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Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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Long life expectancy has a lot to do with the foods we eat or snack on. This does not mean one should deprive themselves of delicious options. In fact, when eaten in moderation, there are a number of delicious treats shown to not only protect the heart but also for reducing age-related diseases.

Studies have suggested that dark chocolate is good for the heart and may boost longevity.

Research based on Harvard graduates have found that dark chocolate eaters lived a year or so longer than those who did not indulge.

Researchers found those who ate one to three bars a month came out best, with a 36 percent lower risk of premature death.

Dark chocolate offers a host of science-backed physical health benefits, allied buildings ga many of which actually link chocolate and longevity.

One meta-analysis found that consuming dark chocolate which equates to around one to six servings per week, was the optimal amount to gain major health benefits.

The study found that dark chocolate consumers had a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Another 2009 study found that men who suffered from one heart attack were subsequently 66 percent less likely to die from another heart attack within the next nine years by consuming dark chocolate in moderation.

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Produced from the seeds of the cacao tree, dark chocolate is a nutritious treat.

The higher the stated concentration of cocoa on the bar, the more bitter it will taste.

And inside every mouthful, minerals such as iron and magnesium are eaten as well.

Researchers believe it’s the flavonoids found in dark chocolate that maintains heart health with its rich content of polyphenols being the powerhouses behind its other health benefits.

Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, have recently been in the spotlight as researchers uncover their numerous health benefits. 

New findings from the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd. show that polyphenols can break down into molecules that help beneficial microorganisms found in the digestive system.

In short, they can support gut health, which is increasingly being recognised as vital to our overall well-being.

Other foods rich in polyphenols helping with longevity and age-related diseases include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Berries
  • Flaxseeds
  • Olives
  • Red wine.

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