Eating well has many benefits, but one of them is helping you live longer. That’s right – certain foods have actually been proven to help people live longer, healthier lives. While none of these “longevity diet” foods alone will literally save your life, eaten on a consistent basis, many of them will absolutely contribute to keep certain aspects of your health and bodily functions operating at peak performance. Take a look at these 13 foods that will save your life:
1. Olive Oil
An amazing healthy oil, olive oil has been shown to specifically prevent breast- and colon-cancer causing cells from developing in the body, reducing risks of cancer by up to 12%. There are also links showing olive oil can contribute to mental health1, keeping minds active even in old age.
2. Dark Chocolate
Excellent for heart health, one group of people2 on the San Blas islands has little to no heart disease – and many scientists think it’s because of the chocolate they eat as a regular part of their diet. The polyphenols in dark chocolate help reduce blood pressure2, and flavonoids help prevent blood clots and inflammation1.
While most people recognize this food on the table at Thanksgiving or associate the juice with preventing kidney stones, cranberries are also extremely high in antioxidants. One study even showed1 evidence that a mixture of cranberries and oregano would help extend the life of humans.
Any red-colored vegetable is a healthy choice, but beets in particular have shown an ability to lower blood pressure3 and fight inflammation in your body1.
The bright orange color in pumpkin is due to its high content of carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. This powerful vitamin helps your body stay less at risk for certain kinds of cancers4, and has the added benefit of keeping your skin youthful and healthy.
You know what they say about an apple a day – and there’s definitely a grain of truth in that saying. These delicious fruits are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants1, although most of those are found in the fruit’s skin. All that fiber aids digestion and keeps your heart healthy. A recent study even shows apples specifically benefit the lungs of smokers5.
Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a champion for heart health. Research has shown3 men who ate the most baked or boiled fish cut their risk of death by heart disease by 23%. There are many more benefits to eating fish, but the heart-disease and cancer reducing benefits top the list.
Green and delicious, this vegetable has glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the plant world. It particularly keeps heart disease, dementia, and cancer at bay. The folate in asparagus keeps brain function optimal1 even into old age.
9. Green Tea
Packed with antioxidants, green tea fights free radicals5 and even boosts your metabolism, helping your burn those calories more quickly. It lowers your risk of stroke, prevents cancer, and protects your bones against osteoporosis4. What’s not to like?
10. Bok Choy
This cruciferous vegetable, common in Asian cuisine, has death-defying nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, and folate. For cancer survivors, it’s a good idea to eat even more of: studies have shown eating cruciferous vegetables can greatly reduce the risk of cancer recurrence3.
11. Spicy Food
A recent study in China6 showed that people who ate spicy food twice a week were 10% less likely to die than people who ate spicy foods less frequently. Specifically, risk of cancer and heart disease is lowered1 when you turn up the heat in your food.
This fermented food from Korea combines the health benefits of garlic, spicy foods, and fermented foods into one. There is some evidence fermented foods can be a natural treatment for people struggling with anxiety and depression1. The probiotics naturally found in kimchi help keep your gut happy and healthy.
Lycopene, a nutrient tomatoes are full of, is one of the most powerful weapons the body has in warding off cancer1. Eating tomatoes cooked actually increases how much lycopene your body is able to absorb. Additionally, tomatoes keep your eyes healthy4 by preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Following a longevity diet isn’t too hard; in fact, many of the foods on this list overlap with other healthy diets and lifestyles. Incorporate a few of these each day into your meal plan [link to not yet published 310 article], and your health is sure to see the benefits.