Friday, 1 Jul 2022

How to live longer: Key dietary trends to boost longevity and improve mental health

Centenarian reveals SURPRISE drink that helps her live longer

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A healthy diet is synonymous with helping a person reduce their age-related diseases, boost longevity and even improve their mental health. When one hears the word diet, however, images of deprivation and bland foods often spring to mind. This is in fact not true with researchers proving not only how simple it can be for a person to eat their way to a longer lifespan but also help improve their mental health.

People who live in the Blue Zones which include regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the US have been identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world.

These people are said to live long and healthy lives which is in part to their diet but many other aspects, noted researchers.

The key to their longevity is opting for a healthy and delicious diet and maintaining social circles, taking time to de-stress, being part of communities and being committed to their families.

In his new book, Dan Buettner, National Geographic explorer and author who struck out on a quest in 2000 to find the lifestyle secrets to longevity, found some key diet trends among those in Blue Zones which could help you to live a long and healthy life.

These diet trends include:

  • Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full to avoid weight gain.
  • Eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Eat mostly plants, especially beans. And eat meat rarely. Blue Zoners eat portions this size just five times a month, on average.
  • Drink alcohol moderately and regularly such as one to two glasses a day.

A bad diet can also lead to poor mental health.

In particular, eating processed foods or following a diet rich in them, such as the Western diet, can put you at risk for anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

This is what a group of researchers from England discovered after studying research on diet, nutrition and mental health state.

They also found a healthy diet can significantly help with mental issues.

The British scientists studied how nutrition affects mental health and in particular, they studied the effect of diet on the hippocampus – the area of the brain where new cells develop.

This process is known as neurogenesis, which is related to your mood and cognitive abilities.

They found that diets rich in fat and sugar, stress and excessive alcohol consumption – all this has a negative impact on neurogenesis.

On the other hand, the consumption of nutrient-rich foods and a healthy diet promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Other lifestyle changes that can combat the effects of ageing include mental and physical exercise which if practiced routinely will have a positive impact on your lifespan.

Some behaviours can worsen the effects of ageing.

These include drinking, lack of sleep, smoking and stress.

One study conducted by Yale also found that people with a positive perception of aging lived seven years longer.

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