How to live longer is a question everyone wants to know the answer to, but over the years, more and more evidence has pointed to regular exercise, not smoking and a healthy, balanced diet being able to improve life expectancy. Certain foods contain vital vitamins and minerals which have been shown to keep different health conditions at bay. Two of these are potassium and fibre, and one food group which is a particularly good source of these is root vegetables.
In their book titled, ‘Eat Better Live Longer’, medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow list five of the best root vegetables.
These are an excellent source of potassium, according to the pair – a mineral which can help regulate blood pressure.
Carrots are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, and they stress how important this is for eye health.
These are packed with inulin, a prebiotic that aids digestion, explain the duo.
Rich in the B vitamin folate, the women say beetroots can help strengthen the immune system.
These come in two varieties, they say – orange sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene and purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins, which have been linked to cardiovascular health.
Why can fibrous root vegetables help you live longer?
Root vegetables’ rich fibre content can help with blood sugar and weight control and can help lower cholesterol, say Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow.
They add: “They also contain insoluble fibre, which keeps the digestive system health, protecting against constipation, haemorrhoids (piles), diverticular disease, and bowel cancer.
“Good fibre intakes are also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes – one large study found high intakes of root vegetables reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13 per cent.”
How can potassium, found in root vegetables, help you live longer?
Most root vegetables are rich in potassium, which can lower blood pressure when combined with a lowered intake of sodium.
Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow add: “All root vegetables are also rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the blood.
“This helps to relax the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.
“One review of 16 studies found having beetroot juice every day significantly reduced systolic blood pressure.”