It’s been quite a week for us – the first part of the serialisation of our book appeared in the Daily Mail on Monday and the book shot straight into the Amazon best-seller lists, which was an incredible feeling. So if you’ve just joined us here at The Age-Well Project, welcome!
And if you missed the Mail article, it’s here:
We’re looking forward to the Easter break and a chance to recharge. The weather is set fair (or it certainly is here in the UK, I hope it is wherever you are in the world) so it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature. We’ve written extensively about the power of ‘forest bathing’ and how time spent in green space can have significant and wide-ranging health benefits, including a reduced risk of: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, high blood pressure and – particularly – stress.
Chronic long-term stress has a significant impact on how we age. It can contribute to the risk of strokes, an increased likelihood of lung, colon, rectal, and stomach cancer and the development of Alzheimer’s. It shortens telomeres: the ‘caps’ which protect our DNA as our cells divide; and depletes BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) the so-called ‘fertiliser for your brain’. So anything which reduces stress will help us age better.
Now new research, published in Frontiers in Psychology, takes significant strides in working out the specifics of how long, and how often, we need to be in nature for it to have a measurable impact on our health. The results show that 20 minutes makes a huge difference, but a little longer – up to 30 minutes – is best.
The research team call these short bursts of outside time ‘nature pills’ and they hope that, in the future, doctors will prescribe them to combat stress. They certainly sound like our kind of medicine. We hope you get the chance to take a nature pill during the long weekend, we definitely intend to.
Eggs and Easter go together like Spring and lambs, but we’ll try not to overdo the cheap chocolate version and focus on the real thing instead. Eggs are among our favourite age-well foods, rich in protein, good fats and a remarkable range of vitamins and minerals, including 100mg of choline – a hard-to-find nutrient which supports cell membrane growth and signalling in the brain.
Making ‘Jammy eggs’ is my new favourite way to prepare these nutritional powerhouses. Boiling eggs for around 6 minutes results in an egg that’s half way between soft and hard boiled. Not exactly runny, but definitely jammy (without the fruit and sugar, of course). Jammy eggs can be peeled, cut in half then added to a wide variety of savoury dishes, like the stir fry below.
A note on kimchi: we love this spicy fermented vegetable condiment for its gut nurturing properties, but it’s very high in salt. However, research in kimchi’s home country of South Korea revealed that higher intake did not result in higher levels of hypertension (often linked to salt intake). The researchers suggest that the potassium content of the vegetables helps neutralise the effect of elevated sodium intake on blood pressure levels.
KIMCHI STIR-FRIED RICE WITH JAMMY EGGS (serves 4)
- 275g brown basmati rice, cooked and cooled
- 100g kimchi, chopped, plus extra to serve
- 125g mushrooms
- 125g kale, roughly chopped and tough stalks removed
- Juice of half a lemon
- 4 large eggs
- 100g fresh or tinned pineapple, chopped (optional)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- Sesame seeds, to serve
Place the eggs in a pan of boiling water for six minutes. Lift out and plunge into cold water until they are cool enough to peel. Leave the pan of hot water on he hob as you’ll need to warm the eggs through again before you serve them.
Heat both oils in a large frying pan. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to release moisture and shrink. Toss in the kale and a splash of water, let it wilt down. Stir in the kimchi and pineapple (if using) then add the cooked rice. Cook for five minutes until everything is piping hot. Gently replace the peeled eggs in the pan of hot water so they warm up again without cooking any further. Stir lemon juice into the rice mixture and divide between four bowls. Top each one with a halved egg and sprinkle over some sesame seeds.
A few of our other favourite egg recipes from the blog: