Drink four cups of green tea a day and enjoy a glass of red wine with meals: The simple diet tweaks to make for a 'longer life' - and the foods to avoid at all costs

  • Some foods, including coffee, chocolate and wine can help you live a longer life 
  • Dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan reveals the foods you should include in your diet 
  • She says foods packed with antioxidants can help with heart disease and cancer

A healthy diet is key if you want to live a longer life, but this doesn't mean you always need to turn your back on the foods you love.

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And the good news is chocolate, coffee and red wine are among the foods touted for longevity as are green tea, garlic and eggs. 

According to Australian dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan these foods are proven to help you live longer because they are packed with age-busting antioxidants.

'Foods that contain antioxidants (known as polyphenols) can reduce inflammation in the body and they help protect your cells from oxidative damage - which is ultimately how we age,' she told Today

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Dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan (pictured) said foods that are high in antioxidants can protect the body from heart disease and other factors that can lead to cancer
Dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan (pictured) said foods that are high in antioxidants can protect the body from heart disease and other factors that can lead to cancer

Foods you should avoid: 

*Soft drink: Research shows that drinking diet soda daily is associated with a 67 per cent greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

* Processed meat: Processed meat contains various chemical compounds that are not naturally present in fresh. . Many of these compounds are harmful to health 

* Red meat: A higher intake of red meat, like hamburgers and steak, has long been associated with heart disease and cancer

Source: Health.com 

Dr McMillan discussed a range of foods on the program, with the first of these being coffee, something she said most assume to be unhealthy.

She said one really interesting study to come of the UK recently found that people drinking up to eight cups of coffee a day were living much longer, and showed a much lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers. 

The expert also said green tea had also been found to be highly beneficial as it too was packed with polyphenols.

But she said you do need to drink 'quite a bit' with the recommended amount being four cups a day.

The expert also said green tea had also been found to be highly beneficial as it too was packed with polyphenols (stock image)
The expert also said green tea had also been found to be highly beneficial as it too was packed with polyphenols (stock image)

Her suggestion was to make a pot in the morning or afternoon and sip this slowly over the course of the day.

Antioxidant-packed berries, dark chocolate and red wine also made the list of foods the dietitian said can contribute to a longer life.

Red wine can be included as a part of a healthy diet, but Dr McMillan said it should only be consumed with meals. 

Red wine can be included as part of a healthy diet, but should only be consumed with meals (stock image)
Red wine can be included as part of a healthy diet, but should only be consumed with meals (stock image)

'This doesn't mean having a bottle a night. That's a glass or two and with meals,' she said.

She explained these foods, including wine, tea and coffee antioxidant-laden foods can help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent heart disease and other factors that can lead to cancer.

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Other foods that can also contribute to a longer life include leafy greens, something the dietitian said people should be eating every day. 

Garlic comes packed with an antioxidant compound called allicin which has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
Garlic comes packed with an antioxidant compound called allicin which has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties

She also said garlic was worth mentioning as it contains a range of different antioxidant-type compounds with allicin being the major one.

Allicin has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre.

Australian guidelines for healthy eating: 

* Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans 

* Fruit

* Wholegrain or high fibre foods including bread, cereal, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley

* Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans

* Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat 

Source: Eatforhealth.govt.au 

'There has been lots of research about the benefits of garlic so try putting your garlic raw into dressings or lightly cooked rather than frying it,' Dr McMillan said.

She also added olive oil was an excellent addition to any diet as not only is it packed with antioxidants it is also rich in monounsaturated acids, which are considered healthy fats.

Eggs were also given the health tick for a longer life, by Dr McMillan.

Egg yolks, in particular, can help regulate blood sugar through stabilising appetite and lower risk of diabetes.

In the past there has been debate about egg consumption over concern eggs raise blood cholesterol levels. 

'But now eggs are back on the menu. They won't raise your cholesterol and in fact, eggs really help you to control your appetite.'        

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