WARNING: There’s a new diet trend brewing and we think it’s only fair that we tell you everything you need to know about sirtfoods so you can be the one to go, “Oh yeah, sirtfoods, that’s last week’s news” the first time someone mentions them to you. Naturally, the Daily Mail has already described it as a “wonder food“. SPOILER: it’s not.
So What The Heck Are Sirtfoods?
Let’s turn this over to our old pal, dietitian Sarah Herbert: “Sirtuins are a class of proteins found in living things that research has shown are involved in regulating many important biological processes such as ageing, cellular death, inflammation and metabolism. There are seven sirtuins in mammals, ranging from SIRT1 to SIRT7 – with SIRT1 being the most well researched. Currently, the best hypothesis is that sirtuins protect cells from dying when they’re under stress, however more studies are needed in humans, to get a fuller picture of how they work.”
In short, sirtfoods are any that activate these particular genes and get them working for you.
So what should you eat if you want to get your sirts pumping?
As this excellent research article explains the main foods that activate sirtuins are those that exist within a Meditterasian diet – lots of green veg, red wine and olive oil. Combined with green tea, cumin and turmeric are all going to get your sirtuins going. The top foods to target are:
1) GREEN TEA
2) DARK CHOCOLATE
8) CITRUS FRUITS
10) RED WINE
Nice to see our old pal red wine making the list.
So how should you change your diet?
Well, you might already have unwittingly experimented with getting your sirtuins on the move with a calorie restriction diet in the form of 5:2, or intermittent fasting. However, given that they’re overwhelmingly healthy options anyway there’s certainly no harm in adding sirtfoods to your diet. And if that means that you have a glass of red wine occasionally, then who are we to stop you?
“Fortunately, as health fads go, there’s very little to say against sirtfoods,” says Herbert. “You can see from the list of foods below that they are the sort of items that regularly feature on lists of “healthy” foods. However, it would be great to think of these as simply one facet of a healthy diet. No one needs to buy the sirtfood cook book. Just keep making healthy choices, selecting a balance and variety of foods, get plenty of hydration and rest and make sure that you stay active – all of which are vital for good health.”
Let the backlash commence
One study published in the Journal of Physiology showed that excessive consumption of sirtuin-activators like resveratrol could undermine the positive effects of exercise, such as lowered blood pressure and better cholesterol scores. However, this study was looking at those people supplementing with high levels (250mg per day) of resveratrol. As a glass of red wine might only contain up to 2mg, it is perhaps the safer and tastier option but as with anything in life, moderation is key.