London, Oct 19 : Forget sweating it out on the treadmill or long walks, for a leading nutritional scientist has found the secret to a long and healthy life, and it has nothing to do with cutting on the carbs: it's chocolate, coffee and tea.
Professor Gary Williamson, from the department of food science at Leeds University, has produced a list of 20 "lifespan essential" foodstuffs.
Besides chocolate, coffee and tea, the list includes apples, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cereal bran, cherries, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, oranges, peaches, plums, raspberries, red grapes, red onions, spinach and strawberries.
The veggies and fruits are rich in naturally occurring chemicals, known as polyphenols, which have been linked to a variety of health benefits including protection against heart disease.
The expert said that foodstuffs on the list, which is dominated by fruits and vegetables, can also help to slow down the ageing process by helping to protect cells from the natural damage that occurs over time.
"Epidemiology studies support the protective effects of polyphenol-rich foods. Lack of these components in the diet, because of low intake of fruit and vegetables, increases the risk of chronic disease," the Telegraph quoted the expert, as saying.
"This means that they are essential to fulfill the maximum individual lifespan, and so I propose that they are 'lifespan essential'," he added.