Eating our way to a healthier old age

I am very keen to live to a ripe old age, but only if I can be slim and fit and retain every last one of my marbles.  Every piece of advice that I have read (and I must admit to a slightly worrying addiction to health care research) suggests that eating well is one strategy that will make my twilight years altogether bouncier and more enjoyable.  So, how should I go about doing this?

The Mediterranean diet has strong research to suggest that it helps protect us from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  This means (for me at least) that if I ask myself the simple question: do I crave this food, and if the answer is a resounding yes, then I should never, ever eat it!  Hmmm… To be more specific, the things we should avoid if we want to keep fit and keep our marbles are:  too much meat, sugar, dairy and carbohydrates (which are converted into sugar by our bodies).

A plate a colourful salad
Try to eat a range of multi coloured vegetables

The things we should be munching are: lots of vegetables, fruit, peas and beans, plus a modicum of fish and chicken.  The oils we should eat (and we do need oils) should be unsaturated, for example oils coming from nuts, olives, fish and avocado.  If what we see on our plates is a riot of colour it is likely to be good for us.  Alternatively, it could be Smarties!

So, what should a person such as myself, who could happily survive on chocolate cake eat?  For me, the trick is to find things I like that are not bad for me, and gorge on those instead.  If I tell myself I am going to eat something I like, rather than lecturing myself on what I should avoid, it is altogether more doable.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a person who gets excited by nibbling on a lettuce leaf, however ‘peppery’ its flavour, but I do, for example, love avocados, mushed up with cottage cheese and served on oat biscuits with just a bit more salt than is good for me.  I also think that salad tastes good with French dressing and toasted nuts and seeds.

And now it is time for me to stop writing and make my way into the kitchen, where there are avocados aplenty plus other multi-coloured delights such as blue berries and little tinky, tiny terribly tasty tomatoes… Hmmm…. And, I happen to know there are also… Smarties!

Candy coated chocolates
Photo by Evan Amps

Sources for this article, and videos worth watching:

 

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