Can Smoking Cigarettes Make You Live Longer, Are The Blue Zones A Myth, Which Meat You Should Think Twice About Eating & More With Dr. Steven Gundry

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Envision a life where you gracefully surpass the age of 100, untouched by the afflictions that typically accompany old age — no battles with debilitating diseases, no encounters with cancer, no navigating each step with the constant fear of stumbling and facing a hip-breaking incident.

In a captivating discussion with Dr. Steven Gundry, I explore the secrets of the world's blue zones, where vitality remains a constant companion and thriving well beyond what is conventionally deemed “your best years” is not a distant dream but a tangible reality. 

Dr. Gundry is one of the world’s top cardiothoracic surgeons and a pioneer in nutrition. He hosts the top-rated health show, The Dr. Gundry Podcast, is the founder and director of The International Heart and Lung Institute Center for Restorative Medicine, and is the founder of Gundry MD, a line of wellness products and supplements.

After a distinguished surgical career as a professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University, Dr. Gundry changed his focus to curing modern diseases via dietary changes. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers, including The Plant Paradox, The Plant Paradox Cookbook, The Plant Paradox Quick & Easy, and The Longevity Paradox, along with national bestsellers such as The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook, The Energy Paradox, Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution, and Unlocking the Keto Code. Additionally, he has had more than 300 articles published in peer-reviewed journals on using diet and supplements to eliminate heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and other life-altering diseases.

Dr. Gundry's latest book, which he and I discuss on this episode, is Gut Check: Unleash the Power of Your Microbiome to Reverse Disease and Transform Your Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health.

Previous podcasts with Dr. Gundry include:

In today's episode, join Dr. Gundry and me in uncovering topics for a long, healthy life, such as Okinawan food fermentation, Sardinian smoking, the benefits of goat and sheep products, and the best practices for a vibrant existence.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Japan as a blue zone and the benefits of food fermentation…08:40

  • Gut Check by Dr. Steven Gundry
  • A chapter in the book is dedicated to blue zones
  • The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
    • A meeting in Montpellier, France, about longevity
    • Dan Buettner circled 5 areas on the map
      • Areas with exceptional longevity
      • His reasons are subject to debate
    • People in blue zones eat a lot of grains and beans
  • Okinawa is one of the blue zones
    • Okinawans don’t eat rice
    • They don't eat soy — they eat miso, fermented soy
    • Famous for eating lots of spicy greens and vegetables
    • 85% of their food is purple or blue sweet potato
  • Traditionally, cultures have always detoxified plant toxins by fermentation
  • What happens when plants are fermented?
    • Fermentation was a way for people to detoxify lectins
    • Incas used quinoa as a food but always fermented it
  • Traditionally, cultures soaked their beans; soaking leaches lectins out
  • Pressure cooking also removes lectins
  • There are bacteria on the skin of beans that ferment the beans; soaking started the fermentation of beans
  • Soak Time For Common Seeds, Nuts, Beans and Grains
  • The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry
  • The lectin content of a plant increases at the moment of germination
    • The most susceptible time to predation

-Sardinia as a blue zone and why smoking isn't hindering longevity…18:17

-The benefits of goat and sheep products…25:47

  • Ben’s stance on using nicotine
  • Mitochondrial uncoupling is really one of the keys to longevity
  • Western smokers do not have the benefit of all of the compounds
  • Sardinia, Icaria, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and the other blue zones are all sheep and goat herding populations
  • 30% of the fats in goat and sheep milk are medium-chain triglycerides
  • Medium-chain triglycerides are absorbed as fat and go directly to the liver and generate ketones
  • Unlocking the Keto Code by Dr. Steven R. Gundry
    • Ketones are signaling agents that uncouple the mitochondria and promote mitogenesis
  • Andorrans eat sheep yogurt, cheese, and sausages
  • The people in these areas ferment their meat
    • Do not have any storage system for their animal meat
    • Bacteria in the fermentation process consume the N-Glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) compound found in beef, lamb, milk, and pork
  • Fermentation produces polyamines like spermidine, another compound that has mitochondrial uncoupling properties
  • People in these areas have the highest life expectancy of any country

-Neu5Gc and why it is an issue…35:33

-Statistical issues with blue zones…48:49

  • In Okinawa, birth records were destroyed in the bombing
  • Most of the blue zones, especially in Europe, are very poor communities
    • There's speculation that there is a lot of underreporting of deaths because of pensions
  • Valter Longo heads up the USC Longevity Institute
    • He doesn't like the fact that the second-longest life expectancy in the world is in Monte Carlo
    • Monte Carlo has a Mediterranean diet
    • Longo argues that their longevity is due to good healthcare
  • The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo
  • The long-lived residents of Acciaroli, south of Naples
    • Don’t eat bread and pasta; they don't eat any grain products
    • They eat lentils that have been soaked
    • They eat small fish, anchovies being the number one, and a lot of rosemary
    • Older guys are horny due to rosemary
    • Several compounds in rosemary are good mitochondria uncouplers and also have aphrodisiac properties
  • Sheepherders and goat herders feed their animals spices rich in polyphenols
  • Sage has polyphenols — sage coffee

-What to do when it comes to chickens…55:33

  • Chickens used to be released into the pastures, where they would dig through manure looking for bugs
  • Chickens were basically insectivores
  • Today, chickens are fed organic corn and soybeans
  • In a foraging animal, the normal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 1:3
    • Organic chickens today have 1:25
  • Lectin-Light Chicken has an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:5
  • Be careful where you buy your chicken
  • Chicken skin is full of spermidine
  • Spermidine is a polyamine that is a good mitochondrial uncoupler
    • Prevents damage to mitochondria
    • Promotes mitogenesis

-Mitochondrial uncoupling…1:00:06

-Other things to uncouple mitochondria 1:03:23

  • Researching heat shock protein
  • Cutting off blood flow in a coronary artery for 5 minutes activates heat shock proteins
  • Heat shock proteins protect myocardial cells from damage
    • Work by uncoupling mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial uncouplers:
  • In Italy and France, wine is part of the meal
  • Red wine is a great polyphenol-delivery device
  • Sardinia has a Cannonau grape that many think is a Grenache grape, but it's grown at a high altitude
  • Sardinia wines may be a piece of the puzzle and why people live so long there
  • Glycine intake before or after drinking alcohol
  • A combination of glycine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is still one of the best ways to generate glutathione
  • Glycine shifts the body's core temperature downwards

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Brain Rejuvenation Retreat: February 15–16, 2024

Join me from February 15th to the 16th at the Brain Rejuvenation Retreat, where world-leading peptide expert Regan Archibald and I will merge our knowledge in longevity, peptides, and fitness. This unique collaboration aims to offer you a transformative health experience, propelling you forward on your path to optimal health and vitality. Discover more about the Brain Rejuvenation Retreat and how these insights can shape your journey to complete well-being here.

  • Unlock Longevity: February 24, 2024

Meet me in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, February 24, 2024, for the Unlock Longevity event where I'll be presenting on “The 5 Elements in Your Environment That Will Make or Break Your Health.” Check out more by going to (use code Greenfield10 for $10 off your ticket).

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Steven Gundry:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Dr. Stephen Gundry or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

11 thoughts on “Can Smoking Cigarettes Make You Live Longer, Are The Blue Zones A Myth, Which Meat You Should Think Twice About Eating & More With Dr. Steven Gundry

  1. Lauren Hitt says:

    What nicotine patch (brand) do you recommend? The link doesn’t bring you to a specific brand link. Are there any clean pouches for your mouth to use?

    1. Elena Sel says:


    2. GSK Rugby patches are good and for gum / pouches Lucy is the cleanest….

  2. Gil Eckstein says:

    Ben, I love your contnet, and I’ve been a huge fan for a long time but I have to say – it’s unfortunate you push fear mongering over red meat in your podcast :(

    nue5gc had been debunked long time ago, and all the research supporting that it’s not healthy is based on associations due to unhealthy user biased.

    You know this…. You talked about unhealthy user bias before in your podcast related to red meat.
    There is no single interventional study with either red meat or neu5gc or TMAO or any other compound that is mostly in red meat that show it’s harmful for humans. But of course that we will see those associations in the research because of Unhealthy user bias.

    I know you know this, but I expect that you will raise those questions in your podcasts. I expect you to raise the issues with the research. I think that your fans deserves it. I think we deserve better than this.

    Please dont follow mainstream conventional podcasters that follow any research they see online, or any new book that comes up saying red meat is bad for us without questioning the quality of the research.
    Please, not you. You are so much better than this.

    I’m still a huge fan and always will be, but I had to share those thoughts.

    With huge love, Gil ❤️

  3. erica says:

    Great Podcast. As a long term resident of Japan and a nutritionist, I just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about the Okinawan diet (south island of Japan known for its longevity). Dr. Gundry mentioned that the Okinawan’s don’t eat rice, nor grow rice, nor do they eat unfermented soy. I host a medical / health TV show and have been to Okinawa for 2 separate programs focused on the secrets of their longevity, and had the honor of eating with these super-centenarians over many days. They eat rice at most meals and also eat a large amount of a firm tofu called “shima tofu” (which is not fermented). Okinawa does grow a small amount of rice too. They also enjoy lots of seaweeds, seafood, bitter local vegetables and a bitter melon called GOYA. They do enjoy fermented soy in the form of miso.
    The younger generations are far more likely to be eating from fast food restaurants or convenience stories and the rates of all lifestyle diseases is skyrocketing. It’s been called the Okinawa crisis.

    1. michael says:

      Wow. Gundry is so full of *&!%

  4. Michelle says:

    I am a long time follower of you and Dr. Gundry and have read both your and his books. I often eat grass fed venison and since it was not mentioned in your podcast titled, “Can Smoking Make You Live Longer…” could you or Dr. Gundry answer my question related to A5CG and deer? Do deer have A5CG? I’m very curious and if you or Dr. Gundry could answer my question it would be remarkable and very appreciated..

    1. Michelle says:

      My mistake, “nue5gc”🙃, do deer have it?

  5. Alberto says:

    Dr. Paul Saladino has another very different point of view about neu5gc. Worth listening.

    Also Saladino and the Weston A. Price foundation have done very good blue zones debunking

  6. Kyle Gainey says:

    Great content as always Ben. Glad to see more uploads on YouTube as well. I’ve been listening for at least a decade now. Question about nicotine. I heard in Andrew Hubermans video on it that it restricts blood flow to the penis.

    Is this something that concerns you at all (I know you’ve done the gains wave treatment a few times so maybe you haven’t experienced any of those side effects or have you?)

    Wanting my member to be going strong my whole life so just wondering how much effect it really is having on the penis blood flow. Short and long term.

    Not sure if say doing an extra cardio session could off set the negative blood flow there or having sex an extra time or two, or what else could be done.

    Only thing I do which I started late last year is very very occasional is puff a cigar and only some of it (may only take like 20 puffs on it or so, so and will only do every couple weeks max so would take me a few months if not more to actually finish a cigar.

    I know the harms from researching the smoke (And a few ways to mitigate damage I’ve learned: Having cigar with coffee with rosemary water added, no alcohol with cigar or rinsing mouth with water before cigar hit, and eating pineapple or a least other fruit after smoking)

    aspect but curious to hear more from you on that particular negative effect of nicotine

    And if it is something I should be concerned with as I haven’t seen anyone else talk about it.

    I’d also love to hear your thoughts on nicotine raising testosterone as I’ve heard from Andrew Tate and if the test boosting effects would off set any penis blood flow slow down by boosting sex drive causing more errections/ sex?

  7. Tyson Johnson says:

    With Dr. Gundy he said that Birds had some of the best mitochondrial uncoupling. That was mentioned with even a hummingbirds heart rate beating extremely fast. My question is, how does that compare to that of a giant tortoise? mitochondrial uncoupling vs telomerase?

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