Foods that could add more than a decade to your life include nuts

Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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There’s no secret recipe that can boost your longevity overnight. The path to a longer lifespan is precarious, with many obstacles to overcome. However, research suggests that three food groups could add “more than a decade” to your lifespan.

You might not like it but what you eat plays a key role in your overall health, so transforming your diet is crucial when it comes to boosting your longevity.

Fortunately, three plant-based food groups do this with gusto, according to research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

The researchers decided to look at how foods ranging from fruits and vegetables to processed meat and sugar-sweetened beverages impact life expectancy.

The team identified various food groups that were especially beneficial for longevity, including grains, legumes and nuts.

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“Eating an optimal diet which includes legumes, whole grains, nuts and less red and processed meat could increase life expectancy for those starting the diet at age 20 by more than a decade,” said Louise Bula, Registered Dietitian at Juniper.

However, foods like fish, fruits and vegetables also made the cut. On the other hand, the study suggested that you should cut back on red and processed meats, refined grains and sugar-sweetened beverages.

While limiting the number of sausages on your plate and the amount of coke in your glass might not sounds ideal, the research suggests that following the “optimal” diet offered some impressive results.

The study found that if 20-year-olds mixed up their diet habits and ate the optimal foods, their life expectancy would increase by more than a decade.

Whereas, swapping a typical diet for an optimised diet at the age of 60 would offer a boost of eight years for both men and women.

And even 80-year-olds could reap some benefits from eating the longevity-boosting foods as the research found they could gain extra 3.4 years this way.

Diving deeper into the research on the relationship between a balanced diet and longevity, team from Juniper found that another study, published in the journal Cell, suggested that protein might also play an important role.

Bula said: “Diets that include a higher level of protein may reduce life expectancy by raising growth hormone signalling and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels.

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“What’s more, sugars were found to play a role in signalling, which accelerated the ageing process in the rats that were tested in the study.

“The study concluded by suggesting that following a ‘longevity diet’, which consists of low but sufficient levels of protein and higher consumption of legumes could improve overall health and even lengthen life expectancy by reducing the activity of pro-aging growth hormones, insulin, IGF-1 and the protein target-of-rapamycin S6 kinase.”

Therefore, legumes could be especially important when it comes to your lifespan.

From beans to peanuts, there are various options to choose from so your diet doesn’t need to settle on one single type.

And if you want to take your longevity plan to the next level, Bula also suggested taking up exercise.

Bula added: “It’s certainly interesting to see some of the recent research that has been carried out, exploring the link between a healthy lifestyle and a longer life expectancy.

“We must however remember that further studies need to be carried out to truly understand how much certain foods and exercises can impact lifespan but this information shows that even something as simple as exercising for 10 minutes a day could lengthen your life.

“Regardless of how strong the connection is between healthy living and lifespan, this research serves as a reminder that eating a nutritious and varied diet, as well as keeping active, can make you feel better both on the inside and out.

“We would recommend looking into some of the easier changes to start off with, such as adding a 10-minute workout into your routine and trying new recipes that feature legumes like beans, peas and lentils.”

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