The connection between diet and health has been well established — but can eating your broccoli really help you live longer? We’ll discuss the latest research on nutrition and longevity with researchers from Marin’s Buck Institute on Research in Aging. We also check in with Rebecca Katz, author of the new cookbook “The Longevity Kitchen.”

Recipes from 'The Longevity Kitchen'


Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts

Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup hazelnuts

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peeled (see note)

2 tablespoons plus 

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups loosely packed arugula

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you'd like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.

Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.

Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.

Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.

Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.

Halibut With Lime and Papaya and Avocado Salsa

Makes 4 servings

3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets

Papaya and Avocado Salsa (recipe below)

Combine the lime juice, lime zest, salt, cumin, cayenne, olive oil, and cilantro in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Spread 3 tablespoons of the marinade evenly over both sides of the fillets. Reserve the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil an ovenproof pan large enough to accommodate all of the fillets in a single layer.

Pat the fillets dry with paper towels and put them in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily.To be certain the fish is cooked through, push a two-pronged kitchen fork straight down into the flesh; the fish is done when it is no longer translucent.

Drizzle the reserved marinade over the fillets and top each with a generous dollop of the salsa. Serve immediately.

Papaya and Avocado Salsa

Makes 2 cups

1 cup diced papaya

1 cup diced avocado

3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt?Pinch of cayenne

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to combine. For optimal flavor, cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Variations: Substitute mango, pineapple, or tomato for the papaya. Substitute pomegranate seeds for the red bell pepper.

Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

1/3 cup almond flour, homemade (page 226) or store-bought

1/3 cup brown rice flour

2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

8 ounces dark chocolate (68 to 72% cacao content), chopped

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 organic eggs

1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup

1/3 cup maple sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

(optional), toasted (see note, page 83)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan (see note) with two pieces of foil long enough to overlap on all four sides. Lightly oil the foil.

Put the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.

Put half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stir- ring often, just until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the olive oil.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Slowly add the maple syrup and maple sugar, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract, then gradually add the chocolate, whisking vigorously all the while, and continue whisking until smooth and glossy.

Add the flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining chocolate and the walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover and refrigerate for at least?1 hour before cutting into 16 brownies.

Variation: For brownies that are more fudgy, replace the rice flour with another 1/3 cup of almond

Cook's Note: You can also use a 9 by 6-inch baking pan. If you do, the baking time will be only about 25 minutes.


(Photo Credit: Leo Gong)

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.


Pankaj Kapahi, associate professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Dale Bredesen, founding president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, member of the National Advisory Council on Aging and adjunct professor in the Department of Neurology at UCSF
Rebecca Katz, chef and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal in Bolinas, and author of the new book "The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods"

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    While many NPR/Forum listeners may be better off I would love for your guests to discuss servings sizes, as well as how to eat well on less money in this economy.
    Not everyone can afford Whole Foods. Some have no access to Farmers Markets. And if living in an apartment no room for even a small garden even in pots.
    An elderly woman I encountered recently gets $50 a month in food stamps. You try and eat for a month on $50. Thankfully I and others are able to help her, but not everyone has access to friends/family who can or will help.

  • thucy

    I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but seriously? Live longer? Please, no. We Americans already live too long, and consume a wildly unfair share of resources, incapacitated by our own smug physical decrepitude – which would never be tolerated anywhere else.

    The wealthiest of us: Tottering around in motorized scooters , getting into gas-guzzling SUVs, each one eating more meat than a Cambodian family of four, showing off endless pictures of the last environmentally destructive Ocean cruise… basta! Then: a descent into Alzheimer’s, a condition which will further absorb an insane amount of healthcare resources, which we deny to younger, more vulnerable, yet more productive Americans.

    But hey, it’s a money-maker for the hospitals! Someone’s getting rich off of Medicare! Not that the good doctors from UCSF whom you have invited don’t mean well, I know that. But the reality is that with the dismantling of the social safety net, encouraging the average American to live longer is just cruel and unfair. To them, and to the generations beneath them.

    I understand it’s not PC, but it may well be that, as long as we refuse to spend precious resources on caring for and educating the next generations, longevity is bunk. Live well; die relatively young, and thereby let us honor our link to future generations.

  • Matt G

    Can you ask the guests to speak more about coffee? I was surprised to hear that it is potentially good for you.

  • James Ivey

    Jeez…. Seemingly on my inevitable way to morbid obesity, Gary Taubes on this program last summer got me to lose 30 lbs. almost effortlessly. Now I hear that, to live longer, I should eat exactly the opposite of what I’m eating.

    Is it really a choice between obesity or an early death?

    I’ve tried eating less for many years. It makes it impossible for me to concentrate and do my job. How can I tell my body to be happy with less?


    • thucy


      Good question. But you don’t have to eat less if you stick to high-fiber plant protein. And you’ll lose weight.

      I don’t think people should follow Taubes’ cutting out of carbs – it’s a short-term fix with long-term side effects. Real, whole carbs (like yams and kale) are good; processed carbs (like even most whole wheat bread) are problematic.

      I don’t know if that helps, but NYTimes’ Mark Bittman and UCSF’s Dr. Bob Lustig (and, when you feel ready for the full monty Dean Ornish) are great.

      Good luck, I know you’ll find a program that works for you, and regardless of longevity, you’ll feel better when you’re getting enough phytonutrients. Quality over quantity is lasting satisfaction.

      • Khaleesisdoormat

        “Bob” Lustig? Is it appropriate for you to be giving him a nickname? By doing so you imply you are intimate enough with him to call him by that, and that is really nothing more than an obvious attempt to add credibility to your own post. Unless you actually know him, and even if you do, you should probably be referring to him by his professional name, not by a very informal nickname.

        • thucy

          no, it’s because bob is faster to type on a handheld, and I’m not so in awe of MD’s that I think they have to be referred to by full name. I do think what Lust. “preaches” is good and useful. I don’t think an anon commenter needs to “add cred” when they are merely helpfully pointing someone toward a resource with non-anonymous established cred. Ivey will either look into it or not.

          • Khaleesisdoormat

            Really? You can’t type “Robert” on a phone? What a crock. It takes all of two or three seconds. Again, it’s disrespectful and overly familiar to pretend to know someone well enough to give them a nickname. It doesn’t matter what the context is.

          • Laine

            When Robert Lustig was on Forum recently, Michael called him Rob which is his actual nickname.

  • Please ask the guests to provide at least SOME context. For example, I assert that 70% of human longevity is individual genetic inheritence, and that any diets only have a 30% influence on overall life.

    So don’t expect too muc from one’s diet.

    True? or False?

  • Cathy

    Matthew Walker from UC Berkeley was recently discussing the importance of sleep at a City Arts & Lectures. While extremely respectful of the importance of a healthy diet, when pressed to prioritize sleep, diet, exercise and procreation in terms of health, he said at a VERY marginal level, a healthy sleep pattern may be what helps your health the most. Granted, he admitted heat be bias, he was referring to the science of it. Could your guests comment on the relationship on diet and sleep.

  • Grad student prospect

    I am currently applying to bay area graduate programs in public health and find it hard to find any programs focused on aging. Any suggestions for finding these programs and the needed funding for MPH or PhD graduate education?

  • Don

    Would the panel please comment on the studies linking gluten (wheat) to disease?

  • Patsy

    What suggestions for those with Celiac Disease undiscovered for many years. Will a better diet help.

  • 99to1

    Do blenders really destroy the value of insoluble fiber?

    On a recent Forum show, a nutritional expert inveighed against smoothies (running fruits and vegetables through a blender) saying that this destroyed the structure of the fiber, cancelling its value. This struck me as odd; by the same logic, chewing our food would do the same.

    Do your guests have an opinion on this question?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    my 90 yr old mom (who still drives), drinks this supermarket commercial juice, orange, kiwi, etc right before bedtime. I know sugaar secretes insulin, but what is the effect of sugar on cholesterol (she takes a statin drug to lower it)?
    Any food advice as folks age? I notice that older folks have a decrease in flavor sensitivity and they often go for very sweet items.

  • Sunil Sandhu

    I usually work out late at night (~10pm – 1am). My usual routine is a few laps of swimming (after doing some weights). At the end of my swim, I grab ~18g of proteins. And before sleeping, I drink a glass of milk with a banana (and often a slice of bread with cheese, lettuce, margarine and slices of tomatoes). Is it alright to eat late in this circumstance?

  • Nita Stull

    I am hoping there will be a discussion regarding the necessary nutrients found in grass fed animal fat, butter, eggs, etc. we can eat all the vegetables we want, but the nutrients in animal fat (i.e.) k2 are essential in telling the body what to do w/ the vegetable nutrients. what good is all that calcium if the body is depositing it in the heart and arteries instead of the bones? k2 tells it where to go. I have been reading Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheume-Bleue, great book. And for the weightlifter caller, check out Yes, you should be getting your vitamins from whole foods, as much as you can.

  • Bill Kammerer

    are there any physical symptoms one can feel or otherwise notice when cortisol is released which might help lead to changing habits that cause stress? Bill Kammerer, and Walnut Creek, CA

  • Clarence weatherwax

    I was born and raised in a Hawaiian lifestyle and diet. We ate every meal together often 5 meals a day. Consisting of fish, pork, vegetables, starches and fruits. But the best part of it all was spending time with my grandparents and not in front of the television. I attribute these gatherings along with a whole foods diet to my grandfathers longevity. Food feeds the body but love feeds the mind and soul.

  • Larry

    Eating well is only part of the solution to longevity. Another
    important factor that largely affects that outcome is whether the individual can assimilate the needed nutrients. Many people do not, or due to age, can no longer produce the biologically active enzymes that are necessary to digest certain foods. But that is probably a topic for another show.

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