How To Live Longer: Cook With These Twenty Ingredients Regularly To Promote Longevity
Dr Aamer Khan is the co- founder of Harley Street Skin, pioneer of regenerative medicine and author of the book Turn Back Time. He believes certain foods can promote longevity and stellar health in old age.
A long life expectancy can be achieved through eating a healthy diet. The science is clear: whilst certain foods and drinks contribute to good health others can help boost longevity.
As inflammation is the ‘big ager’, anti-inflammatory ingredients are vital. These include ginger, which contains chemicals that are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Turmeric is another, and actually works to inhibit chronic inflammatory signals in the body which can prevent joint damage, arthritis, heart disease and liver damage.
Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that limits the effect of pro-inflammatory cytokines and can even prevent cartilage damage. Rosemary is also a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
Lavender helps the body to produce glutathione, an antioxidant naturally produced in the liver that aids immune function which makes it a great addition to any diet.
Immune support is also vital when trying to help boost life expectancy and many of the anti-inflammatories do provide it. This includes thyme which contains thymol, a compound with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can be found in dental products.
Blueberries moreover are a known superfood, as they contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, dietary fibre and manganese as well as flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps reduce damage to cells.
Dark green vegetables i.e. spinach and kale are rich in beta-carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A, an essential nutrient needed for eye and skin health as well as immunity.
Vitamin E found in nuts such as walnuts is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria and can help you to beat the common cold. Tomatoes and chilli peppers meanwhile have a high concentration of vitamin C which can be a great boost to immune function and wound healing.
Foods such as avocado, almonds, and oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are also good for vitamin E, a rich antioxidant that reduces cellular stress, helps lower your chances of heart disease and may help with high blood pressure. Aim for two servings a week.
Milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are good sources of protein and some vitamins, and they're also an important source of calcium, for healthy bones. Try to eat lower fat and sugar products where possible i.e. reduced-fat cheese and plain low-fat yoghurt.
Vitamin C and bioflavonoids help to keep you glowing. Baobab fruit contains 6 times the vitamin C of an orange. High in vitamin C and antioxidants, Baobab is nature's remedy for a strong immune system, whilst grapefruit gets rid of unwanted cellular junk due to its high vitamin C and lycopene content.
Calcium, vitamin D, protein, vitamin B12, zinc, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium are all necessary for healthy bones.
Typically, a person who eats a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins can get all the vitamins they need in their food. However, those who eat less fruit and vegetables, and those with digestive conditions may need to take a vitamin supplement to reduce or avoid a deficiency.
Lab studies have shown capsaicin, which is found in spicy foods such as chillies, jalapeño peppers and cayenne peppers, has strong anti-cancer properties, capable of killing over 40 types of cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Capsaicin has been shown to fight cancer by stopping the growth and division of cancer cells, slowing the formation of new blood vessels around cancer tumours, and preventing cancer from spreading to other areas of the body.
Minerals are the second type of micronutrients. There are two groups of minerals: major and trace minerals. The body needs a balance of minerals from both groups for optimal health.
Major minerals are calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium and sodium chloride. They help the body to balance water levels, maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails and improve bone health.
Trace minerals are: Iron, selenium, zinc, fluoride, iodine, manganese, copper, chromium, molybdenum and help with strengthening bones, preventing tooth decay, aiding blood clotting, carrying oxygen and help to support the immune system and blood pressure.
A mineral-rich diet should include certain foods such as red meats (limited once or twice a week), seafood, poultry, milk and other dairy products as well as egg yolks.
Iodized table salt is another essential way of getting minerals, as are vegetables and leafy greens along with fruits and fortified bread and cereals. Whole grains, beans and legumes and nuts and seeds all also form part of a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.