Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
The pandemic has forced many people to rethink how they lead their lives. Research by Cambridge Weight Plan has found that more than two thirds of the public (68 percent) will be switching up their diet in 2021. Knowing how to maximise the health benefits of your dietary decisions can be challenging, however.
To fill in the gaps, Express.co.uk caught up with nutritionist Mark Gilbert of The 1:1 Diet.
Gilbert outlined the four most important dietary decisions for longevity.
Gilbert explained: “Caloric restriction is the most solidly researched method to suggest increased longevity.
“It has been shown to reduce cancer, heart disease and other metabolic diseases responsible for most preventable deaths.”
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As Gilbert explains, type-2 diabetes is “virtually absent” in those who restrict calories and follow a low-calorie diet such as the 1:1 Diet.
In fact, the 1:1 Diet has been shown to reverse diabetes in those who undertake it, as long it is sufficiently nutritious, Gilbert says.
The Cambridge 1:1 diet is a VLCD (Very low-calorie diet) meal replacement diet in which 415 to 1500 calories are consumed daily through a combination of meal replacement bars, smoothies, shakes and soups.
Extensive evidence points to the benefits of following a low-calorie diet.
One study published in Cell Metabolism journal this month concluded that cutting calorie intake by 15 percent over two years can slow ageing and protect against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
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Top up vitamin D
Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is obtained through direct exposure to sun, although supplements are usually required to top up the vitamin in winter time.
“Vitamin D is intimately involved in immunity, protecting us particularly by helping our T cell immune response,” Gilbert explains.
Studies have shown that vitamin D levels in the body are inversely related to the risk of death.
According to a large review study, low vitamin D levels have been linked to all-cause, cardiovascular, cancer and infectious-related mortality.
Increase berry intake
Gilbert explains: “Berries have a number of health advantages and have been shown to improve heart health, reduce incidence and risk of cancer and diabetes, and to reduce blood pressure.
According to Gilbert, adding berries to a sugary meal can slow and reduce the appearance of blood sugar (glucose) in your blood.
“In turn this assists blood flow by helping your blood vessels dilate but also reduce the ‘stickiness’ of your blood, preventing inflammation and build-up of cholesterol,” he says.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that raises your risk of heart disease.
Test-tube and human studies suggest that they berries protect your cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals.
Drink green tea
“Those who drink green tea seem to be protected from the dreaded ’all-cause mortality‘ (death from any cause), even when researchers control for other behaviours,” explains Gilbert.
This should raise few eyebrows. As Gilbert points out, green tea consumption protects DNA, helps with blood sugar control and may help prevent diabetes, decreases blood pressure and reduces arterial plaque.
According to a review of seven studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, tea drinkers had an 18 percent lower risk of diabetes.
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