Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
The path to longevity is precarious, with the threat of serious chronic diseases lurking at every corner.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy ageing, a study, published in the journal Aging, proposes a lifestyle regimen that could reverse your biological age in as little as eight weeks.
Based on simple tweaks to diet, exercise and sleep, the regimen could wind back the clock by as much as 11 years.
What’s more, the dietary pattern still makes room for meat, which is often left out or kept to a minimum in many longevity diets.
Looking at six healthy women who were on average 58 years old, the research team from the University of Virginia instructed the participants to follow a diet including plenty of leafy greens, seeds and three servings of liver.
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The women were also asked to exercise for 30 minutes five days a week, sleep for at least seven hours a night and do two ten-minute breathing exercises per day.
The findings showed that these interventions reduced their biological age by nearly five years on average.
However, one participant’s biological age fell by a whopping 11 years during the study.
Dr Kara Fitzgerald, the lead author, said: “This case series of women participants extends the previous pilot study of this intervention in men, indicating that favourable biological age changes may be achievable in both sexes.”
What did the participants eat?
The women had to enjoy plenty of vegetables, including two cups of dark leafy greens, two cups of cruciferous vegetables, and three cups of colourful vegetables every day.
They were also administered a daily dose of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, half a cup of berries, and half a teaspoon of rosemary or turmeric.
Furthermore, every person had to eat six pounds of meat per day, three ounces of liver per week and five to ten eggs weekly as well.
When it came to drinks, the women were instructed to have up to eight cups of water per day.
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The cohort also took probiotics and green powder supplements every 24 hours.
While what they included in their diet was crucial, what the women avoided also played a role in the research.
The participants were instructed to avoid foods with added sugar or candy, dairy, grains and legumes or beans.
Furthermore, the dietary regime was meant to be eaten over a 12-hour window every day, which was set to be from 7am to 7pm.
Apart from tweaking their diet, the study cohort also had to do 30-minute moderate to high-intensity exercise sessions five days a week – think running or cycling.
Their adherence to this lifestyle regime was tracked via daily reports on an app.
Overall, the women followed the plan 82 percent of the time, but they were more likely to adhere to the diet than the other lifestyle targets.
Despite the striking findings, the study had several limitations, including no clarity about which factor was driving the reduction in biological age.
Other limitations included a small sample size as they were only six healthy women included in the research.
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