Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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When ascertaining ways to help boost your longevity and live a life disease-free, turning to other countries that boast an impressive lifespan is key. Although still not fully embraced in Western culture, a diet filled with more beans, pulses, lentils or chickpeas can help reduce a number of serious illnesses while increasing one’s lifespan.
Research conducted in Japan, Sweden, Greece, and Australia have found that all have a longer lifespan than other countries.
Many believe this comes down to their love of beans and legumes which are popular staples in those countries.
The Japanese consume soybeans and the Swedish eat brown beans and peas.
While Mediterranean people are fond of lentils, chickpeas, and white beans.
Therefore, it makes sense to attribute a longer and healthier life to eating more legumes.
Lentils form part of the ‘supergroup’ pulses, which have a number of health benefits, according to dietitian Juliette Kellow and nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer.
They’re packed full of protein and fibre, which help patients to feel fuller for longer.
Subsequently, eating lentils could stop you from snacking, and may even help you to eat less overall.
“Good intakes of pulses [what are the dried seeds of legume plants], such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and dried peas, are linked to a host of health benefits, reducing the risk of many age-related problems, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” they wrote in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer – Understand What Your Body Needs To Stay Healthy’.
Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent sources of fibre and plant-based protein to stabilise blood sugar and keep cravings at bay.
They also help nourish a healthy microbiome.
In the gut microbiome, the “good” bacteria do more than just help with digestion.
They help keep your “bad” bacteria in check and they multiply so often that the unhealthy kind don’t have space to grow.
When a person has a healthy balance of bacteria in their gut, it’s called equilibrium and helps boost longevity.
One study found that for every 20g intake of legumes (beans, peas, etc.), the risk of death fell by 6 percent.
Pulses have often been overlooked because they are difficult to cook or take too long to prepare.
Tim McGreevy CEO of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council and the American Pulse Association said: “There are so many more options now. You can get flash-frozen chickpeas or canned beans, which makes it really easy, like two or three minutes of cooking time. What people don’t realize is that lentils don’t need to soak, and they take just about as long to cook as it does to boil pasta. People don’t scoff at cooking pasta.
“Lentils are also a great weight loss food, and an excellent source of nutrients for all, but are particularly useful for vegans and vegetarians,” added Kellow and Dr Brewer.
“Pulses can help us to manage our weight. They have a low glycaemic index, so keep blood sugar steady and prevent energy slumps that lead to snacking.
“They’re also packed with protein and fibre – a magic combination for improving fullness so you eat less overall.
“Studies show a daily serving of 80g offers the best health benefits – choose a variety to ensure a range of nutrients.”
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