You will age quicker if you eat these 'blood vessel damaging' foods doctor warns

Woman looking at her wrinkles
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A health expert has issued a warning about certain foods that could speed up how fast you age. It's well-known that a balanced diet is key for good health, as our food intake helps supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to our cells.

On a recent episode of ZOE Health, host Jonathan Wolf chatted with Dr William Li about the significance of maintaining every 'tube' in our body to slow down aging. Dr Li, who specialises in blood vessels and preventative medicine, has written extensively on the topic.

The doctor pointed out that some foods should be avoided because they can 'damage' our blood vessels, causing our bodies to age more rapidly. Keeping your blood vessels healthy is crucial for reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Dr Li recommends steering clear of greasy, fatty, and processed foods, as well as saturated fats, red meat, alcohol, and sugar. Excessive consumption of these can clog your bloodstream and increase the likelihood of hypertension.

"High blood pressure is a silent killer. It sneaks up on you. It can exist and you don't even know it. You don't feel it until it becomes catastrophic," he warned.

High blood pressure puts stress on your blood vessels, heart, and essential organs like the brain, kidneys, and eyes. Chronic high blood pressure heightens the danger of numerous severe and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Dr Li suggests that a diet rich in healthy foods can help maintain, protect, regenerate and renew the inner lining of your blood vessels. He said: "Foods can actually help you maintain that youthful elasticity of the blood vessels.

"Harmful foods can cause it to clog up. There is clearly value for longevity, for resiliency throughout your ageing process for eating healthier foods. And likewise, if you nurture an unhealthy lifestyle.

"Just like our skin renews itself and our hair for most people renews itself, which is why we need a haircut. And the skin sheds, which is why people have dandruff. There's a renewal of the blood vessels.

"If you eat foods, lots of foods that actually have healthy bioactive, natural chemicals that can stimulate regeneration."

As an example, the doctor mentioned anthocyanins, found in dark chocolate and blueberries, which can assist in renewing and replacing old damaged liner cells in your blood vessels.

In addition to fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, Dr Li advises increasing your intake of omega-3, describing it as "a very healthy" type of fat. "Diet, by the way, is only part of the equation," he added.

"There are other things like regular physical activity. That's helpful, it gets the blood, your juices flowing, literally. Gets your blood flowing. That's important for reversing heart disease of stress and lowering stress. And sleep."

Risks of high blood pressure

According to the NHS, if your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:

  • heart disease

  • heart attacks

  • strokes

  • heart failure

  • peripheral arterial disease

  • aortic aneurysms

  • kidney disease

  • vascular dementia

If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.