How to stay young: A Mediterranean diet and smart choices can help you stay healthy

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diet

The best way to ensure you age well through food choices is the Mediterranean diet (Image: OksanaKiian/Getty Images)

“It’s simple: if you eat well, you age well. In fact, you can reverse much of the ageing process by packing your diet with healthy, mind-boosting foods,” he says. With all the conflicting nutritional advice around at the moment, Rick says many people are unsure about what they should and shouldn’t eat. “As a result, poor choices are made – and these choices can be ageing.”

The good news, however, is that every part of the body benefits when you eat an anti-ageing diet.

“It’s well known that what you eat affects skin and a good diet is key to a radiant complexion,” says Rick. “The same principle applies to the rest of the body. “We may not be able to see what’s inside, but we can use the food we eat to anti-age there too.”

Here, Rick explains what you should eat to turn back the clock.

GO MEDITERRANEAN 

The best way to ensure you age well through food choices is the Mediterranean diet. It is well documented that the cuisines of Spain, Italy, Greece and the South of France are good for us, and that is down to the oils, spices, colour and – best of all – variety they offer.

It’s not about getting hung up on “eating clean”. Indeed the Mediterranean diet also contains red wine.

But a diet containing healthy oils, lean meat and an abundance of colourful fruit and veg has been shown to be very good for the cardiovascular system.And when your heart is healthy, you are more mobile, leading to improved fitness. The diet also contains oils that benefit joint health and nourishing nutrients that will keep skin glowing.

vegetables

We should be eating a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables (Image: AlexRaths/Getty Images)

RAINBOW DIET 

The main problem with the average UK diet is that we don’t eat enough colourful food.

Much of what we eat is beige. Croissants, sandwiches, takeaways, fast food, junk food – they’re filling but nutrient poor, processed and full of fat, salt and sugar.

And with so much on offer, it has never been so easy to eat badly.

Instead, we should be eating a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables. Those colours – the vibrant reds, oranges, purples and greens – deliver the phytonutrients that keep us healthy, for example antioxidants in blueberries or curcuminoids in turmeric.

The body uses phytonutrients to reduce inflammation, which is one of the main causes of ageing, so it’s essential to include as wide a variety as possible in your meals.

A WEIGHTY ISSUE 

Weight is very important when it comes to health and how we age.

In the UK one in four adults is obese – and that number is rising.

European Congress of Obesity research has revealed that in Britain alone, 40,000 premature deaths could be avoided if obesity was wiped out within the next decade.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help to keep your weight within a normal range. However, eating a rainbow can help too.

Colourful foods, which generally tend to be plant-based, are good sources of fibre.And when you eat more fibre, you stay fuller for longer and are less likely to eat more and put on weight.

EAT LESS MEAT 

The modern diet relies too heavily on meat.While it’s fine to include it in your diet, we were not designed to be wholly carnivorous.

From a physiological point of view, we should only eat meat a couple of times a week. But instead many people eat it daily, and that meat is often processed and full of fat and salt.

It’s a generational thing. Our parents were taught to eat meat because it was the most expensive thing on the plate.

This is good economic advice, but not good nutrition. If you replace half the meat on your plate with a handful of green leafy veg, your skin will improve and your gut will function better.

For more nutritional information visit rickhay.co.uk

meat

We should eat less meat (Image: ac_bnphotos/Getty Images)

Don’t forget to feed your skin

Now you know the right foods to keep you glowing from inside, what about the ingredients that will take on dryness and wrinkles? Slathering on a silky skin cream can cost a pretty penny – more than £300 for some luxury brands.

But there is no point forking out huge sums for lotions unless they contain the right active ingredients to feed and plump your complexion.

Here is what you need to keep your skin looking young: 

RETINOL: This is the key ingredient, say experts. Derived from Vitamin A, it contains anti-ageing properties that can reverse damage, smooth out wrinkles and lessen dark areas.

VITAMINS C AND E: These skin-nourishing saviours are vital for shielding your skin from stress plus damaging environmental factors such as strong sunlight and pollution.

PEPTIDES: Think of peptides as a network of effective communicators for your skin. They are small chains of amino acids that build protein, the foundation of our bodies. When they are abundant, peptides create new collagen and elastin fibres to stave off wrinkles.

CBD OIL: Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the cannabis plant, is popular among those seeking pain relief and help for epilepsy. Now it is being taken up by the beauty world, with scientists at the University of Technology Sydney trialling its anti-ageing properties with medicinal marijuana company Bod Australia. Initial research suggests CBD may have some antioxidant properties.

WONDERFUL WAYS TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK – FROM HEAD TO TOE

A healthy clear complexion is key to a youthful look.

  • Snack on nuts and seeds, which contain nourishing vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids to help moisturise and plump skin.
  • Citrus fruits, peppers and berries are rich in vitamin C which supports collagen production.
  • Avocado contains vitamin A for overall skin health and essential fatty acids for a moisture boost.
  • Sweet potatoes help with immune function and boost vitamin A levels.

JOINTS

Good mobility will allow you to exercise and will keep you looking and feeling younger.

  • Ginger, garlic and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties so add them to curries, soups and casseroles.
  • Research has shown oily fish such as mackerel and salmon reduces joint inflammation
  • Swap coffee for green tea, which boosts collagen production, improving cartilage health.

greentea

Green tea boosts collagen production, improving cartilage health (Image: kazoka30/Getty Images)

HEART

Your heart keeps your whole body going, so give it a helping hand.

  • Red onion is rich in quercetin, which boosts blood flow. Chop it into salads and stir-fries.
  • Salmon and chia seeds provide protective heart-healthy omega fats.
  • Asparagus is known to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that is linked to the onset of heart disease.
  • Legumes or fish Mackerel pulses such as lentils, beans and chickpeas are high in fibre to keep cholesterol levels healthy.

LIVER

The liver works hard behind the scenes to cleanse the body of damaging toxins that can cause ageing.

  • Grapefruit reduces inflammation and speeds up fat metabolism, so have some with your breakfast.
  • Drizzle olive oil over salads to help with liver enzyme health.
  • Studies show that oily fish, fish oil, coffee, nuts, tea, red wine, avocado and olive oil all help to reduce fatty liver.

blueberries

Blueberries contain brain-protecting anthocyanins and help with memory (Image: Massimo Rubino / EyeEm / Getty Images)

BRAIN

Keeping your mind dish: can young, active and healthy is essential to ageing well.

  • Try a turmeric latte. The spice contains curcumin and curcuminoids to boost overall brain health.
  • Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. They contain brain-protecting anthocyanins and help with memory.
  • Switch to wholegrains, which contain B vitamins to boost concentration and focus.

HAIR

Glossy locks will help you look and feel your best.

  • Organic eggs contain protein and biotin, which strengthen hair and boost shine. Wholegrains are a good source of biotin too.
  • Ensure that you eat high-protein foods such as pulses, which help with overall hair health and growth.
  • Encourage growth by eating beetroot, which aids circulation and provides essential iron.

chickpeas

Chickpeas contain zinc, which supports good vision (Image: margouillatphotos/Getty Images)

EYES

A nutritious diet will keep your eyes sparkling and healthy.

  • Leafy greens such as cabbage, lettuce and kale are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that boost eye health.
  • Foods rich in betacarotene such as carrots, mango and apricots will help protect the eyes ZINC Tasty and keep them healthy.
  • Chickpeas contain zinc, which supports good vision.

GUT

A healthy gut is good for the whole body and will boost energy levels generally.

  • Fermented foods help support your microbiome, the billions of friendly bacteria that live in the gut. Look for miso (soya bean), tempeh (soya bean), kimchi (cabbage) and kefir (milk).
  • Bitter foods like rocket, chicory and endive aid digestion.
  • Add supergreens chlorella and spirulina to smoothies for a gut-friendly nutrient boost.

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