The BBC's 'How to Stay Young' broadcast on Thursdays at 9pm offers some fascinating research:
Smoking, weight, lack of exercise and stress are clearly contributors to a shorter life. But this program also showed that cutting down on meat, eating more high resistance starch, and snacking on nuts can significantly slow the ageing process and cut the risk of an early death.
Not to suggest we all cut out meat completely but give this some thought: animal protein in meat stimulates a hormone for growth, fine when we're young, but as we get older the same hormone speeds up the ageing process. A study in a town in California found that vegans were 50% less likely to get heart disease and their overall mortality was reduced by a quarter compared to meat eaters.
As we get older we tend to store fat around the organs. Eating high resistance starch, like lentils and chickpeas, was shown to help prevent this (as well as exercise and lower sugar intake of course!). And we should eat more nuts, walnuts are best. The research found that those who ate a handful of nuts 5 times a week halved the risk of a heart attack.
The program also suggests getting a dog and taking up dancing to give yourself the best chance of staying young! Well worth watching at 9pm on Thursdays!