How to live longer: Following this diet may slash disease risk and increase your lifespan

Long life expectancy can be achieved by eating the right foods. Experts recommend eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, basing meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta, having some dairy or dairy alternatives, eating some protein, choosing unsaturated oils and spread and eating them in small amounts, and drinking plenty of fluids.


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But when it comes to an overall diet to follow to boost longevity, one diet proven effective is the Seventh-day Adventist diet.

The Seventh-day Adventist diet is a plant-based diet, rich in whole foods and excludes most animal products, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.

The Adventist Health Study, which involved more than 96,000 Adventists, look at links between diet, disease and lifestyle.

Researchers involved in the study found those who followed a vegetarian diet had a significantly lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar – all of which are strong risk factors for heart disease and early death.

Adventists who followed vegetarian diets were also found to have a decreased risk of colon cancer, compared with non-vegetarians. 

Loma Linda in California is home to large number of Seventh-day Adventist, ad this area is considered a ‘blue zone’ – an area in which the population is known to live longer than average.

Many people who live in blue zones live to be at least 100 years old.

Other blue zones include Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria, Greece, Sardina, Italy and Nicola Peninsula, Costa Rica.

The long lifespan of blue zone populations is believed to be linked to lifestyle factors, which include being active, resting regularly and eating a nutritious diet rich in plant foods.

A study on blue zones has found 95 percent of people who lived to be at least 100 ate a plant-based diet that was rich in beans and whole grains.

It also showed the Loma Linda Adventists outlive other Americans by around a decade. 

Additional research has found vegetarian Adventists live 1.5 to 2.4 years longer than non-vegetarian Adventists, on average. 


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Research has also demonstrated how diets based on whole plant foods can help prevent early death, largely due to their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.

Medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow outline details of the Seventh-Day Adventist diet in their book ‘Eat Well Live Longer’.

They write: “Seventh Day Adventists eat at least nine servings of fruit and vegetables per day, lots of pulses, nuts, and seeds, wholegrain, plant-based milks, small amounts of eggs and low-fat dairy, and some fish.

“They limit red meat and poultry, fatty, sugary, and processed foods, and those with a lot of additives, alcohol (93 percent are reported to be tee-total), and drinks containing caffeine.”

The pair add a mainly vegetarian diet is promoted for bodily health.

Gluttony and excess, even of good things are discouraged.

Meals are appreciated and food is respected.

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