How are those new year’s resolutions going then? Just a few days into 2018 and mine are already feeling a little shaky. But my resolve has been bolstered by a new report – published with immaculate timing – that shows our most common resolutions could save our lives.
The research shows that a healthy lifestyle – defined as:
- not smoking
- a low BMI (between 18.5 and 25)
- regular exercise (150 minutes or more of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week)
- a healthy diet (five portions of fruit and veg a day)
- a low alcohol intake (less than 14 units a week)
reduces cancer risk by about one-third. Which is great news if your new year’s resolution involved any of the list above. And I’m guessing most of us have a resolution that involves a healthier lifestyle. If your resolution involved wing-walking or bungy jumping this won’t give you much extra motivation, but do read on anyway…
The research team – led by Professor Peter Elwood of Cardiff University – sifted through data gathered by the UK Biobank. This vast survey of almost half a million Brits asked people about their health habits, measured their BMI and tracked their medical diagnoses for around five years. The Cardiff team found a clear message in all that data: the more healthy behaviours people had, the lower their risk of all forms of cancer. It’s as simple as that.
They described their work as “a powerful message on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle” and went on to add even more good news: “In an evaluation of healthy living, it is essential to keep in mind that there are large reductions in diseases other than cancer, including diabetes, vascular disease and dementia.” So let’s all stick to those healthy resolutions together – it’s worth it!
If your resolutions involved more vegetables and less meat, do check out this week’s recipe. Packed with veg, it’s warming and comforting without being heavy or stodgy. And my children like it – always a win win. It’s not very pretty though – Annabel complained about having to photograph it!
ETHIOPIAN LENTIL STEW (serves 4)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp Berbere spice blend (I use Barts)
- 1 litre vegetable stock – hot
- 1 large sweet potato (approx. 400g) peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 300g red lentils
- 2 handfuls spinach leaves
- 1 tbs fresh coriander chopped.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spice blend and cook for another 30 seconds. Then add the hot stock, sweet potato, tomatoes and lentils. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring to prevent it sticking on the bottom, until the lentils and sweet potato are well-cooked and soft. Add a splash more water if it gets too thick. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt before taking off the heat. Serve topped with the coriander.
Happy new year!