Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
People are now living longer than ever thanks to advances in science and living standards. The downside to this trend is that the risk factors associated with ageing are becoming more prominent. Advancing age is a major risk for both cancer and dementia, for example.
Age cannot be modified but research does suggest healthy lifestyle decisions can reduce your risk of dementia and cancer.
Research is ongoing to understand the complex relationship to diet but certain items have shown promise.
Sage tea – an aromatic infusion made from the leaves of common sage – has attracted the interest of researchers.
A number of test-tube, animal and human studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function, as well as potentially effective against the effects of the plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
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In fact, two studies on oral sage drops or sage oil found improvements in the cognitive function of those with Alzheimer’s disease, although the studies had limitations.
Moreover, sage appears to provide cognitive benefits for healthy adults as well.
A number of studies found improvements in mood, mental function and memory in healthy adults after they took one of several different types of sage extract.
There is some emerging evidence that sage tea may help fight cancer cells too.
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It contains several anticancer compounds, including carnosol, camphor, and rosmarinic acid.
In particular, animal and test-tube studies reveal that carnosol can kill several types of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.
In a study in over 500 people, sage and chamomile teas were linked to a decreased risk of thyroid cancer.
Meanwhile, in a test-tube study, sage tea helped prevent genetic changes that cause colon cancer cell formation.
General tips to promote longevity
One of the most important tips for living a long life is to maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.
According to the NHS, the best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly.
To do this, you should:
- Eat a balanced calorie-controlled diet as recommended by a GP or weight loss management health professional (such as a dietitian)
- Join a local weight loss group
- Take up activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming or tennis for 150 to 300 minutes (2.5 to 5 hours) a week
- Eat slowly and avoid situations where you know you could be tempted to overeat.
“You may also benefit from receiving psychological support from a trained healthcare professional to help change the way you think about food and eating,” adds the health body.
How do I know if I am a healthy weight?
The most widely used method to check if you’re a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
For most adults, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight.
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