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Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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Chronic diseases are often preventable if you lead a healthy lifestyle. That’s because an unhealthy diet can pave the way for serious health conditions, ranging from bowel cancer to heart disease. Fortunately, certain dietary measures could help eliminate the risk of these problems.

Dr Andre Brittain-Dissont, the clinical lead at Extensa Anti-Ageing Clinic, pharmacy database examples said: “There are so many fads and trends, drinks and foods in fancy bottles or packaging, making bold claims which are generally unfounded with no scientific basis or merit.

“[However], as often is the case, it is the cheap and simple options which have been around for thousands of years that offer great anti-ageing benefits.”

With prices starting at just 99p per small packaging, blueberries could be a cost-effective way to add some years to your lifespan.

The small blue food grows in tough environmental conditions, which means it needs protective mechanisms to survive.

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While the sweet yet slightly tangy fruit has developed these defences to benefit its own growth, you can also reap them.

Blueberries are rich in phytochemicals called flavonoids that offer an antioxidant effect, according to Dr Brittain-Dissont.

The doctor said: “These have many health effects including DNA repair, beneficial reductions in cholesterol lipoproteins, bone repair and cognitive improvements.

“Studies on fruit flies, mice and worms have demonstrated prolonged lifespans in groups provided with blueberry compared to those without it. 

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“This seems to relate to reduced oxidative stress and free radicals, reduced inflammation and reduced cancer risk.”

Cholesterol control

One reason why blueberries could reduce your cholesterol comes down to the fruit being rich in soluble fibre.

This type of fibre blocks some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into your bloodstream, according to Heart UK.

Furthermore, research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that blueberries reduced ‘bad’ cholesterol levels by 27 percent in just eight weeks.

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On the flip side, a study in the journal Scientific Reports didn’t observe any effects between blueberries and cholesterol levels.

Lower risk of cancer

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, several research papers found that eating blueberries increases antioxidant activity in the blood and shows the potential to prevent DNA damage.

Continuous DNA damage can lay the groundwork for cancerous cells.

The health portal adds that blueberries’ fibre and vitamin C content could reduce the risk of bowel and lung cancer.

The doctor explained that all of these protective mechanisms are the “foundations for a longer and healthier” life.

Dr Brittain-Dissont added that you should opt for organic blueberries to enjoy all of these benefits.

He said: “Ideally, the organic blueberry is the [right] choice as it is more battle-hardened through not being aided by artificial practices, more nutrient-dense and lower in sugar. 

“Half a punnet – around 75 grams per day – is an excellent addition to your diet and a super healthy replacement to any factory-made snack you tend to reach for.”

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