Activate your longevity genes through hormesis


  1. Do intermittent fasting.
    Intermittent fasting stresses the body with hunger, activating the survival circuit. You can do this by skipping breakfast or dinner daily and deciding on an eating window—the times between which you can eat each day. Outside of those times, you will refrain from eating. A popular method is the 16:8 diet, where you would skip breakfast, have an 8-hour eating window, and fast for 16 hours until lunch the following day (e.g., the first meal will be at noon, and then you’ll stop eating at 8 pm).

  2. Eat more plants.
    Eating less meat in favor of plant proteins may seem counterintuitive because meats contain all nine of the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of every protein in our bodies. Having sufficient amino acids tells the body that “times are good” and disengages the survival circuit. Substituting for more plants will activate the longevity genes, reducing our risk of all-cause mortality.

  3. Break a sweat.
    While walking daily can certainly extend your life, higher-intensity exercise will max out the survival circuit. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves bursts of exercise at 70-85% effort, intermixed with short periods of rest. Give your longevity genes a boost by adding some HIIT workouts to your exercise routine.

  4. Get cold.
    If you want to trick your body into going into survival mode, expose it to cold! The body responds by creating more brown fat tissue, which is rich in mitochondria (the energy-producing powerhouses in your cells). Gain these longevity benefits by keeping indoor temperatures on the colder side, taking a walk on a cold winter day, taking cold showers and ice baths, or trying cryotherapy (just don’t give yourself hypothermia!).

  5. Hit the sauna.
    Take a lesson from Finland, and make sauna bathing a regular part of your life! Studies have shown that frequent sauna use up to seven times per week brings a twofold drop in all-cause mortality events over those who hit the sauna just once per week.

  6. Protect your DNA.
    No matter what habits we add into our lives, they won’t do much good if we continually expose ourselves to excessive sources of DNA damage. That means we need to defend our bodies from extra damage from things like cigarettes, air pollution, PCBs in plastics, damaging chemicals, and radiation from UV light, X-rays, gamma rays, and radon.


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