Read time: 6 min.
Issue 08 * 20 January 2024

The Secrets to a Longer Life: Expert Tips on Health and Longevity

Dr Sabine Donnai, founder of and a former Medical Director of Nuffield Health has made longevity her specialisation. She shares her wisdom for a long life with Goldster.

Dr Sabine Donnai

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Introduction to Longevity: Insights from Dr. Sabine Donnai

How to live a long and healthy life? It’s a question many of us will ask over the years. Dr Sabine Donnai is a high-flying doctor who has been studying this very question for a long time and she has concluded it's down to multiple factors – and firstly – it’s never too late to start afresh.

“The most important learning we have had over the years of measuring and managing biological ages is that it’s never too late to start taking care of your ageing process,” makes clear Dr Sabine. So, therefore, being over 50 shouldn’t stop you from doing a lifestyle overhaul and radically improving your health and wellness. “Extremely seldom do we see a situation where we can’t positively influence any or all of the biological age markers or biological clocks.” She continues. “Every cell in our systems renews at least once per year and you can decide the amount of nutrients, hormones, oxygen, sugar, inflammation, DNA repair, toxins, energy etc you put into this new cell. You make a new body every year and it is in our hands how resilient these new cells, this new body will be in a year. We see biological ages dropping by 10 years with the correct approach.”

Five Pillars of Longevity by Dr Sabine: A Comprehensive Guide

According to Dr Sabine, there are five pillars to robust health and longevity: activity and fitness, nutrition, toxicity, living life on purpose and sleep and relaxation. The first of these, activity and fitness, is key. “Both cardiovascular fitness and weight training are super important to support longevity,” Dr Sabine says. “Cardiovascular training, weight training and maintaining muscle mass are hugely important to keep stimulating the production of Growth Hormone and other sex hormones such as testosterone. 20,-30m training sessions three times per week is all that is needed! However, over and above fitness activities, daily movement is necessary and possibly even more important if one would have to choose – 10,000 steps per day!”

Combating Aging with Proper Nutrition: Colourful and Balanced Diets

  • Nutrition is another important pillar and despite her claim there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this, Dr Sabine has a number of tips about diet:
  • Eat a rainbow diet including a variety of colourful vegetables, herbs spices and legumes to ensure sufficient intake of vitamins, minerals and prebiotics to feed the trillions of bacteria in the gut.
  • Protein with every meal – to maintain control of sugar levels and support muscle mass.
  • Include probiotic foods in your diet on a daily basis – kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables or kombucha.
  • Have a regular intake of Omega 3-rich foods – oily fish or for vegetarians algae, seaweed chia, hemp and flax seeds or walnuts.
  • Reduce inflammatory foods and foods we find many are intolerant to – gluten, vegetable oils and dairy products.
  • The vast majority of inflammation we have found is caused by sugar and refined carbohydrates. These underlying inflammatory responses are often the start of chronic disease.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink 2 litres of water per day.

If this seems like a lot, Dr Sabine says there are two main points you should heed. “Keep your gut biome healthy and happy and reduce sugar and refined carbohydrate intake.”

Reducing Inflammation and Chronic Disease: Dietary Tips

So if this is all that we should be proactive about – what should we be avoiding? What’s Dr Sabine’s take on smoking and drinking with regard to longevity? “Both smoking and alcohol are of course toxins. These will need to be eliminated and cleared out of the system,” reckons Dr Sabine. “There are also other toxins we ideally eliminate efficiently such as air pollution, tap water, heavy metals and pesticides on food. Toxins cause inflammation – inflammation makes us age and triggers chronic disease and genetic vulnerabilities.”

Lifestyle Toxins and Their Impact on Longevity

Anything else we should be avoiding to ensure a longer life?  “Manage stress!” urges Dr Sabine, “ensure good quality sleep! Stress and poor sleep steal years and quality years from our lives. It is not a matter of avoiding stress (some stress can be positive!) but it’s a matter of managing stress and having proper sleep hygiene (stay away from phones/tablets/PCs at least an hour before bedtime).”

So plenty of healthy ageing and longevity wisdom to ruminate on here. A longer and happier life awaits!