How to live longer: Three dietary twists to improve energy, cholesterol, and your waist

Dr Hilary Jones discusses UK's 'obesity epidemic' on GMB

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Consultant dietitian Sophie Medlin said: “Adding a twist to traditional foods can help boost the nutrient content of a festive favourite.” To benefit from more energy, Medlin recommends adding a nutty flavour to your main meals. “Add almonds to your side of Brussels sprouts, green beans or cabbage at this year’s Christmas dinner,” Medlin suggested. “Not only will they add crunch, but almonds are a high source of magnesium, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

“And they contain natural plant protein and healthy fats to provide energy to get you through the festive celebrations.”

If you find yourself snacking on chocolate treats, mince pies, and crisps, adding nuts onto the grazing board can make a difference to how much you eat.

“Including nuts on a grazing board will add a texture twist and provide protein to help keep you going,” said Medlin.

“What’s more, research suggests that instead of skipping a snack, eating almonds as a mid-morning snack may help you feel fuller throughout the day.”

By feeling more full throughout the day, you are less likely to consume more calories, which can otherwise lead to an increased waistline.

Carrying extra weight can be a health risk, with obesity linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

All of these health conditions run the risk of severely shortening your life.

By adding high-fibre nuts into your diet, you are also playing a part in lowering cholesterol levels.

Leading cholesterol charity, Heart UK, confirmed nuts “can help you to keep your cholesterol in check”.

The charity explained: “They contain fibre which can help block some cholesterol being absorbed into the blood stream from the gut.”

People are recommended to aim for 28-30g of nuts daily, which is roughly around a handful.

“All nuts count,” the charity added. “Good options are: almonds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, and pecans.”

By lowering your cholesterol, you are reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

As such, you are drastically increasing the likelihood of living a long and healthy life.

Being healthy can be both enjoyable and favourable, as Medlin goes on to explain.

When it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth, desserts aren’t completely off the menu.

“A sweet treat that’s on the nice list incorporates chopped dates and almonds into chocolate truffles,” Medlin pointed out.

“Dates are naturally low in fat but add sweetness without the need for extra sugar,” she explained.

“[And] almonds provide healthy unsaturated fats. They also make a great stocking stuffer!”

“Per 100g, almonds are a source of iron, thiamine, niacin, and folate, and are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, riboflavin, and vitamin E.”

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