The dinner that extends your life. From Bologna to Milan, New York, and Prague, Longevity Restaurants are here

Jun 25 2024, 12:32
The trend started quietly, then consolidated, and now it's booming: delicious menus that extend your life. Between nutraceuticals and wellness, restaurants and chains are opening and thriving where the dishes are designed for pleasure, but also for longevity

That the first Italian Longevity Restaurant would be born in Bologna, also known as La Grassa (The Fat) as well as La Dotta (The Learned), was not at all obvious! Nonetheless, now, between wellness and nutraceuticals, a series of quality establishments are focusing on dishes and menus that can extend the lives of their diners. How? By using ingredients chosen for their health benefits, selecting foods that can combat cholesterol, vegetable fibers to reduce calories, unsweetened and healthy drinks... all with the dual aim of making you feel good at the table, but also to help your overall well-being and specifically contribute to creating biological conditions that can extend your life. No miracles, of course, but scientifically constructed recipes for both the palate and the body as a whole. Bologna, as we said: it is here that in 2018 Libra, the first anti-aging restaurant in Italy, was born, led by nutritionist Chiara Manzi along with executive chef Paolo Cappuccio and chef Andrea Miceli: here, traditional Italian and Mediterranean dishes are reformulated according to the scientific method of Cucina Evolution.

Chiara Manzi with the Libra staff in Bologna: Opening with risotto by chef Paolo Cappuccio

Carbonara and fried foods: Can they be good for you?

"Carbonara, Lasagna, fried foods, and desserts here are not only beautiful and tasty but also good for your health," explains Chiara Manzi. "They are made with traditional ingredients, but the cooking methods are reformulated to bring the usual flavors to the table with lightness and nutritional balance. Instead of changing the way we eat, I chose to change the way we cook, rebalancing the recipes without changing either the typical ingredients or the taste. It seemed like 'mission impossible': I dreamed of lowering my cholesterol by eating carbonara and losing weight by eating desserts." Less fat and more fiber is the credo of her Bolognese restaurant, along with cooking methods that focus on food safety.

A sandwich from The Food True Kitchen with spiced lamb meatballs, mint yoghurt, bhaji (Indian bread balls), and katsu (Japanese fried meat).A sandwich from The Food True Kitchen with spiced lamb meatballs, mint yoghurt, bhaji (Indian bread balls), and katsu (Japanese fried meat).

Longevity Restaurants around the world

One of the most famous names in the USA is True Food Kitchen, founded by Andrew Weil, a renowned expert in integrative medicine. The first True Food Kitchen was opened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008 and offers a menu based on anti-inflammatory nutrition principles, with dishes prepared using fresh, seasonal, and nutritious ingredients. Today, his brand has more than 45 locations across the States. In New York, the Brooklyn Natural Market & Cafe on Washington Avenue has gained traction: here, vegetarian dishes and tofu or grass-fed meat are served, such as the delicious BBQ Tofu Sandwich with baked tofu, caramelized onion, potato salad, romaine lettuce, chipotle aioli on a seven-grain whole wheat baguette, or the Grass-fed Burger: grass-fed Angus beef, romaine lettuce, red onion, tomato, and homemade fries. In Prague, the Healthy Longevity Café has opened, where menus are compiled by longevity experts using antioxidants, supplements, and superfoods, with "living plants" and lighting that follows the circadian rhythm—ensuring illumination that blends artificial and natural light to meet human needs throughout the day.

Two veg sandwiches by Brooklyn Natural Market and Cafe
Due panini veg di Brooklyn Natural Market and Cafe

The Longevity Restaurant in Milan

In Milan, the Longevity Kitchen has taken off, offering a healthy food format inspired by the habits and "secrets" of the longest-living and healthiest people on the planet, namely those who live in the so-called Blue Zones: Okinawa in Japan, Ikaria in Greece, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California. "Inspired by their recipes, flavors, and superfoods, our team of doctors, nutritionists, and chefs has created a unique style of healthy and sustainable cuisine," they promise from Milan.

A dish of the restaurant of Palazzo di Varignana

The proposal of Palazzo di Varignana

Here, in the splendid and exclusive resort in the hills between Imola and Bologna, the Ginkgo Longevity Restaurant of Palazzo di Varignana has just opened, where the consultation of Dr. Annamaria Acquaviva and the technique of chef Marco Leandri give life to proposals inspired by the Mediterranean diet with dishes free from gluten, dairy, and refined carbohydrates, made functional by combinations that aim both to reduce the glycemic impact and to enhance the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the foods.

The rules for healthier and lower calorie cooking

In the end, the rules for having lower-calorie dishes while preserving flavors and thus the pleasure of eating are quite simple: replace fats with prebiotic fibers (like inulin or psyllium), replace sugar with antioxidant sweeteners (like erythritol), replace salt with cooking methods that concentrate flavors. By using a bit of ingenuity, both taste and the swimsuit test can be preserved.

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