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Jamie's foods to help you live to 100

A file picture dated 30 August 2012 shows British chef Jamie Oliver at the International Radio Exhibition. EPA/ROBERT SCHLESINGER

A file picture dated 30 August 2012 shows British chef Jamie Oliver at the International Radio Exhibition. EPA/ROBERT SCHLESINGER

Published Sep 21, 2015

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London - Celeb chef Jamie Oliver has travelled the world compiling a list of 14 ‘hero’ ingredients, including simple products such as fish and eggs, which he says should take pride of place in everyone’s kitchens.

In a new TV series Jamie’s Super Foods, the father of four unveils tips that can help towards a longer life, such as limiting meat to two portions a week and consuming the majority of your calories in the first half of the day.

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On Sunday night, experts backed up Oliver’s claims. Dietician Sioned Quirke said: ‘Our health is directly related to what we put into our bodies. So, an indication of a good diet is the length of your life but more importantly for me is the quality of that life for the years that you remain’.

In the series, the 40-year-old chef travels to Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and the Greek island of Ikaria, all known for their healthy diets. In Costa Rica, where living to 100 is not unusual – partly due to a low-calorie, low-fat, mainly vegetarian diet – Oliver cooks and eats with five generations of a family, including 106-year-old Jose.

On Ikaria, people live an average of ten years longer than elsewhere in Europe and North America, and rates of cancer and heart disease are significantly lower. Oliver recently revealed he lost 13kg by sleeping better, giving up alcohol and eating many of the foods he recommends in the programme.

The chef says in the show, which begins on Monday on Channel 4: ‘It’s not about goji berries and green drinks. It’s about cooking smart with simple foods… They’re all using humble ingredients to make some of the simplest and tastiest dishes I’ve ever tasted.’

As well as the 14 ‘hero’ ingredients, including tofu, black beans, sweet potato and chillies, Oliver found certain dietary habits were common across the health hotspots.

This included limiting meat intake to two to three portions a week. Quirke said this is healthy because meat ‘tends to be higher in saturated fats’ than other protein sources.

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Oliver also found in these healthier cultures people tended to have a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner. He says: ‘When I’ve gone around the world to see the people that live the longest and most productive life, they all have a good breakfast.’

Quirke added: ‘The majority of us use all our energy during the day, … we require energy in the morning and the afternoon rather than having a big bulk of calories … when we are only going to be resting and going to bed.’

But Mariette Abrahams, of the British Dietetics Association, said: ‘Inherited genetics also play an important part in how long people will live.’

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