Fauja Singh was born 1911 in rural Punjab. At 109, he is known as the oldest marathon runner in the world. Fauja started running when he was 81 and broke a world record just after turning 89. He is the only person in the world known to have completed a marathon after turning 100.
Fauja says his success is down to his healthy diet. He eats roti, dal, vegetables, yoghurt and milk. He is a strict vegetarian and eats no fried food. Others agree that living longer is all about eating well. Misao Okawa, who lived to 117, said the secret to a long life was healthy food – she favoured mackerel sushi, ramen noodles and beef stew.
Studies support her advice: the World Health Organization advises a healthy diet. That means eating a variety of different foods,especially plenty of fruit and vegetables. We should also try to cut down on foods with lots of sugar, salt, or fat.
Most importantly, a healthy diet is about balance. Eat too much or too little, and it can lead to illness. Eating unhealthily can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and obesity. But it is important that we eat enough. Food acts as a fuel to get us through the day and helps the body grow and repair.
Healthy eating is not just about physical benefits – it also makes us happier. Research suggests that having a sugary diet can actually make us feel more tired. On the other hand, balanced meals leave us feeling satisfied, happy, and energised.
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In this video, find out more about the different food groups and how a balanced diet can affect how we feel throughout the day.
- Research a healthy recipe online and try it out at home.
- Keep a food diary for a week, listing everything you eat. Is it balanced? Is there anything your diet is missing?