The secret to long life has been shown time and time again to be eating a balanced diet. The NHS explains this means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. There are some simple rules to follow, such as eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. But there are specific foods which have been shown to fight life-threatening conditions, according to medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow.
Specific foods have been shown to fight life-threatening conditions
In their book titled ‘Eat Better Live Longer’ they outline all different foods to include in your diet and their benefits. Here are six.
Root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, are rich in potassium, which can lower blood pressure alongside a lower intake of sodium.
The pair add: “All root vegetables are also rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the blood.
“This helps to relax the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.
“One review of 16 studies found having beetroot juice every day significantly reduced systolic blood pressure.”
Soya protein is known to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol – too much bad cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease. Other studies have also proven other ways soya foods, like tofu, can help with heart health.
“A large study found those women who ate soya foods at least five times a week were a third less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who ate it twice a week or less,” cite the duo.
“In another study of 65,0000 postmenopausal Chinese women, those with the highest intakes of soya protein had an 86 per cent lower risk of having a non-fatal heart attack than those with the lowest intakes.”
Studies have suggested higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, are linked to lower risk of cancer.
The women write: “These green vegetables are rich in unique compounds called glucosinolates, which break down to form cancer-busting compounds, and are packed with cancer-fighting flavonoids and carotenoids.”
Mushrooms contain phytochemicals that fight bacteria and viruses, and help to lower inflammation, say Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow.
They add: “This is good news as chronic inflammation is at the root of many diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Plus mushrooms contain good levels of copper, an antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.”
Alliums – the name given to onions, garlic and leeks – could help with memory because of their folate content.
The experts say: “Leeks contain five times more folate than onions, which is great news as good intakes of folate may help to protect us from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Good evidence shows olive oil helps to reduce high blood pressure, which in turn can help to prevent stroke.
Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow write: “Indeed, many studies show a lower incidence of stroke in people who have good intakes of olive oil.”
When it comes to the best exercise to live longer, a simple exercise has proven effective.
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