Healthy foods for long life

(Source: British Nutrition Foundation)

Particularly good for Important food component Great food sources
The heart Unsaturated fatty acids Vegetable oils and reduced fat spreads, nuts, seeds, avocados
Heart, brain, joints Long chain Omega 3s Oily fish
Gut & heart Insoluble fibre Wholegrain foods, nuts, seeds, vegetables, skins of some fruits including tomatoes
The heart Soluble fibre Pulses, oats, rye, barley, some fruits and vegetables, potatoes
Muscle, immune system Protein Protein Lean meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, pulses, quorn, soya products
All body systems Antioxidants, Vitamin C Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruits, melon, kiwi
Prostate Lycopene Tomatoes, guava, apricots, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit
All body systems Beta-carotene Dark green, yellow and orange fruit and vegetables – carrot, pumpkin, spinach melon
Eyes Lutein/zeaxanthin Kiwi fruit, grapes, spinach, kale, broccoli, red and orange peppers
All body systems Vitamin E Plant oils, nuts, seeds, watermelon
Prostate, immune system Selenium Brazil nuts, bread, fish including shellfish, meat, eggs
The heart & brain Folate Leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, wholegrain products, liver, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals
Bone Vitamin K Green leafy vegetables, liver, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, some fruits (rhubarb, kiwi)
Bones & Heart Calcium Low/reduced fat milk/dairy products, fortified soya products, bread, canned fish (with bones)
Heart Potassium Root vegetables, fruit, lentils, beans, fish, milk, yogurt, nuts
Blood Iron Liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, wholegrain foods, fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables
The heart & brain Alcohol in moderation Alcohol (moderate amounts)
Teeth Fluoride Drinking water, tea, fish
Blood, immune system Zinc Meat, shellfish, milk/dairy foods, bread, cereal products

Healthy ageing

 Eating healthily and regular exercise can protect the body against ageing.In 1840 people lived until 45 and now it’s around 90, but living longer is not always welcome as 10 to 20 years at the end of life are often spent in ill health and pain.

In 2005 there were 1.2 million over 85s in the UK, and no doubt the figure is higher now.There are more people over 65 than there are under 16 but they suffer from a wide range of serious health issues including:

• Diabetes
• Heart disease
• Cancer
• Arthritis
• Obesity
• Dementia
• Disability
• Reduced bone density leading to fractures
• Eye problems

Some 50 per cent of adults claim to be in pain and in the 75+ age group, 60 per cent are in chronic pain and this pain is musculo-skeletal but it is not always arthritis. Being seriously overweight adversely affects all the joints of the body, but particularly the knees.

Healthy nutrition slows down ageing

At a recent British Nutrition Foundation Conference it was claimed that good nutrition defends the body against the ageing process. People who live the longest are those who:

• Do not smoke
• Consume plenty of fruit and vegetables (Vitamin C)
• Have a moderate alcohol intake
• Are physically active

Smoking the worst culprit

The reason for many health problems of all kinds that is cited again and again is smoking which plays a huge role in cancer, heart disease, infertility, poor eyesight, bad circulation, dementia, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, or painful joints is smoking.

Women smoking 20 cigarettes a day have a five fold risk of a heart attack, and
a four fold high risk of a stroke compared to a non smoker. The good news is that:

• If you give up smoking in your 30s you add 10 years on to your life expectancy
• Even if you quit at 60 you add three years.

Pilates for all

Every town and almost every village runs a Pilates class now because so many people have found that it keeps them fit and trim.
In the last 10 years Pilates has taken the UK by storm, but it was developed by Joseph Pilates almost 100 years ago to help him to fight the ill health which had dogged him since childhood. He ended up living until 87 and then died only as a result of a fire in his New York studio!

What is Pilates?

Pilates consists of small precise movements practised lying down or standing, which help you to become aware of the core muscles supporting spine. It helps to improve posture and flexibility, lengthen and tone muscle and strengthen joints, reduce stress, and ease pain. Up to 40 exercises were developed for work on mats, but Pilates can also be machine-based using a mixture of springs, pulleys and straps to provide resistance.

Teacher, author and video presenter of Pilates, Lynne Robinson, explains, ‘All the exercises cover every muscle group in the body but also work on the respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive and even reproductive systems giving them all a boost. Pilates keeps joints mobile and aligned, reducing wear and tear and osteoarthritis, and as exercises weight-bearing they are also good for fending off osteoporosis.

Getting younger and younger

‘Nothing is as ageing as standing badly when you can’t breathe properly and your body sags. When you stand correctly you look and feel younger and move more efficiently. I had a herniated disc in my lumbar spine when I was 35 and I couldn’t even do yoga because my hamstrings were so tight. Now I am nearly 50 and I have a better figure than I did 20 years ago!

‘Learning something new also helps to keep the mind active and the whole process can be rejuvenating. We even have some clients in their 90s doing Pilates!’

Body Control Pilates Association, 0207 379 3734,