- Bird’s eye chilli Also sold as Thai chillies, they’re more potent than regular chilis, and also more packed with nutrients. Use them to set off sweet or sour recipes.
- Buckwheat Technically a pseudo-grain: it’s actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb. Also available in noodle form (as soba), but make sure you’re getting the wheat-free version.
- Capers In case you’re wondering, they’re pickled flower buds. Sprinkle them over salad or roasted cauliflower.
- Celery The hearts and leaves are the most nutritious part, so don’t throw them away if you’re blending up a shake.
- Cocoa The flavonol-rich kind improves blood pressure, blood sugar control and cholesterol. Look for a high percentage of cacao.
- Coffee Drink it black – there’s some evidence that milk can reduce the absorption of sirtuin-activating nutrients.
- Extra virgin olive oil The extra virgin type has more Sirt benefits, and a more satisfying, peppery taste.
- Green tea or matcha Add a slice of lemon to increase absorption of sirtuin-producing nutrients. Matcha is even better, but go Japanese, not Chinese, to avoid potential lead contamination.
- Kale Includes huge amounts of sirtuin-activating nutrients quercetin and kaempferol. Massage it with olive oil and lemon juice to serve it as a salad.
- Lovage It’s a herb. Grow your own on a windowsill, and throw it into stir-fries.
- Medjool dates They’re a hefty 66% sugar, but – in moderation – don’t raise blood sugar levels, and have actually been linked to lowered rates of diabetes and heart disease.
- Parsley More than just a garnish – it’s high in apigenin. Throw it into a smoothie or juice for the full benefit.
- Chicory Red is best, but yellow works fine. Include it in a salad.
- Red onion The red variety’s better for you, and sweet enough to eat raw. Chop it and add to a salad, or eat it with a burger.
- Red wine You’ve heard of resveratrol: the good news is, it’s heat stable, so you can get benefits from cooking with it (as well as drinking it straight). Pinot noir has the highest content.
- Rocket One of the least interfered-with salad greens available. Drizzle it with olive oil.
- Soy Soybeans and miso are high in sirtuin activators. Include it in stir-fries.
- Strawberries Though they’re sweet, they only contain 1tsp of sugar per 100g – and research suggests they improve your body’s ability to handle sugary carbs.
- Turmeric Evidence suggests the curcumin in it has anti-cancer properities. It’s difficult for the body to assimilate alone, but cooking it in liquid and adding fat and black pepper increases absorption.
- Walnuts High in fat and calories, but well established in reducing metabolic disease. Smash them up with parsley for sirt-flavoured pesto.
Triggering your SIRT genes sparks a change in your metabolism that breaks down more fat cells. The activated SIRTs increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which is used by the nervous system as a signal to fat cells, telling them to break down fat. The signal telling the fat cell to convert fat to energy is stronger, increasing fat burning. This is the background to helping you lose weight with Sirtfoods. Foods that burn fat are the holy grail of weight-loss research and to lose weight with Sirtfoods is at the forefront of new research in this field.
Want to burn more fat?
Drink green tea. Green tea combines SIRT activators and a (small) dose of caffeine. The caffeine enhances the effect of the SIRTs, meaning more fat is broken down.
There is a natural appetite suppressant effect when the body breaks down fat and the fat is converted into energy. This energy is used immediately by the body. This has a positive effect on how you feel, giving your energy levels a boost and decreasing the feelings of hunger.
Converting fat to muscle
Combining SIRTs with exercise boosts the fat-burning effect even further. If you exercise the energy released from fat cells is available for strengthening muscles.
In practice this means that if you follow the SIRTFOOD diet and exercise several times a week you will not only lose weight, but you will look and feel leaner as some of the weight has been converted into muscle.
For absolute peak fat-burning performance when exercising, drink two cups of green tea (for the SIRTs and the caffeine) within one hour before or after exercise.
Sirtfoods are not only compatible with all other dietary approaches but will,in fact greatly enhance their benefits in health and weight. This applies to diets like intermittent fasting,low-carb,paleo and gluten-free which are currently very popular.
Eating a diet rich in Sirtfoods means that the calorie restriction of intermittent fasting can be less severe,yet the benefits will be the same if not greater. A 7 day benefit rather than just say 5 on the 5:2 day fasting regimen.
Low-carb diets that lack plant-based foods can be dramatically enhanced by the inclusion of Sirtfoods. The vast majority of the top 20 Sirtfoods are low in carbs.
Sirtfoods are archetypal paleo foods,containing the sirtuin-activating polyphenols that people have been eating and reaping the benefits from over countless years. Sirtfoods are a missing piece of the paleo philosophy.
The top 20 Sirtfoods are naturally gluten-free making them advantageous for anyone following a gluten-free diet.
The sirtfood portion sizes listed below give an approximation of how much of the food you need to consume to get 1 of your SIRT 5 a day. Remember you should aim for at least 5 SIRT portions every day. Here are examples of food menus with SirtFoods.
SIRTFOODS HEALTHIER THAN SUPPLEMENTS?
Sirtuin activators and sirtfoods are very new to the science of nutrition. A ‘sirtfood’ is actually a food high in sirtuin activators. Vitamins were discovered more than 100 years ago, antioxidants 50 years ago and sirtuin activators just over ten years ago.
The first sirtuin activator identified – and still the best known – was resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes (which is why red wine is believed to keep you healthy), pomegranates and Japanese knotweed.
Other sirtuin activators soon followed, such as catechins (found in green tea and thought to work against cancer cells) and epicatechins in cocoa powder (responsible for the health benefits of dark chocolate).
But research really took off when the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline bought the rights to produce synthetic versions of resveratrol for £462 million. It excitedly trialed this as a cancer treatment but the results were not impressive. In 2010 the company announced that it had stopped the research.
But it now seems eating sirtfoods naturally rich in sirtuin activators may be a healthier, more effective – and cheaper – alternative to supplements. This was the thinking behind the many recent trials of sirtfoods and the sirtfood diet. Present results indicate that sirtfoods target exactly the same pathway for losing weight and staying healthy as calorie restriction and exercise.
There is growing evidence that sirtuin activators may have a wide range of health benefits as well as building muscle and suppressing appetite. These include improving memory, helping the body better control blood sugar levels and cleaning up the damage from free radical molecules that can accumulate in cells and lead to cancer and other diseases.
‘Substantial observational evidence exists for the beneficial effects of the intake of food and drink rich in sirtuin activators in decreasing risks of chronic disease,’ said Professor Frank Hu, an expert in nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University in a recent article in the journal Advances In Nutrition. A sirtfood diet is particularly suitable as an anti-aging regime.
Although sirtuin activators are found all through the plant kingdom, only certain fruits and vegetables have large enough amounts to count as sirtfoods. Examples include green tea, cocoa powder, the Indian spice turmeric, kale, onions and parsley.
Many of the fruit and vegetables on display in supermarkets, such as tomatoes, avocados, bananas, lettuce, kiwis, carrots and cucumber, are actually rather low in sirtuin activators. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth eating, though, as they provide lots of other benefits.
The beauty of eating a diet packed with sirtfoods is that it’s far more flexible than other diets. You could simply eat healthily adding some sirtfoods on top. Or you could have them in a concentrated way. Adding sirtfoods to say, the 5:2 diet could allow more calories on the low-calorie days.
A remarkable finding of one sirtfood diet trial is that participants lost substantial weight without losing muscle. In fact, it was common for participants to actually gain muscle, leading to a more defined and toned look. That’s the beauty of sirtfoods; they activate fat burning but also promote muscle growth, maintenance and repair. This is in complete contrast to other diets where weight loss typically comes from both fat and muscle, with the loss of muscle slowing down metabolism and making weight regain more likely.