EATING 30 different fruits and vegetables a week, taking an early night and having a cold shower could be the key to living longer, preventing illness and losing weight.
Top neuroscientist Dr Julia Jones says simple changes to our daily routine are more beneficial than the gym.
She told Sun on Sunday Health: “Just making simple adjustments to our lifelong routine can add decades of healthy life.”
Julia runs an eight-week smart wellness longevity plan to help people boost their life expectancy.
Here she shares her top ten tips.
1. DELAY BREAKFAST
DELAYING your breakfast a few times a week can give cells the full time they need to do essential repair work, reducing your risk of everything from cancer to Type 2 diabetes.
Leave 16 hours overnight between your last meal.
Drinks during the fasting window are OK. Just don’t fill them with sugar or milk.
Stick with water, tea and coffee. Many scientists, including me, now regularly eat one healthy meal a day.
2. THINK 30-A-WEEK
RESEARCH has shown that people with a higher diversity of gut bacteria have a reduced risk of illness.
But eating the same five fruits and veg each day doesn’t boost diversity.
You should aim to try 30 different types a week to boost gut diversity.
Frozen fruits and veg work as well as fresh, so buy different frozen products in bulk to keep costs down.
3. GET OUT OF BREATH
YOU don’t need a full gym workout but get out of breath a few times a week. Stop using the lift and take the stairs.
Walk faster. Short bursts will work – simply adjust some if your habits.
Cycle to the shops instead of driving.
4. PROTECT SKIN
ALL our organs age at different speeds. There are biological clocks working at different rates inside us.
Our skin actually ages fastest and this means we need to take extra care of it.
When the skin suffers, it not only experiences damage in its own cells but also sends damaging signalling molecules through our bloodstream that can reach other parts of the body and kickstart problems elsewhere.
Always wear high SPF sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
5. KEEP GUT HEALTHY
OUR gut is home to lots of microbe bacteria and when they are not in balance, our health may hit trouble.
Keep your gut healthy by regularly having food and drinks that contain live bacteria known as probiotics – for example, kombucha drinks, kefir, live yogurts and fermented sauerkraut.
Note also that if a fermented food is not kept in a store’s refrigerated section, the product will not contain live bacteria.
6. MAKE A LIST
LISTS help to declutter our minds and reduce stress. Just writing one produces changes in the brain, reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
And then, once you successfully tick a few things off, the feel-good reward chemical dopamine will be released in the brain.
You will feel a buzz.
7. TAKE BRAIN FOR A WALK
DAMAGE to the brain can start decades before symptoms become apparent, especially if we are overweight.
Brains have been shown to shrink as waistlines grow. Ensure your brain is getting good blood supply and calming signals by walking outdoors in nature every day.
You also need to challenge the brain throughout life by learning new, complex tasks to build new connections – try learning a musical instrument or a new language.
8. GET COLD – OR HOT
BEING exposed to very hot or very cold conditions is potentially life-threatening for the human body.
But putting ourselves in these environments for short periods activates longevity pathways in our cells for positive health effects.
Turn your shower to cold for a burst, go swimming outdoors or have a hot sauna.
9. DO DAILY PUSH-UPS
LOSS of muscle tissue leads to frailty and increased risk of falls and fractures. It also lowers the effectiveness of your immune system.
To beat that decline you need to overload muscles regularly.
Do slow-motion moves that make your largest muscles reach the point of fatigue – try doing push-ups or squats really slowly until you can’t do any more.
10. BEAT STRESS
THE release of stress chemicals damages brain tissues and plays havoc with your gut bacteria.
Think about breathing – breathe out for longer than you breathe in. Listen to music and relax.
- For more details about Julia’s smart wellness programme or to order her forthcoming book F-Bomb: Longevity Made Easy, go to neuronwellness.com.
TRIED AND TESTED
QUALITY sleep is so important for our health.
Getting enough of it helps to keep your in good shape, aids your emotional and mental wellbeing and can even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Meanwhile, not getting enough sleep or disruptions to your night cycle can lead to fatigue.
Here, Jane Atkinson looks at ways to get enough shut-eye . . .
MANY aromatherapy essential oils may help to promote relaxation and sleep, and this new gadget is a brilliant way to fill your bedroom with them to help you nod off.
The Rove Aroma Atomiser scents your space directly from the oil bottle, without the need for water, so you get a potent dose of essential oils.
You simply push an essential oil bottle into the base, switch it to the intensity and run-time you want, for up to 90 minutes.
It charges with a USB and lasts for 30 hours.
It is so dinky I have taken it, with a bottle of lavender essential oils, when I have stayed away from home to help me nod off.
Best to turn off before you actually go to sleep as it does have a little motor noise.
I love this.
It is compatible with 5ml, 10ml and 15ml oil bottles and costs £55. See madebyzen.com.
B-SYNC ON is the first and only supplement designed by sleep science and pharmacological experts to support and improve your wake-up process.
It contains vitamins B5 and B12 plus zinc and caffeine in a delayed-release capsule.
You take it at bedtime, and about seven hours later it starts to release them into your body.
It is clinically proven to sharpen focus, with feelings of wellbeing upon waking, and helps you transition with ease from sleep to wide awake.
It definitely works – my only problem is that I like eight hours’ kip.
With this, I was awake at 5am after just under seven hours, and there wasn’t a chance I was nodding off again.
Good if you only like seven hours, or if you have gone to bed late and know you need to get up early.
£23.99 for 20 capsules – see b-sync.life.
CHELATED magnesium has been described as the best pill to pop for all-round health.
It helps to regulate blood pressure, supports the immune system and could reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and cancer and boost overall health.
It is easily absorbed by the body and good for tackling fatigue, tiredness and lethargy.
I take it every day and am convinced it helps me sleep better.
Solgar Chelated Magnesium delivers 100mg of magnesium per tablet and costs £13.75 for a bottle of 100.
You do need four a day though!
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