How to live longer: Easy food swap ‘could add over a decade to your life’ – expert

Veganism: Dr Potter advises on switching to plant-based diet

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As life expectancy fell slightly over the recent years, many continue to seek the secret to a longer lifespan, and eating your way to longevity might actually not be as surprising as it may seem. Like with a majority of health conditions, certain diet choices can help stave off diseases and thus boost your longevity.

Some lifestyle habits have proven themselves as potent prevention of early death.

And it’s no secret that what you eat plays a big role in your overall health.

Nutrition expert Penny Weston shared how swapping red meat for a plant-based diet could boost longevity by a decade.

She said: “Experts believe that eating more whole grains, legumes and nuts, while cutting out red and processed meat, is the best way to increase life expectancy. 

“This is largely because of the huge impact red meat can have on your health, from obesity to conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers.”

All of these are potentially life-threatening conditions claiming thousands of lives yearly.

Weston said: “One study compared heart disease in vegetarians and meat-eaters and found that vegetarians experienced the lowest rates of ischemic heart disease, which is hardening of the arteries.

“In addition to this, processed meat which is commonplace in most meat-eaters’ diets today includes various chemical compounds that aren’t in fresh meat – a lot of these are damaging to health.”

What particular foods promote longevity?

The nutrition expert recommended:

  • Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables – “particularly good for lifespan” 
  • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, soybeans and peanuts)
  • Whole grains (porridge, brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa) 
  • Nuts.

From cancer to heart disease, these foods can cut your risk of various serious diseases thanks to their fibre, vitamin or good fat content.

One item on this list was even recently researched. 

Weston said: “A recent study found that if a 20-year-old boosted their intake from zero grams of legumes per day to 200 grams (this would be the equivalent of a bowl of lentil soup for example) they could expect to live nearly two and a half years longer.”

How much of these foods do I need to eat?

Apart from increasing your legume intake to 200 grams daily, there’s also the old golden five a day rule.

However, there’s even more you can add.

Weston added: “Also consuming 225 grams of whole-grain products per day, such as porridge and brown rice, as well as a daily 25 grams serving of nuts were linked to adding two extra years of life.”

However, Weston doesn’t have good news for those who aren’t ready for the full leap to the plant-based world.

She said: “It’s definitely beneficial to ditch meat altogether because of the health implications it has.

“Fortunately, there are now more meat and animal-product alternatives than ever before, from the McDonald’s plant burger to vegan chocolate.”

Plus, a variety of research shows that switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet really can help reduce the risk of certain health conditions.


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