11 Foods That Can Help You Live Longer

by Carina Wolff
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When it comes to our diets, we tend to focus on foods that can help boost our energy levels and clear our skin. However, what we eat affects almost everything, and certain foods can even help us live longer, in addition to making us feel great. Keeping a healthy diet can protect us against a number of diseases, so if you're hoping to live to see 100, you might want to consider adding some powerful nutrition-filled foods to your daily meals.

"Having a balanced diet with a healthy foundation is crucial for living both a healthy and a longer life," says Shannon A. Garcia, MDS, RD, LD with KISS in the Kitchen over email. "Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death, so choosing foods with potential to boost heart health and fight cancer is one of the keys to longevity."

Foods highest in nutrients are your best bet when it comes to eating well, but there are some specific superfoods that do wonders for your lifespan. If you want to live a long and healthy life, try incorporating these 11 disease-fighting foods into your diet

1. Garlic

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"Garlic contains phytochemicals that may prevent some types of cancers," says dietitian Lisa Hugh to Bustle over email. The pungent food can also help lower blood pressure as well as risk of heart disease, according to multiple studies.

2. Salmon

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"This fatty fish is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids," says Garcia. A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who consume the most omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to die from a variety of causes, including stroke and death, and on average live two years longer than people who consume low levels of the nutrient.

3. Berries

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"Berries are particularly high in polyphenols — an antioxidant associated with heart health, lower cancer risk and living longer," says Garcia. Options such as blueberries anthocyanidins, an antioxidant that can help lead to a longer life span, according to multiple studies.

4. Yogurt

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"Cultured dairy products are high in probiotics which can help with gastrointestinal health and help promote a healthy micro-biome," says Hugh. "Fermented vegetables help with this also." A study from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging found that increasing your amount of healthy gut bacteria leads to a longer life.

5. Dark Chocolate

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Chocolate contains powerful antioxidants that can help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, according to research from the University of Cambridge. It's best to opt for dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa and higher, which contains the most antioxidants.

6. Broccoli

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There's a reason mom always told you to eat all your broccoli off your plate. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate more fruits and vegetables — particularly cruciferous vegetables, tend to live longer than people who don't consume the food group.

7. Nuts

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A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that people who eat nuts daily are less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. "Nuts are also packed with heart-healthy fats, including omega-3s and also monounsaturated fatty acids," says Garcia. "Incorporating nuts in your daily diet can even help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL), which makes for a healthier and happier heart."

8. Avocado

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Avocados are more than just tasting toppings for toast. A study from the Nutrition Journal found that avocado eaters have a 50 percent reduced risk of metabolic disease compared to non-avocado eaters. This powerful fruit contains monounsaturated fats, fiber, and other phytochemical that help fight against heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other diseases.

9. Green Tea

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Drinking a pint of green tea can reduce your risk of dying by 31 percent if you are a woman and by 22 percent if you are a man, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. More specifically, green tea protects you against heart disease and stroke, research shows. "Packed with antioxidants, green tea is a delicious and easy way to load up on those polyphenols," says Garcia. "But make sure you're enjoying your tea without added sugars."

10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil


Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, as it is filled with monounsaturated fat, which can help prevent heart disease. Research from the British Medical Journal found that eating a Mediterranean diet is linked with longer telomeres, thus a longer life. For best results, it's ideal to eat olive oil with other components of the Mediterranean diet, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.

11. Chili Peppers

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"Research has linked spices, particularly those with capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, to longevity," says Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD to Bustle over email. "The China-based study found those who ate spicy food once a week or more were about 10 percent less likely to die during the seven-year follow-up period than people who ate spicy food less than once a week."

The healthier your diet is, the greater your chance of living a long and disease-free life.

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