Unlocking the Elixir of a Longer Life

Junk food; saves time. Healthy food; gives you time.

Did you know that changing your lifestyle can add more than 10 years to your life expectancy?

A few years ago, a National Geographic project identified five places with populations with the highest life expectancy: Okinawa; Japan, Sardinia; Italy, Loma Linda; California, Ikaria; Greece and Nicoya; Costa Rica.

The diet and lifestyle patterns of these populations were extensively researched and consequently found to be among the healthiest diets; low in calories, rich in antioxidants, fibers, omega 3, 6 polyunsaturated acids, polyphenols and flavonoids.

Dietary Recommendations:

Based on The Mediterranean Diet and the Okinawa Diet

  • Lifestyle Recommendations

    • Exercise regularly (walk 45 minutes/day and try out a sport weekly).

    • Have a positive attitude (avoid stress, sleep at least 7 hours/day, take naps and embrace eating healthy).

    • Cook healthy at home.

    • Prioritize health.

    • Pay attention to details when shopping: origin, ingredients, etc.

  • Diet Recommendations
    • Low in calories, but high in nutritional density.

    • Ensure proper hydration.

    • Low in: meat (less than 500g/week with emphasis on lean), full-fat dairy products (maximum 3 portions per day), refined grains, saturated fat, sugar and salt.

    • High in vegetables (around 7/day- particularly root and green and yellow vegetables) and fruits (3/day – particularly anti-oxidant rich fruits (raisins, strawberries, raspberries and papaya) and red colored fruits (tomatoes for collagen production).

    • High in legumes.

    • Moderate in fish products (minimum 120g twice/week) and marine-based carotenoids, such as seaweed, algae and kelp.

    • Emphasis on complex carbohydrates (whole grains; oatmeal).

    • Moderate in healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and avocado).

    • Liberal use of herbs and spices (turmeric, cayenne peppers, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper and thyme).

    • Regular tea consumption (jasmine tea or green tea).

    • Emphasis on probiotics and prebiotics for healthy intestines.

    • Adequate intakes of vitamin D and calcium.

    • Other factors that can contribute to longevity:

      • Daily 20g of at least 70 percent dark chocolate/day

      • Daily 125ml red grape juice.

      • One tbsp of ground flaxseeds/day.

Longevity is a complex phenomenon with emphasis on general wellbeing. A healthy body is the one that will live longer.

Considering the low level of physical activity, the fast-food culture and the social pressure to eat more, it might seem difficult to make such changes; if you make the effort now, it will pay off in the future.


10 Steps to Get Your Picky Eater to Eat Healthy

Tired of mealtime tantrums and tears? Worry no more!

Many parents are left frustrated at mealtimes, with their children refusing to eat most of their food, but there are simple steps you can take to overcome this.

1. Focus on Yourself

Parents often surrender to their child’s wants to avoid a mealtime tantrum… It’s a trap! Focus on your behavior during mealtime by doing the following:

  • Respect Your Child’s Opinion: Don’t force-feed a child who claims to be full or not hungry; it undermines his/her sense of hunger or satiety. Children’s palates are very sensitive, so maybe your child simply doesn’t like the food.

  • Be Patient and Persistent: Food rejection is a natural part of child development. Children need repeated exposure to the same food before they’re willing to taste it.

  • Be a Role Model: Your children will eat what they see you eat.


January 4-10 | Super Healthy Kids

2. Establish a Routine

Picky eaters snack throughout the day, thus getting full before meals. Prevent this by scheduling meals and snacks.

3. Start Small
  • Introduce new foods in tiny portions (1/2tsp).

  • Introduce during snack time; the child who refuses to eat will be hungry by the next meal and will eat anything.

4. Subtly Introduce New Foods
  • If your child likes rice, try shredding new vegetables over it or add small pieces of broccoli over spaghetti.

  • Always taste a meal first; make sure it’s appetizing.

5. Involve Your Child

Ask your child to help with selecting and preparing food.


6. Be Creative
  • Serve attractive food: cut shapes, mix colors and include sliced vegetables with their favorite dip.

  • Shift focus to something other than the food’s taste: its color, shape or texture.

  • Know your child’s preferences (crunchiness/smoothness, saltiness/sweetness) and try to modify food texture accordingly.

7. Seek Help From a Friend

A study by Dr. Helen Hendy found that preschoolers were more likely to try mango when another classmate tried it.

8. Minimize Distraction

The whole family should be seated at the table for meals, with eating being the sole focus.

9. Avoid Food Rewards

Children should identify food as fuel, not reward. Rewarding with specific foods (like chocolate) leads to poor eating habits. Your child may associate eating with achievement or stress relief rather than hunger.

10. Don’t Buy Unhealthy Foods

Even if your child asks for it!

By making small and steady changes, you can promote healthy eating habits which your child can carry throughout his life.


Does Red Meat Cause Cancer?

If you’re visiting the butchers soon, pause and read this first..

On Oct. 26 last year, a new report, published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, concluded after a review of the over 800 accumulated scientific literature, that red meat should be classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans.”

According to the report, the risk in both is highest for colorectal cancer. Each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. The report places processed meat as a serious cause of cancer along with asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.


Red Meat: All types of mammalian muscle meat such as beef, veal, lamb, mutton, horse and goat.

Processed Meat: Meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation, such as hot dogs, sausages, corned beef and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparation sauces.

How Does Processed Meat Cause Cancer? (Theories)

  • Haem, the pigment present in haemoglobin and naturally in meat, is broken down in our gut to form a family of chemicals called N-Nitroso compounds. These can damage the bowl lining cells; the ensuing DNA damage can lead to cancer.
  • Processed meats have added nitrogen-based preservatives found to induce a specific DNA mutation, which leads to colorectal tumors.
  • Cooking meat at high temperatures through grilling or barbequing, forms cancerous compounds too.

So, as you see, the issue is not the quality and source of red meat, but its natural composition and the processing it undergoes.

Should You Stop Consuming Meat?
IARC did not make dietary recommendations. However, in response to the report, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consumers to “vary their daily protein choices by including lean meats, poultry and fish along with plants sources like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds and to limit consumption of processed meats like hot dogs.”

Although red meat has its nutritional value (it is a good source of the highly absorbable iron, zinc and vitamin B12), if your red and processed meats consumption is high, it would be wise to start cutting down on them… at least until new research is released.