Want to know the secret to longevity? Just rev up your diet with fresh fruits, green tea, fish and red wine
“Breast milk is responsible for higher IQ and leads to lesser chances of having diabetes, hypertension and asthma. It has long term advantages even when the baby grows up into an adult and therefore ensures longevity,” says Dr. Arun Soni, consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s Department of Neonatology.
“It is a complete food for babies. It is hygienic. It gives extra immunity to the body of the baby and protects them from illnesses,” he says.
Dr. Seema Puri of Department of Nutrition at Institute of Home Economics says dietary adjustments may not only influence present health but may determine whether or not an individual will develop diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes much later in life.
Dr. Puri recommends a high intake of vegetables (particularly wild plants), fruits, nuts and cereals mostly in the form of sourdough bread rather than pasta, more olives and olive oil, less milk more cheese, more fish and less meat.
Consumption of specific foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, fish, green tea, red wine, soy, nuts and seeds, garlic and turmeric may also have a beneficial effect on health.
“Scientific evidence increasingly supports the view that alterations in the diet have strong effects both positive and negative on health throughout life,” she says.
Constituents like fibre and several phytochemicals in these foods bestow antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immuno-enhancing properties – all contribute to lowered disease risk and hence increased longevity, experts say.
High fruit and vegetable consumption has been consistently associated with protection against muscular degeneration, visual loss, cataracts, respiratory disease, and breast, stomach and colorectal cancer.
Shashi Mathur, principal dietitian at Ganga Ram hospital cites the Japanese saying they have the world’s longest life expectancy, which has been attributed in part to their increased intake of fruit and fat and reduced intake of salty traditional dishes.
With the number of old in the world increasing due to better living conditions, scientists are renewing their research into what is essential for a long life.
Nutrition is coming to the fore as a major modifiable determinant of chronic disease and age-related decline.
The process of determining the lifeline of an individual in fact begins right after birth with breast milk being touted as the best and complete food which provides an early immunity to the body.