How to live longer: Best diet to lower your blood pressure and reduce cancer risk

Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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To live a long and healthy life, what you put in is what you will get out. This does not have to mean a life of deprivation but rather getting in more of the good stuff. With that in mind, what is one of the best ways of eating proven time and time again to reduce age-related disease risk and boost your longevity?

The leading cause of death and the number one shortener of life expectancy globally is heart disease.

As the heart ages, there can be a build of gunk in your arteries and your arteries themselves can become harder.

This causes a person’s blood pressure to rise and your heart to work harder, leaving you at risk for heart disease.

Vegetarians (whole foods vegetarians) have some of the best arteries around because eating healthy vegetables avoids bad fats and other unhealthy foods.

Vegan diets in particular tend to be rich in nutrients which help to protect against illnesses and boost a person’s longevity.

Many people who follow this eating pattern also tend to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as exercising regularly and avoiding processed foods, all aiding in longevity.

A vegan diet comprises of more legumes, fruit and vegetables than non-vegan diets.

Reducing the amount of animal products has also been shown to help reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.

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People who eat lots of vegetables also take in lots of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are notorious for helping the body repair some of the damage caused by ageing.

Health experts state the more plants a person’s eats, the rawer materials the body has to make repairs impacting longevity.

Eating more vegetables also helps with maintaining a healthy BMI as they contain low calories and high satiety, keeping a person feeling fuller for longer.

A healthy weight is tied to a longer life expectancy. So, be more like a vegetarian to increase your life expectancy and live healthier.

Vegetarians who followed a vegan diet lost more weight than those who did not, noted one study who saw a total weight loss of around 2.52 kilograms more than non-vegetarian dieters.

Vegetarians who do consume dairy products and eggs lost around 1.48 kilograms more than those on a non-vegetarian diet.

People following vegetarian diets that prescribe a lower than normal intake of calories also lost weight than those without any such limitations being placed on their eating habits.

According to researchers, the abundant intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables might play a role in the favourable results seen in vegetarian diets.

One study looked at vegetarian or vegan diets and its multiple health outcomes was further analysed.

Eighty-six cross-sectional and 10 cohort prospective studies were included in the analysis.

The analysis reported significant reduced levels of body mass index, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and glucose levels in vegetarians and vegans versus omnivores.

The study concluded a significant protective effect of a vegetarian diet versus the incidence and/or mortality from ischemic heart disease and incidence from total cancer.

“Vegan diet conferred a significant reduced risk of incidence from total cancer,” added the study.
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