Longevity isn’t an exact science. While research continues to suggest various ways to boost your lifespan, there are many things to consider. However, smart dietary choices are the foundation for a healthy life. What’s more, five foods that are deemed staples in the home of many centenarians hide some impressive health benefits, according to a nutritionist.
Asako Miyashita, a certified dietitian and nutritionist, with 20 years of experience in longevity research, told CNBC: “I grew up in Japan, where I was taught from a young age to think of food as medicine.
“My grandmother is 92, and she also credits her longevity to eating the right foods.”
Japan really seems to have some tricks up its sleeve when it comes to a long life.
The island country is now a home to a whopping 90,526 centenarians, also known as people aged 100 and above.
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With this in mind, Miyashita has shared some Japanese staples that could be beneficial for your health as well as longevity.
Japanese purple sweet potato
Called “imo” in Japanese, purple sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanins that are responsible for their characteristic vibrant colour.
Apart from gifting the potatoes with their dominant hue, anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants that could offer anti-ageing properties, according to the research, published in the journal Experimental Gerontology.
“Studies have also shown they can help improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” the nutritionist said.
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Made from fermented soybeans and grains, miso is packed with good gut bacteria, known as probiotics.
These bacteria are thought to be beneficial for a range of health issues, including digestion and the immune system.
What’s more, research, published in the BMJ, suggested that those who ate the most fermented soy had a 10-percent lower risk of dying early from all causes.
Packed with vitamin C, one radish contains 124 percent of your daily recommended intake of the essential nutrient, making it a great source.
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Plus, these radishes have been “known to help prevent colds and boost the immune system”, according to Miyashita.
If you can’t get your hands on these goodies, other root vegetables, such as carrots and beets, could also help.
Packed with minerals and antioxidants, seaweed offers more than a savoury crunch.
The snack contains natural compounds like fucoxanthin and fucoidan, both of which have “anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and anti-cancer properties”, the expert explained.
Oily fish rich in omega-3s have been long touted for their positive effects on brain and heart health.
The nutritionist explained that these fatty acids can help lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and ease inflammation – all considered precursors to chronic problems.
The NHS recommends eating two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish.
In case you aren’t aware, oily fish includes the likes of salmon, herring, pilchards, sardines, trout and mackerel.
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