Living longer may be possible by eating foods from across the colour spectrum.
Dr Sarah Brewer and nutritionist Juliette Kellow recommended eating “more than just ‘your greens’” to extend lifespans, to ensure a variety of phytochemicals are consumed.
“The phytochemicals in colourful produce have been linked to protection against heart disease, cancer and dementia,” they wrote in ‘Eat Better, Live Longer’.
Shopping baskets should be filled with plant-based foods containing every colour of the rainbow.
Red, orange, yellow, green, purple and white or beige foods should all be included in your diet for a longer life.
“Until recently, the health-promoting benefits of plant foods were put down to them containing plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals,” they wrote.
“Those elements do offer benefits, but that’s not the whole story.
“Now, research is revealing they naturally contain thousands off other compounds, known as phytochemical or phytonutrients.
“There is much scientific lab-based research that provides good insight into the potential benefits that phytochemicals may have in helping to prevent disease and promote optimum health.”
They recommended eating plant skin, which is where most phytochemcals are contained as plants use them to protect themselves.
The UK-based Nutrition Society, which look at ways to improve human and animal health, said on its website phytochemical health benefits are being increasingly recognised.
“There is evidence to suggest that consuming foods high in phytochemicals may reduce risk of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, alzheimer’s, and diabetes type 2, as well as playing a role in healthy ageing.
“Phytochemicals are now being added to commonly consumed foods to create functional foods with the aim of improving the nutritional profile.
The British Dietetic Association recommended eating a “rainbow” of colours for a longer life, in a booklet published online.
“Variety is important,” they said. “Different coloured fruits and vegetables contain their own combination of vitamins, minerals and fibre.”
The Association continued you can “get the most benefit by eating one portion from each colour group”.
The NHS said you should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
“Fruit and vegetables are part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. It’s important that we eat enough of them.
“Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least five 80g portions every day.”
Eating a rainbow coloured selection of fruits and vegetables could help you live for longer.