3 “Little” Diet Changes For a Healthier Weekend and Longer Life!

Written by Temitope Alao-Sanni, RD.

While wishing for a ‘longer weekend’, something else to hope for is a longer life.

Global life expectancy in 2016 was 72 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, Africa is home to 10 of the world’s ten countries with the lowest life expectancies, with Nigeria ranking fourth, having a life expectancy of 54.8 years. A person’s average lifespan in the United States is 78 years.

People have long believed that genetics has the most significant influence on life expectancy, but research shows that genes have a much lesser impact than environmental factors like nutrition and lifestyle. In this post, I’ll discuss three little changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle this weekend that scientific research has linked to a longer life

1. Avoid Overeating on Sunday (Cheat day)

There is no such thing as “cheat days” in reality.  The only day that is out of the ordinary is the day of an eclipse. Rather than waiting until a single day to “eat all the calories you’ve been working for”, aim for a well-balanced nutrient and calorie intake throughout the week. Overeating even on a single day has negative implications that outweigh any advantages (especially if you’re on the keto diet or similar). It may also encourage binge eating, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and undesirable consequences. Take good care of your body. Treat yourself on some days instead of cheating on one day.

2. Swap Tinned Tomato With Turmeric

Is it possible that Ghana Jollof continues to win competitions over Naija Jollof because we use so much tinned tomato in our recipes? I’m kidding. Nigerian Jollof reigns supreme! (lol). However, swapping tinned tomatoes for turmeric or using a lesser quantity will minimize the overall amount of salt consumed. High salt intake is associated with high blood pressure, the leading cause of death worldwide.

On the other hand, Curcumin, the bioactive ingredient in turmeric, is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help maintain brain, heart, and lung function and protect against cancer and age-related diseases. If Jollof is on the menu this weekend, spice things up with turmeric! Don’t worry; your Jollof will keep its bright appearance!

3. Drink Tea!

Are you a coffee person or a tea person? I asked this question on Instagram a few months ago, and you already know the result! We typically live the fast life from Monday to Friday and don’t get enough sleep between; Could this be why more people prefer coffee over tea? Although coffee contains longevity-promoting benefits; tea, such as green, ginger, chamomile, lemon or hibiscus, is likely to contain less caffeine and more flavour!

This weekend, have some tea with family and friends! In fact, According to one study, tea drinkers have a 20–30 percent lower risk of dying young than non-drinkers.

Finally, diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria contribute to why African life expectancies are so poor. However, treatment has become more widely available since 2000, and health conditions and life expectancy will improve across the continent. Also, the little changes you make to your diet and lifestyle can make significant differences in your health!

If you need help getting started, connect with me or any of our Registered Dietitians here.

Speak to one of our registered dietitians to find out more about promoting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle through nutrition!