These are the foods that are scientifically proven to turn back your biological clock. Although no one food can extend your life by itself, it’s important to incorporate all of these foods into your diet as often as you can.
Whether they’re chock-full of antioxidants, can help lower the amount of “bad” cholesterol, or are good for your blood sugar, these foods will help you stave off chronic, life-threatening disease and age gracefully into your golden years and beyond.
A diet with fatty fish, including salmon, may help slow an aging heart. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower blood pressure and can help prevent heart disease. A small study published in Nutrition Research found that when men included oily fish in their lunches for 8 weeks, the men experienced high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of triglycerides and inflammatory markers. The researchers concluded that including oily fish, like salmon, in your diet can likely reduce levels of cardiovascular disease risk markers.
Yogurt is one of our favorite foods, especially protein-packed Greek yogurt. But it’s the live cultures, not protein, in yogurt that may keep you alive longer. Over a century ago, one researcher noticed an unusually extended lifespan among people who consumed large amounts of probiotic-rich yogurt. The specific mechanism is still unclear, but researchers believe that probiotics can influence longevity by decreasing the harmful effects of stress and modulating your insulin response.
3. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate (think: more than 75% cacao) is rich in antioxidants, which could help stave off disease and help you live longer. A review published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is mainly attributed to the flavonoids found in cocoa, which protect cells from free radicals; lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure; and improve blood flow.
Your morning coffee habit doesn’t just wake you up—it could also save your life. Research conducted by Stanford Medicine found that caffeine, like the levels found in coffee, can help fight off disease-causing chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and other life-threatening chronic illnesses. The researchers also reviewed another study published in the journal Nature Medicine and found that study participants who had the most caffeine intake had the lowest levels of inflammation.
Inflammation can age your body fast, putting you at risk for weight gain, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Tomatoes can help fight inflammation, thanks to the presence of lycopene. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, lycopene has also been linked to lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. According to a review article published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, eating lycopene-rich tomatoes and tomato products has been shown to be associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Green tea is one of our favorite foods for weight loss; it’s been shown to rev up your metabolism, squash hunger, quell stress, and shrink fat cells. In addition to keeping weight off, it also has anti-aging benefits. A British Journal of Nutrition study found that drinking just one cup of green tea per day was associated with a 5 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and with a 4 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality. Not a green tea fan? No problem. Sipping on a cup of black tea every day was also significantly linked to a lower risk of all-cause mortality as well as cancer mortality.
Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants, which are some of your most powerful weapons against aging. Antioxidants help ward off disease and can fight inflammation. There’s one group of bioactive compounds in blueberries, known as flavonoids, that has been linked to longer lifespans. A British Journal of Nutrition study examined data from the Nurses Health Study: one of the largest investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women that followed over 93,000 women over the course of decades. The researchers found a close link between eating flavonoid-rich foods—specifically red wine, tea, peppers, blueberries, and strawberries—were at reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to those who did not consume these foods in significant quantities.
People tend to steer clear of carb-heavy meals, like oatmeal, but this fiber-rich grain can help regulate cholesterol. Oats contains beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. When eating in their whole form, oats rich in beta-glucan help lower levels of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream, which can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a review in the journal Food & Function.
Avocados are more than just a trendy toast topping; the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats could help lower cholesterol, and stave off heart disease. These healthy fats also help you eat less by keeping you feeling fuller, longer. And there could be some powerful disease-fighting components; a study published in the journal Cancer Research found that molecules in avocados targeted stem cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is an aggressive type of cancer that kills 90% of people who are diagnosed over the age of 65.
Like almonds, walnuts contain hearty levels of good-for-you monounsaturated fats and can help lower bad cholesterol. They may also help prevent cognitive decline; a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that eating walnuts was associated with better memory. Researchers believe it’s the antioxidants in walnuts that could be the reason.
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