How to live longer: A doctor divulges key dietary principles – top tips

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GP Dr Tim Lebens highlighted how you can extend your lifespan by making a few, simple tweaks to your diet. First, Lebens addressed the obesity crisis here in the UK – giving tips on how you can shed the excess weight. “Obesity [is] responsible for many chronic disease,” started Lebens. One key principle to leading a healthier lifestyle is to “stop eating when you are 80 percent full”.

“Eat more slowly and use smaller plates,” advised Lebens. “It takes 20 minutes for your gut to tell your brain when you are full.”

“If you eat slowly, you will get full on less,” the doctor promised.

As well as portion control, eliminating sugar from the diet is recommended.

“Sugar is one go the biggest silent killers,” said Lebens. “The palate can take a couple of weeks to adjust, [but] you will notice the benefits of a sugar-free diet.”

Dr Lebens proposed enriching your natural gut bacteria with probiotics and prebiotics – both of which are available as supplements.

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Referencing the Blue Zones – geographical locations where longevity prevails, such as Sardinia – diets are heavily plant-based.

Legumes, such as lentils, peas, nuts, soybeans and chickpeas are nutritious, containing “essential nutrients, protein and carbohydrate”.

The Blue Zones seldom eat meat, but if you do enjoy red meat Dr Lebens suggested limiting your intake up to three times per month “as a treat”.

“White meat may be better, but still not ideal,” commented De Lebens.

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When putting a dish together, “follow the rainbow” – a colourful plate of food will most likely contain a high proportion of healthy vegetables.

Good fats are also part of a healthy diet; examples include “nuts, oily fish, olive and coconut oil, and avocado”.

“Try not to add salt to your diet,” added Leben. “In total an adult should have no more than one teaspoon of salt per day (6g).”

Leben stated: “You would be surprised how much is added to snacks and prepared foods.”

In addition to food, diet also involves paying attention to the liquids you consume.

“There are benefits to drinking tea and coffee,” said Leben, such as green tea which has antioxidant properties.

“However, more than four cups of coffee per day may cause unwanted effects.”

Unwanted side effects include anxiety or high blood pressure, with any coffee ideally consumed “before midday”.

“Coffee can impact your natural melatonin and sleep cycle,” he explained.

Keeping well hydrated involves aiming for two litres of fluid per day.

Yet, alcohol is best off the menu – most of the time. “Try to have at least three days of ‘alcohol free’ days per week,” advised Leben.

If you risk going over one glass of red wine (or two for men) in a day, Leben said “it’s best not to drink at all”.

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