Longevity always was a subject of interest of philosophers, health experts, social workers and scientists. During last decade a new concept “Eating for longevity” was introduced by food experts – they recommend the list of “ longer life foods ” which can keep heart, brain and bones healthy.
Should we believe in longevity diet? Is there any scientific confirmation? What we need to know about longer life foods.
It is well known that certain groups of people enjoy exceptionally long lives. Example is people from Okinawa, the Pacific islanders who have the average life expectancy of more than 81 years compared with 67 worldwide average of life expectancy. In general, Japanese people life expectancy is 82.3 compared with 80 years average in western developed countries. People from San Blas (Panama) very rarely suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease.
What makes some groups of people so fortunate? Scientific evidences suggest that longevity diet (longer life foods) is one of the important contributors to longevity and healthy living.
Longer life foods recommended
Berries naturally contain a lot of antioxidants which fight free radicals responsible not only for aging but also for development of several serious diseases including cancer. According to scientists, blueberries top the list in terms of their antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruit and vegetables. Berries also have lower levels of sugar than most fruits, fiber and attractive delicious taste.
Oily fishes (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna) contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D and B-complex vitamins. All mentioned elements are crucial for healthier life.
Olive oil is a source of several nutrients (including phenomenal source of monounsaturated fat) which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Olive oil has several beneficial qualities including antioxidant properties which may prevent cardio-vascular diseases, strokes, aging, inflammation, cancer and some other diseases (see “Olive oil health benefits”).
Longer life foods
Garlic is an excellent source of Vitamin B, selenium, Vitamin C, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and copper. Garlic has a unique combination of sulfur containing nutrients and flavonoids which is quite important for health. Garlic is a unique source of so called “allicin” which has vital antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant functions.
Garlic nutrients can contribute to longevity starting from boosting human immune system to reducing risks of colorectal cancer. Garlic is low calorie product which can be used every day almost without limitations. See also “Garlic health benefits”.
Almost 2/3 of the fat in avocados are monounsaturates, a type of fat that helps to lower levels of so called “bad cholesterol” (LDL) while maintaining or even increasing levels of so called “good cholesterol” (HDL). Regular avocado consumption can boost nutrient absorption, support good eye health and contribute to weight loss. Eating half of one avocado daily can provide about 10 grams of vital nutrients.
Nuts are an excellent natural source of vitamins (mainly vitamin E), minerals (calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium), proteins, healthy fats and fiber. Most of the fat in nuts comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
According to scientists, elderly women who consumed at least five servings of nuts per week performed better on cognitive tests than those who didn’t consume nuts.
Important to know those nuts are caloric and you have to watch your portion size. See also “Anticancer nuts”.
Broccoli is full of vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, folate, potassium, selenium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, vitamin B6, phosphorus and little zinc and iron. At the same time, broccoli contains phytonutrient glucosinolates, flavonoids and various other antioxidants which can prevent several dangerous diseases by neutralizing free radicals that cause cell damage. Check “Broccoli health benefits” on next page.
Whole grain includes cereals, whole meal bread, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Whole Grains filled with important nutrients, particularly fiber.
According to recent studies, lack of fiber in daily diet negatively affects the bacteria in intestines, triggering the obesity. Actually fiber helps feed these microbes. Without fiber the microbes don’t act as they should and may contribute to obesity and other health issues.
Tomatoes are low in fat and calorie, high in fiber and full of several vitamins (vitamins A, C and folic acid) and minerals. Tomatoes contain also important antioxidants (alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, beta-carotene and lutein) which can neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent several diseases. See also “Tomato health benefits”.
Soya is packed with good quality protein and is the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) needed for good health, making it comparable to meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. This makes it a particularly important food for vegetarians and vegans.
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Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.