It's a great fact that eating a nutrient-packed diet is the easiest way to live a long, healthy life. The average woman in the UK lives to 79.9 years, but experts believe you can extend this by an impressive 10-15 years with the right nutrition. Luckily this doesn't mean avoiding jammy doughnuts forever. Food is one of life's pleasures, and not giving yourself treats would be a real shame. So if you have had a 'bad' day, don't worry. It's not the takeaway meal you had last night that determines your health, but the nutrient-rich meals you eat day in, day out.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables:
The most anti-ageing foods you can eat are the ones that help mop up free radicals in your body. It's no surprise that they're mostly fresh fruit and vegetables. Try fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries, kiwi fruit, pink grapefruit, apples, tomatoes, and cantaloupe melons. Vegetable choices include steamed spinach, broccoli, beetroot, onion, corn, aubergine, green leafy vegetables, red bell peppers, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and carrots.
Locally Grown Organic Foods:
Experts advise eating these as much as possible, as they provide more vitamins and minerals than non-organic foods.
Eat at least once a day. Best choices are organic chicken or fresh fish, and vegetarians can get their protein from soya-based foods plus kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, and eggs. Nuts (try almonds, cashews, Brazils and hazelnuts) and seeds (such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, and linseeds) are also a good source of protein and provide important essential fatty acids.
Eat more of these, which are high in nutrients and fibre. And experiment. A large proportion of our diet comes from just 19 foods, but the greater the variety of food you eat, the more nutrients you'll consume.
Don't wait until you're dehydrated to down a glass of water. The mechanism that makes you thirsty becomes less effective with age, so you may have to start drinking to feel like drinking more. Make an effort to drink at least four to six large glasses of water a day (about two litres), and your skin will feel softer by the end of it. And choose room temperature water as ice-cold chills your stomach, making it more difficult for you to absorb nutrients.
Sugar: This is not only very addictive, but also very ageing. It wreaks havoc with your digestive system and also destroys collagen production, causing premature ageing. Sugar is in most processed foods, not to mention fizzy drinks, crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolates, which all contain large amounts. If you feel sleepy after a meal, chances are you're suffering a sugar overload. Cut down on processed TV dinners, canned foods and your intake of 'white' foods ( think bread, rice, pasta), as these are all highly processed and lacking in the goodness of their brown alternatives.
Alcohol: Alcohol extracts water from every cell in your body, causing dehydration and accelerated ageing. It also generates large amounts of ageing free radicals and strains your liver, causing a build-up of toxins that shows in your skin as wrinkles and broken blood vessels. Excessive alcohol can result in many health problems, from depression to fatigue. So avoid drinking it and make sure you eat foods that cleanse and support the liver, including broccoli, globe artichokes, cauliflower, beetroot, radishes and fennel. And drink dandelion-root tea, a great liver cleanser.