Laying the foundation for living longer sounds like intimidating work. Maintaining brain health, heart health, stable blood sugar, a healthy weight, all without driving ourselves up the wall… oh that’s right, staying mental healthy, too!
What if living longer was easy? What if all you had to do was eat? Food fuels the body. It also heals the body, and now research is showing that certain foods can even extend the length (and quality) of our lives!
Here are our top 5 longevity-inducing foods:
The high omega-3 fatty acid content in cold-water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel can help to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This, in turn, can help to balance your blood sugar levels, and reduce risk of heart disease.
Think of fish as brain food, too! Those same fatty acids keep your brain running in tip-top shape, improving cognition, memory, and focus. These same fatty acids also help prevent the development of cancer cells and have even been shown to kill them.
Be cautious of the type of fresh fish you purchase. The above benefits can be found in wild-caught fish. Benefits decrease and potential health dangers increase when you choose farm-raised varieties.
Fresh fruits like citrus and berries
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines… all famous for Vitamin C! These tasty fruits are full of other nutrients, too like dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, dietary fiber, vitamin B-6, and magnesium.
Yes, due to their higher sugar content, citrus fruits are to be enjoyed in moderation by diabetics. Remember, it’s always better to eat the whole fruit itself instead of drinking processed juice from a bottle. There is still sugar in the fruit, but it is only the sugar that occurs naturally.
Fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants, and have a lower glycemic index than most other fresh fruits. Blueberries in particular are great for life-long health due to their off-the-charts antioxidant content. Their high levels of Vitamin C and fiber also make blueberries natural stress relievers for the brain.
Recipe: Slow-cooker berry oatmeal
Research has shown that eating veggies like romaine lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard on a regular basis can help reduce risk for dementia. In one study, adults experienced slower mental deterioration after eating one to two servings of leafy, green vegetables every day versus those who ate no vegetables. The study even included other variables like age, family history, and other risk factors. The major benefits are due to vitamins A and K that fight inflammation.
Don’t forget to eat your broccoli, too! Broccoli’s vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate help to improve memory, and its high fiber content stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Recipe: Mama Lisa’s Coleslaw
Edamame are whole soybeans. They are low in carbs and high in protein, which means they will not excessively raise blood sugar levels. They can be simply prepared with a little salt, or added to salads, soups and noodle dishes.
Recipe: Spiced Edamame
The combination of the monounsaturated fatty oleic acid and protective phytonutrients in olives combine to provide serious anti-inflammatory power, helping to combat chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Olives contain yet another health superpower – antioxidants! Antioxidants are free-radical fighting masters, protecting the body from environmental damage. One main antioxidant found in olives is Vitamin E.
Vitamin E improves glucose control and helps to protect blood vessels and nerves from free-radical damage. Some studies have also shown that high doses of vitamin E may even reverse diabetic nerve damage, along with reducing risk for diabetes related cataracts and arteriosclerosis.
(If you don’t care for the olive itself, use the olive’s oil instead, but make sure you choose the highest quality olive oil to reap those benefits!)
Living a long and healthy life is not only possible, it’s delicious!