“The current system of food production is linked to both the increasing prevalence of chronic disease and the deterioration of the environment, and thereby calls for novel ways of producing nutritious foods in a sustainable manner.
In the “longevity village” of Bama, China, we have identified two plant foods, hemp seed and bitter vegetable (Sonchus oleraceus), that are commonly consumed by its residents and grow abundantly in unfarmed land without fertilizers or pesticides.
Here, we show that a diet composed of these two foods (the “HB diet”) provides a sufficient variety of nutrients and confers significant health benefits.
Aged mice allowed ad libitum access to the HB diet not only had longer life spans and improved cognitive function but were also protected against age-related metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation compared to aged mice fed a control Western diet.
Furthermore, longevity-related genes (including 5’adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, sirtuin 1, nuclear respiratory factor 1 and forkhead box O3) were significantly up-regulated, while aging-related genes (including mammalian target of rapamycin and nuclear factor kappa B) were down-regulated.
These results demonstrate that the HB diet is capable of promoting health and longevity, and present a sustainable source of healthy foods that can help control the prevalence of chronic diseases and reduce agricultural impact on the environment.”