Eating the right foods can help you live longer and healthier. Studies show that incorporating superfoods like berries, nuts and vegetables into a balanced diet increases longevity and quality of life.
Let’s take a look at 5 super foods that help increase longevity.
What are super foods?
According to Medical News Today, superfoods are whole foods such as nuts, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nutrient-rich fish. Foods high in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants are often considered superfoods due to their many health benefits.
Nutritionist Beth Czerwony told Cleveland Clinic that superfoods promote health by enhancing immune function and reducing the risk of disease prevention or progression.
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula and cauliflower are all considered cruciferous vegetables. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these vegetables are so rich in nutrients that you can determine how packed a vegetable is by the depth of its color.
A good rule of thumb for greens or any fruit or vegetable is that the darker the color, the more nutrient dense it is. For example, spinach contains more vitamins and minerals than lettuce, registered dietitian Amber Sommer told Cleveland Clinic.
Studies show that cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including pancreatic, breast, lung, bladder, prostate and colon cancers. Some researchers believe this is because cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins E, C and K as well as fiber, folate and minerals.
One study found that people who consumed more cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Another study found that women who ate more cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer.
Additionally, a study from 2011 reported that people who ate more vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and an increased overall lifespan. A 2021 study also found that eating more vegetables and fruits was associated with reduced mortality and cardiovascular disease.
2. Olive oil
Olive oil is packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. A study from Harvard Health says higher olive oil consumption is linked to longevity.
Researchers combined results from two previous Harvard studies, which gave them reports from more than 92,000 men and women who closely monitored their dietary habits for decades, according to Harvard Health. They found that people who consumed the most olive oil (about half a tablespoon per day) had a 19% lower risk of dying from any cause over a 28-year period.
Higher olive oil consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease or lung disease. Harvard Health research shows that among people who replaced butter, margarine or mayonnaise with olive oil, death rates were up to 34% lower than among people who did not substitute olive oil for these fats. there.
A large 2014 research review of more than 140,000 participants found that people who regularly consumed olive oil had a much lower risk of stroke. Another review of studies shares that olive oil is the only monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Berries are one of the healthiest foods for your body. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said people who eat more berries seem to live a little longer on average.
Studies show that people who regularly consume berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and goji berries have a reduced risk of heart attack, healthy weight maintenance and rate of cognitive decline. Slower.
These benefits cannot be underestimated, and it is important that Americans increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, said Taylor Wallace, principal and CEO of Think Healthy Group, a food science research company. and nutrition, a professor in the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University, said. Tufts University and Forbes Health Advisory Board member, told Forbes Health.
Wallace adds that plants have an average of 64 times more antioxidants than any animal-based food. Gram for gram, to absorb the antioxidant content of 100 grams of blueberries, you would need to eat 308 salmon fillets.
A study of more than 93,000 women found that those who ate at least three servings of strawberries and/or blueberries a day had a 30% reduced risk of heart attack.
One study found that blueberries and strawberries may also slow cognitive decline. Researchers tracked the diets of participants for nearly two decades, finding a link between eating more berries and a slower rate of cognitive decline.
Eating just a handful of nuts a day can help you live a longer, healthier life.
A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate nuts daily had a 20% lower risk of death during a 30-year study.
“We found that people who eat nuts every day live longer, healthier lives,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. people who don’t eat nuts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regularly eating nuts is linked to: better artery health, reduced risk of blood clots, reduced risk of high blood pressure, reduced risk of premature death from heart disease, and reduced levels of unhealthy cholesterol strong.
5. Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are excellent sources of fiber, minerals, vitamins and plant-based protein, Healthline reports.
According to Dan Buettner, an author who has spent decades studying green areas around the world, people live long, healthy lives, often exceeding 100 years.
“In every green zone I visited, beans and other legumes were and still are a staple of the daily diet,” says Buettner.
Several studies replicate Buettners’ findings. A 2004 study reported that people who eat more beans live longer. A 2001 study shared that consuming beans four times per week reduced the risk of heart disease by 22%.
“I always hear that American families cannot afford to provide their families with healthy food,” Buettner said. Unfortunately, that’s true when it comes to organic foods and other fresh foods, but I tell them they can still get there by making beans and whole grains the foundation for many meals.
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