How to live longer: Doctor shares four simple and cheap dietary hacks to boost longevity

Fitness & Health:

Longevity is a universal aim but not everyone starts off on the same footing. Money buys time and know-how but prolonging your lifespan is not the preserve of the well-heeled. Speaking to the, GP Dr Nisa Aslam and advisor to outlined the cheap and simple dietary hacks that can promote longevity.

According to Dr Aslam, one simple tweak is to eat low fat dairy food, particularly plain yogurt.

She explained: “Plain low-fat yogurt is rich in calcium which is vital for bone health and is low in fat, with the added benefit of no additional free sugar.”

Dr Aslam added: “Yogurt also provides healthy bacteria to help balance the gut microbial population in a healthy direction.”


She cited emerging research that suggests regular consumption of fermented milk products such as yogurt increases the population of bifidobacterial and lactobacilli and may help to improve immune function.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Seven ways you can minimise your risk of cancer

Purple up

Another longevity booster is to eat more purple plants in the form of blackcurrants from New Zealand.

“Purple plants are often forgotten or disliked yet they are a power-house of antioxidants and this applies particularly to New Zealand blackcurrants which are the world’s richest source of anthocyanin antioxidants,” she explained.

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Antioxidants are compounds which play a key role in protecting our bodies.

Research shows that blackcurrants grown in New Zealand and taken in a blackcurrant supplement – CurraNZ – have extra special health benefits as they have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and vasodilatory effects, which means they help suppress harmful inflammation in the body, promote healing and repair, boost immunity and help with heart health needs,” reported Dr Aslam.

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She also cited published data that shows how the ageing clock on arteries and blood vessels was turned back by 10 years by consuming CurraNZ for one week.

Other scientific studies also illustrate how the same New Zealand blackcurrant supplement also improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity – markers of diabetes.

Increase your salmon intake

“Salmon is an abundant source of vitamin D which we all need more of,” says Dr Aslam.

Why is vitamin D so important?

Dr Aslam referred to evidence from population studies, which indicated an association between low levels of vitamin D and health troubles such as cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

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“Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with a raised risk of death from COVID and severity of disease,” she reported.

What’s more, Dr Aslam cited preliminary research from a 20-year follow-up of more than 78,000 Austrian adults (presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona) found that those with low vitamin D levels in their blood were nearly three times more likely to die during the study period than those with adequate levels.

How to top up vitamin D

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.

But between October and early March we do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods:

  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.

“In the UK, cows’ milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries,” adds the NHS.

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