WHO, as Freddie Mercury once asked, wants to live forever? Would you settle for reaching 100? In that case you need to cut out most meat and fish, stop consuming dairy products and reduce your refined sugar intake substantially. You know what that means, don’t you? No biscuits.

In their place you should be upping your intake of whole grains, greens, tubers, nuts and beans (and we’re not talking Heinz here). Basically, you need to eat a lot more lentils, though the good news is that a glass of red wine a day might help.

These were the findings of The Food Programme on Radio 4 this week (Sunday & Monday), which asked the question why some people live longer than others. The answers weren’t encouraging for those of us who like a Twix with our tea.

At the heart of the programme was the research of author and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner, who has identified five parts of the world - called Blue Zones - where people tend to live into healthy old age.

“These are people achieving the capacity of our human machine,” Buettner told The Food Programme’s presenter Leyla Kazim. “They are living into their mid-nineties without diabetes or heart disease or certain types of cancers or even dementia.”

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Where are these blue spots? Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia, Loma Linda in California, “home to one of the highest concentrations of Seventh Day Adventists in the world,” Kazim pointed out, Costa Rica and Ikaria in Greece.

Not Airdrie in other words.

The current life expectancy in the UK is 83. More depressingly, our average “healthy” life expectancy is just 63. How then do we avoid a miserable, unhealthy, unhappy old age?

Buettner pointed out a long, healthy life requires not just the right food. Being active, being connected with other people and being stress-free are also part of the recipe. “When I first started writing about Blue Zones nobody knew loneliness was dangerous,” he suggested. “Nobody knew the importance of walking as opposed to running marathons. Nobody knew the importance of having a sense of purpose and how that can add years to your life. These are the things that people do unconsciously in Blue Zones.

“And then, yes, their diet. I would say their diet is probably about 50 per cent of the formula.”

Actually, the most depressing part of the programme was the suggestion that the diets of those in the Blue Zones are now under pressure. Fast food is taking over - and as a result life expectancy is dropping - in Costa Rica and Okinawa. Another win for capitalism.

Diet inevitably raised its fermented head on last Saturday’s Your Place or Mine on Radio 4 on Saturday and on BBC Sounds, in which writer and comedian Rob Auton attempted to convince host and reluctant traveller Shaun Keaveny to visit Rekyjavik. In this case it was those traditional Icelandic delicacies, dried fish and sour ram's testicles.

Keaveny wasn't keen, perhaps understandably. But Iceland is one of the most amazing places on Earth. And on my last (and sadly only) visit there, I was offered neither hardfiskur (the dried fish) nor sursadir hrutspungar (the ram’s testicles). So the food is no reason not to go.

And look at all the other things you can do while you’re there, Auton pointed out. Whale-watching, puffin-spotting, visiting geysers, seeing the Northern Lights.

Keaveny wasn’t convinced however. And I’m not sure I am by this format. That’s not to say it’s not a fun listen. Auton and Keaveny are both very entertaining when it comes to inconsequentiality. Indeed, it was Keaveny’s strength when he had his afternoon slot on 6 Music.

But to get the most out of him I wonder if he needs a format that allows him to create his own world rather than talk about parts of the world visited by others to get the most out of him. Maybe an afternoon show on a music station or something?

Listen Out For: The Quay Sessions, Radio Scotland FM, Wednesday, 8pm

Roddy Hart is our host for this special festive Quay Session which features a hit-filled couple of hours in the company of Sharleen Spiteri and Texas.