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Staying young

Monkeying around keeps us healthy

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Wild chimps can teach us a lot about healthy ageing, says Tim Vernimmen in National Geographic. They have better health in old age than lab chimps, largely because they have more space to roam. The oldest known wild chimpanzee, Auntie Rose, died in early 2007, aged 63; chimps at biomedical research facilities in the US were considered “geriatric” once they passed 35.

The fate of “ailing captive chimps” offers a stark warning to humans: “It’s not physical activity, but inactivity, that makes us frail.” Older people tend to grow less active as they age, succumbing to the “self-fulfilling prophecy that their bodies are naturally weakening”. Yet wild chimps like Auntie Rose, who walk miles a day to find food and don’t receive medical care, appear to age in a much healthier way.

Should you eat the same meal every day? 

Celebrities swear by the Groundhog Day diet, where you eat the same meal every day, says Tanner Garrity in Inside Hook. For Victoria Beckham it’s a piece of salmon, and for basketball star Stephen Curry it’s pasta with San Marzano tomatoes. Cristiano Ronaldo lives on chicken, broccoli and rice.

But is it any good for you? Having a healthy go-to meal prevents your “hangry self” roaring out, craving salt, sugar and fatty food. The “I’m starving” march through the grocery store never ends well. That said, “there is no Holy Grail meal that includes everything your body needs”. It’s tricky to eat a wide enough range of fruit, vegetables and pulses on the Groundhog Day diet. I’d recommend having a staple snack each day – like oatmeal with peanut butter – and leaving room for “imagination and nutrition” in your main meals.