Follow these steps to stay youthful and active and reel back the years
1 Eat the rainbow
Try to fill your plate with red, orange, yellow, green and purple vegetables to get a good range of beneficial plant nutrients. These include antioxidants which reduce harmful free radicals associated with many age-related diseases. Colourful veggies will help your body in lots of ways. For instance, green leaves, pumpkin and sweet potato improve your immune system, while berries, onions and legumes are anti-inflammatory and help fight off allergies and viruses. Broccoli and cauliflower also help by encouraging liver detoxification.
2 Cook low and slow
Instead of searing, grilling, barbecuing and frying food you should pot-roast, braise or slow cook. Fast cooking over dry heat leads to harmful carcinogens and other compounds associated with diabetes and an increased rate of ageing. If you really want to use fast cooking methods, marinade your food first with acidic liquids like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This will act as a buffer against the dry heat so that the proteins and sugar won’t be touched.
3 Cut the sugar
Diets high in sugar lead to poor blood sugar regulation and, eventually, to insulin resistance. This can mean your body no longer responds to the hormone which is responsible for shuttling blood sugar into your cells for use or storage. Studies have shown a clear correlation between high sugar intake and obesity, as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Some of the longest-living communities in the world have diets with a low intake of sugar and minimal refined carbohydrates.
4 Boost good fats
Many degenerative diseases are a result of chronic inflammation in the body. Increasing omega-3 consumption by eating oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies up to three times a week can help combat this inflammation. Excellent vegetarian and vegan sources of omega-3 include hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds. These fats are also essential for maintaining healthy cell membranes, helping stave off wrinkles and boosting brain function. Watch out for refined vegetable oils and margarines which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6.
5 Get your protein
Dietary protein is critical to cellular health, muscle growth and protein synthesis in the body. Muscle wastage often occurs in elderly people with low protein intake and low activity levels. So, to wind back the years, regularly consume high-quality protein including legumes (such as lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans), eggs from naturally bred chickens, wild fish and grass-fed meat.
6 Drink green tea
Green tea contains natural plant chemicals also found in the skin of red grapes and mulberries. These chemicals can promote insulin sensitivity, which reduces your chance of developing diabetes, and plays an important role in regulating the life span of your cells.
Tasha D’Cruz is a Natural Chef graduate from The College of Naturopathic Medicine, where she is now studying Naturopathic Nutrition. Find out more at naturopathy-uk.com