Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
Longevity may seem like a hard-won accomplishment but living long and well isn’t unachievable.
Healthy lifestyle choices are one of the greatest weapons you can add to your arsenal of protection against early death.
From doing regular exercise to quitting smoking, Dr Sunni Patel, from Dish Dash Deets, explained that a variety of lifestyle tweaks can increase your life expectancy.
However, an overall healthy diet is the cornerstone of good health. Therefore, the doctor recommended adding these potent foods to your daily diet.
1. Fruits and vegetables
Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of a whole host of longevity-threatening diseases, ranging from heart disease to cancer.
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Dr Patel explained that berries, leafy greens, and colourful vegetables are “particularly beneficial”. He added: “Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day – a serving size is typically one cup of raw leafy greens, 1/2 cup of other vegetables or fruit, or a small whole fruit like an apple or banana.”
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein and fibre, making them great at reducing your risk of heart disease, promoting weight management, and providing essential nutrients.
The doctor said: “Consume a small handful of nuts or seeds as a snack or add them to your meals. Be mindful of portion size, as they are calorie-dense.”
3. Whole grains
From whole wheat to quinoa and brown rice to millet, whole grains are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to Dr Patel.
He said: “Make whole grains the primary source of carbohydrates in your diet. Aim for three to six servings per day, depending on your energy needs.”
4. Olive oil
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and longer life thanks to its content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that support heart health.
Dr Patel recommended using olive oil in cooking and as a salad dressing. “Be mindful of portion sizes, as it is calorie-dense,” he added.
Rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, the likes of beans, lentils, and chickpeas can help cut your risk of heart disease and provide sustained energy.
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Dr Patel said: “Include legumes in your meals two to three times a week. A typical serving is about 1/2 to one cup of cooked legumes.”
The active compound hidden in turmeric, known as curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases and support brain health.
The doctor recommended incorporating turmeric into your cooking, and pairing it with black pepper to activate its powers.
7. Yoghurt and fermented foods
Packed with probiotics, these types of foods promote a healthy gut microbiome, which is associated with better digestion and immune function.
Therefore, the doctor instructed to include a serving of yoghurt or fermented foods (e.g., kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut) in your daily diet.”
Boasting a wide range of health benefits, garlic has been previously linked to better heart health and might even offer potential cancer-fighting properties.
9. Red wine
The doctor shared that one glass of red wine could benefit your heart health due to the presence of an antioxidant called resveratrol. However, he reminded to enjoy the drink in moderation.
10. Dark chocolate
Similarly to red wine, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that may benefit your heart. “A small piece (about 20grams) can be enjoyed occasionally,” Dr Patel added.
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