food

The breakfast food that could make you live longer.

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Put down the green smoothie. Save the yoghurt for your afternoon snack.

Apparently, if you want to live longer, there’s just one brekky food you need in your pantry – and no, it’s not one of those new-fangled, too-cool-for-school ‘superfoods’ you’re sick of hearing about.

It’s porridge. Yep – the most humble, affordable, unpretentious item in your pantry is apparently the one that’s keeping your health in check.

Seems Oliver Twist had the right idea all along.

"Please, sir, can I have some more?"

New research from Harvard University has found the simple act of eating whole grains can help extend your life expectancy.

In a 14-year study of more than 100,000 people, it emerged the participants who ate more whole grains - including porridge, brown rice and quinoa - fared better when it came to several diseases, particularly heart disease.

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According to the study's findings, each 28g serving of whole grains per day - which roughly equates to a single bowl of porridge - reduced the risk of all death by 5 per cent, and the risk of death by heart disease dropped by 9 per cent. These results were mostly unchanged by factors like smoking, BMI, physical activity and age.

This is great news, because switching to wholegrains - which have a higher concentration of protein than the refined grains used to make white bread, pasta and so on - is actually bloody easy. Choosing a packet of brown rice instead of the usual white version is a small price to pay for a longer life, right?

Then, on the weekends, you can always treat yourself to brunch...

"At this time of year when we are all making resolutions to eat better, switching to whole-grain versions of bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and rice is a simple change to make,” Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation told The Telegraph.

She also noted that the study participants who ate more whole grains also tended to follow a healthier lifestyle overall, so don't go abandoning your other good habits just yet - grains can't do all the hard work for you, unfortunately.

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If the thought of eating porridge for breakfast bores you, remember we've come a long way since the days of plain ol' gruel (although apparently gruel is making a comeback...). A few simple additions like cinnamon, honey and fruit (especially poached fruit) are enough to transform porridge from a humble bowl of oats to a warm hug of utter deliciousness.

What makes this news even more palatable is the fact that porridge is so damn affordable. Unlike other health foods that tend to blow out your grocery bill (thanks for playing, chia seeds), you can pick up a bag or box of porridge oats for a couple of bucks, leaving you more cash for other things.

So basically, you'll be living longer and having more money to spend while you do it. Win win.

What's your favourite way to eat porridge?

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