Eating a healthy, balanced diet – including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – could lower your risk of an early death, according to the NHS. You could also boost your lifespan by doing regular exercise. It’s the “miracle cure” we’ve all been waiting for, it said. Making some small diet or lifestyle changes could help to increase your life expectancy and avoid an early death. You could lower your chances of a long and healthy life, and could even reduce your blood pressure, by regularly eating tomatoes, it’s been claimed.
Many studies suggest tomatoes – and in particular the lycopene they contain – help keep the heart healthy
Juliette Kellow and Sarah Brewer
Eating tomatoes could help to prevent high blood pressure, according to dietitian Juliette Kellow and nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps to reduce the amount of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body, while boosting the amount of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Everyone should aim to eat a serving of tomatoes or tomato products every single day, they added.
“An integral part of the Mediterranean diet, tomatoes are a great source of health-promoting vitamins A and C,” they wrote in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer – Understand What Your Body Needs To Stay Healthy’.
“They also contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which may improve heart health and protect against a number of cancers.
“Many studies suggest tomatoes – and in particular the lycopene they contain – help keep the heart healthy.
“Research shows higher intakes of tomatoes and tomato products reduce LDL [bad] cholesterol, increase HDL [good] cholesterol, and may lower blood pressure.
“A daily serving of tomato products is ideal. However, consuming tomatoes only a few times a week still offers many health benefits.”
Different tomato products contain varying amounts of lycopene, they added, and therefore have various blood pressure benefits.
Sun-dried tomatoes provide the most amount of lycopene, while a singular, regular tomato provides the least amount of lycopene.
Cooking your tomatoes tends to boost the lycopene-related benefits of tomatoes, as well as serving them with a little fat – for example, olive oil.
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Meanwhile, you could also lower your blood pressure by eating more yogurt, berries, bananas and avocados, they said.
But, it’s crucial to limit the amount of salt in your diet, as salt raises blood pressure. Everyone should aim to eat less than 6g of salt in a single day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every week is one of the best way to make sure you lead a long and healthy life.
Regular exercise is a crucial aspect to improving overall health, and helping you to live longer.
All UK adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
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