Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
Increase your life expectancy by fasting once a week – this is the recommendation by Jane from Nourish. She said: “Studies show a weekly 18-hour fast – when you eat in a six-hour window, say, between 1pm and 7pm – is linked with improved life expectancy and a greater feeling of wellbeing, as long as you nourish yourself well during the other days.”
So what are the benefits of fasting?
Several studies have found fasting can improve blood sugar control, which may be especially useful for those at risk of diabetes.
Diabetes can increase the risk of serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and kidney damage.
One study involving 10 people with type 2 diabetes showed short-term intermittent fasting significantly decreased blood sugar levels.
Fasting may also enhance heart health by improving blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
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Increased levels of these can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
A study in 110 obese adults showed fasting for three weeks under medical supervision significantly decreased blood pressure, as well as levels of blood triglycerides, total cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Obesity can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer, and stroke.
For people overweight, fasting may aid weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism.
One review showed whole-day fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9 percent and significantly decrease body fat over 12 to 24 weeks.
Jane also recommends some other ways to live a longer and healthier life.
Eat for resilience and recovery
If we are unwell, we tend to lose our appetite or opt for comfort foods, said Jane.
She advised: “Think about giving your body the building blocks to get better – small mouthfuls of intense protein, vitamin and mineral nourishment, like organic, nutritionally complete Nourish Drinks, to help when you’re fighting infection, recovering from childbirth or surgery and even grief.”
Upgrade your water
Hydration is key to keep cells healthy and your body functioning.
Jane recommended: “Opt for herbal teas to add extra benefits to your H2O – like mint for digestion, chamomile to calm and raspberry leaf to balance female hormones.”
Virgin drinks – mocktails made with alcohol-free spirits, or low-alcohol beer and wine – can get you out of that glass a night habit but still mark a pleasurable transition between the workday and the evening.
Jane said: “Alcohol can increase anxiety, disrupt sleep and lead to weight gain, so make it a treat, not a daily ritual.”
Look after your gut
Have a spoonful of kimchi and sauerkraut once a day, said Jane. She explained: “Fermented foods like these increase the diversity and balance of bacteria in our gut, helping us to digest our food, protect against disease-causing bacteria, produce vitamins and regulate our immune system.”
Go caffeine- free after 4pm
If you have trouble sleeping, this could be the fix you need for a good night’s rest.
Jane said: “In the afternoon, sip calming teas such as lemon balm and chamomile. Before bed, switch to sedative brews such as valerian and hops, or opt for a milky drink such as warmed Vanilla Nourish Drink that will help you to wind down.”
Keep it natural
The more we can keep our diet unprocessed and free from additives, the lower our risk of chronic disease.
Jane advised: “Try to cook from scratch where you can, using organic ingredients (frozen is fine) so your body has the building blocks it needs to stay strong and healthy.”
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