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It’s something many of us hope for and now we know that there may actually be something we all can do to increase our chances of having it. We’re talking about life, more specifically, we’re talking about living a long life. Who doesn’t want to live into their 80s, 90’s or maybe even 100? Assuming you are healthy and happy enough to enjoy life, of course. Nobody has the real secret to a long life but there certainly are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. In addition to all the usual things you hear, like getting regular check-ups and exercising, you may be surprised to find out that there are certain things you can add to your diet that may increase your chances of living a long, healthy life. Even if you don’t care for some of the foods on this list, it might be worth learning to like them or at least tolerate them in exchange for the chance to live longer.
What a way to start the list, right? Well, as weird as it may sound to many of us in the western world, seaweed is a normal and expected part of the diet in places like Japan, a country that’s known for having an extraordinary number of citizens who have lived to be 100 years old. Seaweed contains vitamins A and C but may be most beneficial due to its iodine content. Some experts believe that many of us don’t get enough of this vital nutrient in our diet and that our health would benefit by consuming more of it. Iodine is needed for proper thyroid function and since the thyroid is responsible for hormone regulation, a whole host of health problems can result when it is not working properly.
This is great news for a lot of folks because nuts are a popular snack food that many people find almost as tasty as other snacks that might be classified as “junk food.” Nuts, however, are actually good for you. Eating nuts may boost brain health as one scientific study suggests when it found that elderly women who ate nuts at least five times per week performed better on cognitive tests than those who didn’t eat any. Although nuts are lauded as a healthy snack, it’s advisable to avoid “going nuts” when snacking on them since they tend to be high in calories and could pack on extra pounds, which certainly won’t do much for your longevity strategy.
This one might be a bit challenging for some readers but there are many varieties of fish to try which vary significantly in texture and taste, so don’t be too quick to cross this one off the list unless you’ve already explored the many options available today. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for heart health. For those that already enjoy eating fish, adding more of it to the diet in favor of less-healthy foods can aid weight loss. Finally, a study from 2015 found that eating fish on a daily basis reduced the chances of death from all causes, excluding things like accidents, of course.
Here’s one that probably holds a prominent position on the some-love-it-and-some-hate-it list. While we all would probably benefit from eating a lot of garlic, it’s understandable that some people would choose to limit their consumption due to its very strong flavor. For those that do indulge, expect to benefit from garlic’s many nutrients that can boost the immune system and even reduce the risk of colon cancer.
5. DARK CHOCOLATE
After learning about how good things like fish, seaweed, and garlic are for us, perhaps we should talk about healthy foods that are also a bit indulgent. In this case, it’s chocolate. More specifically, dark chocolate. While it may be a bit disappointing to some that milk chocolate doesn’t quite meet the standards for a food that can help you live longer, dark chocolate is better than no chocolate. And the benefits are probably quite worthwhile even for those that don’t have a fondness for it, which include lower blood pressure and the reduction of inflammation. Some medical experts believe inflammation is instrumental in virtually every disease, so reducing it could be key to extending lifespan.
Let’s keep the good news going with an entry that’s bound to please almost anyone with a sweet tooth. Berries, in all their many varieties, are a sweet treat that tends to be low in sugar when compared to other fruits, and they are also high in fiber, which is good for digestive health. Berries also boast a high antioxidant content, which could help prevent cancer.
7. GREEN TEA
Drinking tea is something that’s a very regular habit for people in many cultures around the world, and while most people probably don’t sip tea every day for its health benefits, that’s one good reason for people who don’t drink it to start. Green tea is loaded with beneficial nutrients that can help prevent heart disease, aid weight loss by boosting metabolism and improve cognitive function. To get the most bang for your buck, choose matcha green tea, which contains more than 100 times more epigallocatechin gallate than other green teas. Epigallocatechin gallate is a compound that can reduce the risk from cancer.
Avocado’s main benefit appears to be that it contains a lot of monounsaturated fat. Eating just a half an avocado provides almost 10 grams of this healthy nutrient. Avocado is also credited with having the unique ability to help your body absorb other nutrients as well as promoting eye health and maybe even helping with weight loss. The taste of plain avocado can be pretty uninspiring but remember that it can be added to other healthy dishes with a bit more zing to make up for its tendency to be a bit on the bland side.
9. WHOLE GRAINS
While eliminating carbohydrates is central to so many popular diets these days, that strategy may be a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water. It’s important to be aware that there are “good” carbs and “bad” carbs and keeping some of the good ones is probably quite beneficial for one’s health. One big reason for this is the discovery that the fiber in whole grains may be very important for the health of the good bacteria that reside in the digestive system. New and important research continues to demonstrate that the presence of certain types of bacteria in the gut has a far more positive influence on overall health than previously thought.
10. OLIVE OIL
These days more than ever, the words “fat” and “oil” tend to send health-conscious individuals running in the opposite direction. However, the story with fats and oils is much the same as it is with carbohydrates. In other words, there are both “good” and “bad” varieties. Olive oil is a certified member of the good group and it deserves a place in everyone’s kitchen due to its health-promoting properties, which include an ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. One surprising study found that a diet that includes olive oil was actually better at reducing the risk of heart disease than the typical low-fat diet.
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