Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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How to extend your lifespan is an open-ended question but scientific research has come up with some general solutions. Eating a healthy balanced diet provides a defensive barrier against chronic disease, for example. Research continues to refine our understanding of the specific dietary components that can help us to achieve longevity goals.
Rhodiola Rosea extract has attracted interest for its perceived anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties.
Rhodiola rosea is a relatively rare and high-value medicinal plant that grows at high altitudes in the arctic and mountainous regions throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
It has traditionally been taken as a supplement to enhance physical and mental performance and fighting stress but research suggests the health benefits are not confined to these areas.
Results from recent studies have revealed its wide variety of other medicinal properties and/or biological activities, which include anti-aging and and anti-cancer effects, according to a review published in the journal Springer Link.
The review summarised the literature supporting the health benefits and and biological mechanisms of Rhodiola Rosea extracts.
Take anti-ageing effects first. The review found that rhodiola rosea extracts can extend lifespan in a range of model organisms, such as fruit flies, worms, and yeast.
Rhodiola rosea extract also delayed the age-related decline of physical activity and immune functions, and increased stress resistance.
The review cited several studies demonstrating the anticancer activities of rhodiola rosea extracts.
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Test-tube studies have shown that it inhibits the growth of bladder, colon, breast and liver cancer cells.
Researchers have extrapolated from these findings that rhodiola rosea may be useful in the treatment of many types of cancer.
General dietary tips to boost longevity
One of most important contributors to a long life is t eat a healthy, balanced diet.
“This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight,” explains the NHS.
The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
- Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- Drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day).
What to avoid
There are also a number of poor dietary decisions that can shorten your lifespan so are best to be avoided.
One of the biggest risk factors for cancer is being overweight or obese and eating an unhealthy diet fuels weight gain, for example.
According to World Cancer Research Fund, eating fast foods, such as chips and fried chicken, or other processed foods that are high in fat and sugar (like chocolate, crisps and biscuits) can make you gain weight, and there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese is a cause of 12 types of cancer.
What’s more, processed foods contain saturated fat and eating lots of saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
UK health guidelines recommend that the average man aged 19 to 64 years should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day.
The average woman aged 19 to 64 years should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.
“It’s also recommended that people reduce their overall fat intake and replace saturated fat with some unsaturated fat, including omega-3 fats,” advises the NHS.
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