One of the most amazing things about food and the act of eating several times a day is that each occasion provides us with an opportunity to affect our longevity. The choices you make for each meal and snack are powerful, and that power goes both ways: negative and positive.
To help ensure the majority of your choices have a positive effect on your lifespan, here is a list of 9 foods and beverages that can boost longevity. The one overriding characteristic of each selection is that it should be organic and as unprocessed as possible; that is, foods and beverages in their most natural state.
Berries. Blueberries often top the list of healthy berries, but you can’t go wrong if you also indulge in the dozen or more other types available. Berries are a superior source of phytochemicals with potent antioxidant properties that support longevity by enhancing your immune system, fighting cancer, supporting cardiovascular health, and reducing inflammation.
Coffee. When consumed in moderate amounts, coffee can provide a lengthy list of health benefits because of its high antioxidant content. Some of them include a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, some cancers, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Steer clear of conventionally grown coffee, which tends to be treated heavily with pesticides.
Cruciferous vegetables. The members of this nutritious and delicious vegetable family are chock full of vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, manganese, and sulforaphane, one of several glucosinolates in cruciferous veggies. Sulforaphane and other glucosinolates transform into isothiocyanates in the body and are known for their cancer-battling abilities.
Dark chocolate. Most people like to see this food on the longevity list for obvious reasons. It’s important to choose dark (raw, organic preferred) and not milk chocolate, as dark chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa, which is high in antioxidants. Consuming a moderate amount of dark chocolate has been associated with prevention of cognitive decline, improved blood pressure, a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, and possibly a lower risk of diabetes.
Fermented vegetables. The key to health and longevity is in your gut, so you need to ensure your intestinal flora are flourishing. One way to keep the balance of beneficial versus damaging bacteria is to eat fermented vegetables often. Be sure to choose true fermented vegetables—those with live bacteria–and not sauerkraut in a can. Fermented vegetables also have an ability to help the body eliminate toxins and heavy metals.
Garlic. The healing powers of garlic have been valued for centuries, and recent scientific studies have backed up the claims. Be sure to use fresh garlic to get the most from the formation of allicin, the substance that is responsible for most of the plant’s therapeutic powers. Among the benefits of garlic are a reduced risk of heart disease, lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, cancer-fighting properties, and antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral abilities.
Green tea. The catechins in green tea are credited with its health benefits, which range from improving blood circulation to lowering blood pressure, helping with weight loss, possibly fighting cancer, and reducing cholesterol. The theanine in green tea has a calming effect. Be sure to use pure water when brewing your green tea and don’t boil the water, since that isn’t good for the catechins. A bit of lemon can boost catechin absorption, but milk will reduce it.
Nuts. Are you nuts about nuts? In moderate amounts, most nuts are a great choice for snacking as well as a complement to cereals, salads, and main dishes. Raw nuts are a good source of healthy fats (monounsaturated, omega-3) and are associated with a reduced risk of dying. A 2016 international study of more than 50,000 adults found that people who ate nuts had a lower risk of dying than those who did not eat nuts, including death from cardiovascular disease and all cancers.
Water. Pure filtered water is the most basic factor in supporting longevity. Be sure to use it when making your teas, soups, and other foods as well as for drinking. Carry a stainless steel water bottle with you when away from home.
Written by Deborah Mitchell. Deborah Mitchell is passionate about personal health and the well-being of animals and the planet. She has authored, coauthored, and ghostwritten more than 40 books, contributes regularly to several websites, and shares information on physical, emotional, and spiritual health on her blog, deborahmitchellbooks.com.
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