As the prices of pretty much everything are creeping up, Express.co.uk spoke to a dietician about budget-friendly foods that can also boost your longevity. While there’s no secret recipe for longer life, one key approach to longevity lies in staving off the precursors of chronic disease. From a lower risk of stroke to a reduced risk of heart disease, some cheap foods do this with gusto.
While it’s no secret that colourful fruit and veg as well as fibre-packed pulses are some of the healthiest foods out there, these longevity staples can be often taxing on your wallet.
Fortunately, Karine Patel, private dietitian and founder of Dietitian Fit & Co, has shared how to keep your budget tight and your body healthy during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
Patel said: “Contrary to what we often hear, eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive.
“You can create a multitude of healthy meals on a low budget while prolonging your lifespan.”
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The expert listed some of the “cheapest” foods you can get in the UK supermarkets, while also adding a few years onto your lifespan.
Frozen fruits and vegetables
Patel said: “According to a study, published by researchers at Harvard, eating three portions of vegetables and two servings of fruits daily is associated with a lower risk of premature death.”
What’s more, the process of freezing doesn’t strip the colourful, nutritious foods of any goodness, the expert explained.
While cheesy chips won’t do much good for your arteries, there’s no need to ditch potatoes altogether.
In fact, the starchy vegetable packs potassium, which can “reduce” your risk of a stroke and prolong your lifespan, according to the dietician.
She said: “[Plus,] they are a long-lasting food, and they are usually less than £1/ kg.”
Another popular side dish, rice can be bought for as little as 45p/kg and served with plenty of veggies.
Patel said: “According to the Blue Zones (areas in the world where people tend to live longer lives), 65 percent of their diet consists of rice, which makes it one of the healthiest and cheapest dishes.”
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While pasta in a rich sauce is considered pretty indulgent, switching up your regular choice for a wholewheat option could do plenty for your health.
Patel said: “Wholewheat pasta is rich in fibres, and regular consumption of fibres is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, which in turn reduces the risk of mortality.”
Tinned beans and pulses
“Extremely cheap and so versatile”, beans are an “excellent source” of fibre and protein.
The dietician added: “They are a staple among people who live the longest lives, multiple studies suggest that consuming beans could prolong your life expectancy by multiple years.”
Last but not least, tomatoes offer vitamin C, potassium, folate, as well as vitamin K.
The juicy fruit is also “one of the best sources of carotenoid, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect against age-related disease”.
From fragrant curries to warming stews, the expert suggested that you can make a variety of dishes perfect for winter, using these cheap ingredients.
Patel added: “Always look at the unit pricing to check the price of a food for a specific unit of weight (or volume).
“It helps to compare the real price difference between products. This will tell you how much you’re paying per gram or kg (or ml) so you can compare packages and get the best deal.”