The secret to living longer is something that has been explored for centuries and although there is no magic answer, some simple changes to our diet could add on some precious extra years. What we put in our bodies affects everything from our health, to stress levels, to physical appearance and yes, even how long we live!
Many scientists have studied the diets of different cultures to see why some people live considerably longer than others and are less susceptible to illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and it appears the answer is very simple. A lot of it comes down to what we eat and the incredible powers of natural food sources.
Here we have lined up our top 5 ‘SuperFoods’ we just can’t get enough of, which could increase your lifespan by up to 30 percent…hand me those blueberries now!
We’ve all heard of blueberries as a ‘superfood’ but do we really know why? These tasty berries contain high levels of polyphenols, which are compounds found in natural plant foods with antioxidant properties. These have been proven to increase lifespan by up to 30 percent and reduce risks of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. So we really can’t get enough of these wonder-berries!
Blueberries are great in smoothies, sprinkled on top of some delicious yoghurt, or in these winter months why not try something new and make yourself a warming blueberry compote. We mix our blueberries with a little water and maple syrup before letting them bubble away for 10-15 minutes. We particularly love this on top of porridge as it gives you warm, gooey bursts of flavour with every spoonful.
Now lets face it, with over fifty varieties of nuts, it can be slightly overwhelming deciding which nuts to nibble on. So we have lined up our top three choices, bursting with life enhancing benefits. We snack on a small handful when having a midday energy slump rather than falling for our sugar cravings. Nuts are high in fat, but these are the good ‘healthy-fats’ that we all need in our diet. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so lets go nuts for nuts!
Brazil Nuts – Help protect against cell damage due to an abundance of the amazing mineral selenium, which supports immunity.
Walnuts – Contain the most omega 3 (monounsaturated fats) of all the nuts, helping increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.
Almonds – Help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and improve bone strength due to their high calcium levels.
Recently voted as the world’s second most popular hot beverage it seems that many of us are no strangers to the wondrous Green Tea. Those of us who consume at least two cups a day, could be increasing our life expectancy by a staggering 26 percent. We make sure we always have our Swell Bottle full with some warming Green Tea whilst on the go, so there are no excuses!
Green Tea boasts an impressive array of health benefits, proven to reduce risk of cancer and heart disease due to it’s large source of antioxidants helping to improve cardiovascular health. In addition, it helps to regulate blood pressure, boost the immune system, and lower cholesterol. However, if you’re still not convinced to swap from your english breakfast brew, you can get your Green Tea hit from ‘matcha’ green tea powder. We love to blend ours with some almond milk, banana, and a handful of frozen blueberries for an antioxidant pick me up!
Well as if we needed an excuse to eat more chocolate… but living longer has to be the best incentive! The oldest recorded human being was a woman named Jeanne Calment, who lived for an amazing 122 years and put her good heath down to regularly eating chocolate! Cacao beans are full of antioxidants which can help cut your risk of heart disease and flavonoids, which act as an anti inflammatory, boosting blood flow to the brain. But if that wasn’t enough, recent research found that chocolate consumption lowers our chances of suffering a stroke by an incredible 17 percent.
Go for raw and refined sugar free dark chocolate which is at least 70% cocoa, but don’t go into a frenzy stocking up your cupboards just yet, as you only need one square a day to give you this health boost. We love Well and Happy Midnight Bar infused with celtic sea salt and made with 90% cacao solids.
We finish with what is perhaps the most beneficial in terms of health enhancing benefits. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout are are great sources of vitamins A and D to help boost the immune system. They are also your best direct source of omega 3 fatty acids which help with muscle recovery, reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease, brain damage and stroke. But we thought we would tell you a few things you may not know about Omega 3.
– It helps preserve the ends of our chromosomes that shrink with age, in order to help the longevity of cells.
– It lowers levels of cortisol in the body which reduces stress.
– It is directly linked with weight loss as Omega 3 diminishes the levels of Omega 6 in the body which are linked to obesity.
– If you struggle to get oily fish into your diet then you could always try a fish oil supplement, but be very careful to make sure you invest in a good product which is completely pure and free from toxins or metals. We love Bare Biology LionHeart Fish Oil as just one teaspoon a day is packed full of your daily dose.
Words by Lotty Somers