June Brown has revealed her secret to staying healthy – she never mixes carbohydrates and protein.

The EastEnders veteran, 83, is often seen chain smoking in character as Dot Cotton, and in real life the actress smokes – but the star says she is very health conscious.

She told OK! magazine: “I’ve been very fortunate because my mother looked much younger than her age. I’ve also followed the Hay Diet for years – you can eat all sorts of lovely things like cream and cheese, but you just don’t mix protein and carbohydrates in the same meal.

“I also make sure I eat almonds every day. I grind them up and have a dessert spoonful on my porridge, as they have folic acid in them which is good for combating cancer. I also never touch sugar because it’s poison.”

But she admitted she tries not to worry too much about her smoking.

“I try not to (worry) and I don’t count how many cigarettes I smoke. I think the worry is the dangerous thing. I have a cover for my cigarettes so I don’t see (the health warnings). I don’t want to read all those nasty messages. I’m convinced that my mother’s cancer, which she died from, was caused from anxiety and stress.

“I’ve tried to give up several times. I don’t inhale, I haven’t since I was 16 when I inhaled deeply and turned green. I do worry sometimes about my throat. But I did say to my doctor once that I was thinking of giving up, but he said: ‘Don’t June – you’ll kill yourself.'”

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