We eat to live, but we could eat to live even longer.Most people grasp the general understanding of what a healthy diet looks like. We know it’s all about fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and lean sources of protein while keeping processed foods at a minimum. But are there any specific foods we should be focusing on adding to our diet that contribute to longevity?
Well, we’d have to look at the research. Here are some healthy foods that might as well be a part of a “longevity diet” based on how they’ve been shown to impact people’s health and wellbeing.
- Walnuts:In one study, people who ate more than three servings of nuts per week — especially walnuts — had a reduced risk of dying from from cardiovascular disease or cancer when compared to those who didn’t consume nuts.
- Salmon:Salmon is a rich source of polyunsaturated fat — a kind linked to a lowered risk of heart disease, and therefore a lowered risk of premature death. Salmon is particularly high in a kind of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3s.
- Whole Grains:Whole grains may not have much of a place in a low-carb or paleo diet, but it’s an essential part of the Mediterranean diet — a diet that has been associated with lower risks of heart disease, lower levels of bad cholesterol and an overall lower risk of death.
- Coffee:What you eat doesn’t just impact how much you weigh or how much energy you have — it also impacts how long you’ll live. That’s because people don’t simply die of old age but of diseases related to their lifestyles, which their diets can sometimes shield against.
- Spicy foods:Eating spicy foods won’t just make you see through time. They could also extend your time on Earth.The compound that makes hot foods hot, which could have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Mushrooms:A study determined mushrooms contain two antioxidants (ergothioneine and glutathione) that are particularly good at stopping free radicals — particles that float around the body causing all kinds of damage that’s believed to contribute to ageing.
- Beans:Beans, beans, they’re good for the… length of your lifespan.”Higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity,” the paper concluded.
- Blueberries:Blueberries’ distinctive colour comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanins (also found in other blue-purplish fruits and vegetables). According to Australian Blueberries, anthocyanins protect the body against cancer, heart disease, and degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Green tea:Tea, particularly green tea, is a rich source of those ever-helpful antioxidants. Besides boasting benefits like reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, the world’s second most popular beverage was shown to reduce risk of death by up to 26 percent for those who consumed several cups a day.
- Pick Protein:You already love protein for its muscle-building, satiating properties and now you can add longevity to its list of assets, according to research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- All the Green, Leafy Things
- Go Nuts:A handful of nuts a day can add many days to your life.
- Be Berry Good:Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and other berries are as healthy as they are tasty.
- Cranberries:Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these tart and somewhat bitter berries are good for you. Researchers found young fruit flies given cranberry extract lived 25 percent longer than those that weren’t.
- Whole grains and olive oil:Like so many others, you’ve probably heard plenty about the Mediterranean Diet. But what you may not know is the heart-healthy diet has been shown to increase the lifespan of elderly people by about 20 percent. The diet encourages eating lots of vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
- Choose fruits and vegetables wisely:Get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose from a full color palette. For even more health benefits, aim for nine servings a day. To get there, choose vegetable soups and vegetable or fruit salads. Sprinkle fruit on breakfast cereal, and select it for snacks or as a sweet end note after meals.
Eating the right foods, you’ll want to eat the right amounts of food, and adopt good exercise habits. Neither of these steps may be easy. Given the high cost of medical bills and the potential for high bills for long-term care.