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Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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Knowing what to eat and what to avoid is half the battle when it comes to improving your health. However, experts remain divided on specifics, such as the optimal amount of meat to pack in your diet. There has been an explosion of interest in plant-based diets in recent years due to their purported health benefits.

To try and settle the debate – or at least further it – researchers examined whether a very low meat intake (less than weekly) contributes to greater longevity.

To gather their findings, they reviewed data from six prospective cohort studies and reported new findings on the life expectancy of long-term vegetarians from the Adventist Health Study.

Adventist Health Study explores the links between lifestyle, diet and disease among Seventh-day Adventists.

Some key observations stuck out of the review of six studies.

The researchers found a very low meat intake was associated with a significant decrease in risk of death in four studies.

There was a “nonsignificant” decrease in risk of death in the fifth study, buy cheap viagra with dapoxetine online mastercard and virtually no association in the sixth study.

Two of the studies in which a low meat intake significantly decreased mortality risk also indicated that a longer duration (up to two decades) of adherence to this diet contributed to a significant decrease in mortality risk and a significant increase in life expectancy.

What’s more, the protective effect of a very low meat intake seems to “attenuate after the ninth decade”, they researchers wrote.

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“Some of the variation in the survival advantage in vegetarians may have been due to marked differences between studies in adjustment for confounders, the definition of vegetarian, measurement error, age distribution, the healthy volunteer effect, and intake of specific plant foods by the vegetarians.”

They concluded: “Current prospective cohort data from adults in North America and Europe raise the possibility that a lifestyle pattern that includes a very low meat intake is associated with greater longevity.”

How to eat less meat

“Try to eat at least five 80g portions of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced fruit and vegetables a day,” advises the NHS.

“As well as vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables provide fibre, which can help digestion and prevents constipation.”

According to the health body, starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals, rice and pasta should make up just over a third of the food you eat.

“Where possible, choose whole grain varieties.”

Additional tips

A healthy diet should be complemented with regular exercise to enhance longevity.

It can help you manage your weight, reduce your risk of developing many health conditions and prevent mental health problems.

Being active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, heading out for a run or playing a sport.

“It can be as simple as having a brisk walk to and from work instead of getting in the car,” notes Bupa.

According to the health body, what’s important is to sit less and move more, whatever activity you choose.

“Any activity is better than none but the more you can do, the better.”

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