How to live longer is a question many people want to know the answer to and one of the biggest factors is diet. Too much sugar and fat can be detrimental to a person’s health – eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions is advised. But when it comes to adding years onto your life expectancy, is eating meat or a plant-based diet key? If you look at the communities in the world with the longest life expectancies, one of the key things they are is a mainly plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, according to medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow.
In their book titled ‘Eat Better Live Longer’ the pair say eating a plant-based diet has a host of health benefits.
They explain: “Studies show that diets based mainly on plants are linked to a reduction in mortality, and from cardiovascular disease especially.”
One of the key ingredients of a plant-based diet is fibre, as only plants contain this vital nutrient.
The ladies write: “When we eat fibre-rich foods we are less likely to overeat, making it easier to stay a healthy weight.
“And fibre also has body-wide benefits relating to heart disease, bowel complaints and certain cancers.”
But you don’t need to be 100 per cent vegetarian to benefit.
The duo go on: “A 2015 study found that diets comprising 70 per cent plant-based foods cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 per cent, so the priority is to obtain most nutrients from plants.”
Scandinavian’s famously eat meat and countries in this region, such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, rank highly in the life expectancy stakes.
People in this part of the world tend to include oily fish in their diet on a regular basis alongside wholegrain, leafy greens fruit and nuts.
As suggested before, they limit red meat, except for small amounts of game meat.
Eggs are eaten all over the world and are included in a healthy, balanced diet.
But how many eggs should you be eating a week to reap the benefits?
Around six eggs a week is the recommendation by Ms Kellow and Dr Brewer.
While eggs have high cholesterol content research shows that cholesterol in food generally has little impact on blood cholesterol levels or heart disease risk (except for people with a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia).
Hen eggs provide good-quality protein, which is important for healthy muscles, and quail eggs are rich in iron, but you need to eat three quail’s eggs to get the same amount of iron as from one hen’s eggs.
Duck eggs contain five times more vitamin A then regular hen’s eggs, but do contain more fat.