including hunger, fatigue and headaches.

What food should you eat while faux fasting? Longo developed a plant and nut-based diet supplemented with kale crackers and other supplements.

According to Longo, this dietary approach enables cells to rid themselves of harmful components and rejuvenate, all without the adverse effects of fasting and starvation, per The New York Times.

His recent study, published in Nature Communications, found that individuals who did periodic cycles of faux fasting reduced insulin resistance, pre-diabetes markers and immune system age — all indicating reduced biological age.

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Before trying a new diet, consult with your doctor about how it might affect you.