How to live longer: A ‘super plate’ of foods may extend longevity – what’s on it?

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An informative infographic presented by Harvard University displays how much of each food category needs to be on your plate come meal time. Which foods does it include? One half of a dinner plate should be filled with vegetables or fruits – “aim for variety and colour”, the university said. There is a caveat to this though, potatoes don’t count as vegetables – so chips, mash, and roast potatoes are off the menu.

The other quarter of the super plate needs to consist of whole grains, such as:

  • Whole wheat
  • Barley
  • Wheat berries
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta

Another quarter is best topped with protein, such as fish, poultry, beans and nuts.

These can be paired well with vegetables on a plate, and are a great addition to a salad.

Three quadrants of the super plate

  • 1/4 – healthy protein
  • 1/4 – whole grains
  • 1/2 – vegetables and fruits

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According to the infographic, a person is better off consuming more vegetables than fruit on a super plate.

As for any cooking oil used to prepare the meal, vegetable options are the best. Examples include:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil

When it comes to sipping on a refreshing beverage, the best option is water.

Tea and coffee are OK, but Harvard University recommends limiting milk to one or two servings per day.

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Harvard University offered other helpful advice on what to avoid, such as sugary drinks.

Red and processed meat, such as bacon and sausage, should be limited, as should dairy products.

Eating a healthy diet is a great way to lower your risk of disease and mortality.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed: “Adults who eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.”

In addition, people who have acquired health conditions can benefit from a healthy diet.

Eating nutritious meals can help people manage their conditions effectively and “prevent complications”.

How can an unhealthy diet lead to disease?

Eating foods high in calories that don’t provide any nutritional content is one sure way to become overweight.

People who are overweight have a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes, as the body becomes less able to create insulin.

Being overweight is also associated with “at least 13 types of cancers”, such as breast and bowel cancer.

Eating too much sodium (i.e. salt) can lead to high blood pressure, putting a person at risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Furthermore, eating fatty foods can lead to high cholesterol which can also lead to the same outcomes.

This is because an excess of cholesterol sticks to the sides of the artery walls, causing the blood passageway to narrow.

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