Everyone wants to live longer and better, and there is no doubt that the incorporation of these five nutritional superfoods can help you in your quest to improve your health and longevity. I make sure to include these foods in my diet as much as I can.
5 Foods That Make You Live Longer
1. Eat More Fish
If you compare the diets of various regions of the globe with the rates of commonly occurring diseases, a few things become quite obvious.
For one, the consumption of more fish in the diet leads to a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Those populations, on average, also weigh less and live longer. There are several reasons for this, but one of the more important factors is the increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids contained within the people who live in areas where fish are a staple of the regional diet.
These fats, which are really polyunsaturated oils, decrease the incidence of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
What to do: People who consume the highest amounts of oily fish (tuna, sardine, herring, mackerel, anchovy, trout, and salmon) have the lowest mortality rates. I recommend two to three servings per week.
2. Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast
For as long as I can remember, I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast for a very important reason: the soluble fiber contained within oatmeal controls my cholesterol levels and stabilizes my blood sugar, preventing me from gaining weight and feeling hungry.
It also improves the way my body secretes and uses insulin, helping me avoid diabetes and heart disease. I eat this wonderful food every day for breakfast—I know this is truly a food that can help me live longer!
What to do: I recommend eating half a cup of dry oatmeal per day. I like the quick oats variety, mixed with nuts and fresh berries.
3. Eat Dark Colored Vegetables
Whether eaten raw, lightly steamed, or grilled, dark-colored vegetables contain a concentrated supply of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant chemicals which can lower your risk of developing a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, vascular disease, and some types of cancers.
The dark-colored vegetables that I recommend you eat are kale, red pepper, broccoli, red cabbage, and spinach.
What to do: People who consume more of these foods can expect to live a longer and healthier life. I recommend two to three servings per day.
4. Drink Green Tea
The medicinal properties of tea have been established and documented for literally centuries! There is also a plethora of research indicating that the chemicals contained in tea can lower inflammation, combat against free radical invaders, keep your cardiovascular system working better, and aid against certain cancer cell growth.
It is widely accepted that people living in areas where the intakes of green tea are higher suffer less chronic disease and live longer, compared to other populations of people who consume little or no green tea.
The catechins found in green tea can also help you manage your weight, because they affect the rates of fat use for energy by our muscles.
What to do: Enjoy green tea (I like it with peppermint) and consume one to two cups per day.
5. Eat More Garlic
The consumption of garlic can help you live longer—well into an older age. The sulphur-containing allium compounds in the garlic—which gives the plant its characteristic odor—are also responsible for garlic’s medicinal properties.
Garlic has also been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat infections, poor circulation, and cancer. Eaten cooked or raw, the compounds in garlic have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and enhance immune function, enabling the body to fight foreign invaders, including abnormal cancer cells.
What to do: I love using garlic in cooking and enjoy the flavor it brings to my food. Try using one to two cloves of roasted garlic in a spread or garnish for your favorite bread.
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Zhang, J., et al., “Randomized controlled trial of oatmeal consumption versus noodle consumption on blood lipids of urban Chinese adults with hypercholesterolemia,” Nutr J. August 6, 2012; 11: 54.
Karppi, J., et al., “Serum β-carotene concentrations and the risk of congestive heart failure in men: A population-based study,” Int J Cardiol. January 17, 2013.
Hodgson, A.B., et al., “The Effect of Green Tea Extract on Fat Oxidation at Rest and during Exercise: Evidence of Efficacy and Proposed Mechanisms,” Adv Nutr. March 1, 2013; 4(2): 129-40.
Orekhov, A.N., et al., “Anti-Atherosclerotic Therapy Based on Botanicals,” Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov November 23, 2012 [Epub ahead of print]