Life expectancy is, to a degree, left to chance – a sobering thought to contemplate. You cannot dodge every threat that comes along but you can reduce your risk of facing them in the first place. What’s more, you can take steps to ensure you are well-equipped to confront them.
This holds particularly true in relation to chronic diseases, which threaten longevity.
Your risk of cancer, for example, can be reduced and your response to it can be improved, by making healthy dietary decisions, research suggests.
There is no panacea but certain dietary items have shown promise in this area.
One is nettle tea – an herbal tea that is made by steeping the dried leaves of the Nettle, or stinging nettle.
How? Nettle tea is high polyphenols, compounds naturally found in plants.
A review of the research on polyphenols suggests that these powerful compounds may play a role in the prevention and management of chronic diseases related to inflammation, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
In particular, polyphenols from nettle extract have shown some exciting potential for treating breast cancer and prostate cancer.
According to the NHS, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
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Additional health benefits
Plants like nettle also contain potent antioxidants, which are substances that protect the body from ageing and cell damage, research shows.
What’s more, nettle has shown some promising effects on blood glucose levels.
High blood glucose levels are a complication of diabetes that can contribute to a number of serious health problems, such as heart disease.
Nettle may help the pancreas make or release more insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar.
In one study, nettle leaf extract lowered blood glucose and A1C in a group of people with type 2 diabetes who were taking insulin as well as oral diabetes medications.
A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood glucose, or blood sugar, level over the past three months.
General tips to reducing risk of chronic diseases
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), active people generally live longer and are at less risk for serious health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.
In fact, exercising regularly can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 percent and lower your risk of early death by up to 30 percent, says the NHS.
For people with chronic diseases, physical activity can also help manage these conditions and complications,” the CDC adds.
To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities, advises the NHS.
“For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer,” says the health body.
This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity – a category of fitness that includes brisk walking, water aerobics and riding a bike.
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