We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
It’s no secret that diet plays a key part in our health, however, one food might be especially good for us, when eaten as a part of a healthy diet. According to the NHS, eating a balanced healthy diet means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Consultant Dietitian to California Walnuts, Sian Porter notes there is a growing body of evidence that healthy eating habits may have a beneficial impact on healthy ageing.
For example, research suggests certain dietary patterns such as the mediterranean diet may help to protect and maintain brain and cognitive health.
She said: “Researchers have revealed that the nutrients found in walnuts, which are an integral part of the mediterranean diet, contain bioactive compounds, antioxidants and fatty acids that may help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and maintain brain structure and function.”
Indeed, a number of studies have explored the link between walnuts and healthy ageing.
Sian noted researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher walnut consumption may be associated with a lower risk of death and an increase in life expectancy among older adults.
She said: “Outcomes from another epidemiological project, found that women in their late 50s and early 60s who consumed at least two servings of walnuts per week had a greater likelihood of healthy ageing compared to those who did not eat walnuts.”.
Moreover, she said research shows the inclusion of walnuts in the diet improves cardiovascular health, which is itself a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases and age- related cognitive decline.
She added that many studies are observational, and other lifestyle habits which are more common in adults who eat these foods could also contribute to the study results.
The “MIND” diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, can also bolster the brain against decline, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Indeed the National Institute of Ageing says: “Many studies suggest that what we eat affects the ageing brain’s ability to think and remember.”
It notes that the MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention and encourages leafy green vegetables, “at least six servings/week”.
It says: “One study, based on older adults’ reports of their eating habits, found that eating a daily serving of leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale was associated with slower age-related cognitive decline, perhaps due to the neuroprotective effects of certain nutrients.”
It adds: “Not all studies have shown a link between eating well and a boost in cognition.
“Overall, the evidence suggests, but does not prove, that following a Mediterranean or similar diet might help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s dementia or slow cognitive decline.”
The NHS also outlined other healthy diet habits. It says: “Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.”
Some fat in the diet is essential, but on average people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.
It adds: “Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of getting heart disease or having a stroke.”
It says starchy foods should make up just over a third of everything you eat, which means your meals should be based on these foods.
It adds: “There’s evidence that people who eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.”
See today’s front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.