Written by Huffington Post
If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, stop looking in your medicine cabinet and take a closer look into your pantry. What we put in our bodies affects everything from the size of our waistlines, the condition of our hearts, and yes-even how long we live.
Researchers have been fascinated by the factors of longevity. They’ve studied the natives of Okinawa, Japan who are known to age more healthily and tend to live longer than most places in the world. Or the residents of the San Blas Islands who have incredibly low rates of heart disease. Or Seventh Day Adventists who live up to seven years longer than their neighbors, on average. What’s food got to do with it? Well, a lot.
Some of the top causes of death around the world are chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes which you can reduce your risk of by watching your diet.
So, to help you celebrate more birthdays, we’ve rounded up some research-backed foods to add to your diet:
Love ’em or hate ’em, these tart and somewhat bitter berries are good for you. Researchers found young fruit flies given cranberry extract lived 25 percent longer than those that weren’t. And in even better news, middle-aged and older fruit flies lived 30 percent longer!
2. Green Tea
Besides boasting benefits like reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, the world’s second most popular beverage was shown to reduce risk of death by up to 26 percent for those who consumed several cups a day.
People who snacked on a handful of nuts everyday were found to live longer than those who didn’t, according to a Harvard University study. An added bonus: they also lived healthier lives with a lower chance of developing cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
Smoked, baked, on a bagel, or in your sushi, you’ll want to load up on the omega-3 rich fish. A diet rich in omega-3’s could help preserve your telomeres, and slow down the aging process according to an Ohio State University study. Telomeres are the ends of your chromosomes that shrink with age.
Often dubbed a “superfood” because of their high antioxidant levels, blueberries and other foods rich in polyphenols can extend your life. One study found that getting plenty of polyphenols in your diet can reduce your risk of death by 30 percent! The antioxidant has been shown to cut the risk of cancer diabetes also.
6. Whole grains and olive oil
whole grain pasta
Like so many others, you’ve probably heard plenty about the Mediterranean Diet. But what you may not know is the heart-healthy diet has been shown to increase the lifespan of elderly people by about 20 percent. The diet encourages eating lots of vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Just half a glass of wine a day can help men live longer, according to a Dutch study. Researchers found light wine drinkers lives up to five years longer than those who did not drink at all and up to two and a half years longer than those who simply drank other types of alcohol. Red wine in particular is rich in antioxidants that could help protect against heart disease.