Living a longer life starts with what you eat. Unfortunately, the average American diet is chock full of foods that shorten lifespans.
With a steady stream of ultra-processed foods and sugary beverages, it’s little wonder that people are more susceptible than ever to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cerebrovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.1 Of course, it’s way too easy to fall into the ultra-processed-food trap these days. With hectic schedules and tasty (see: addictive2) foods at every turn, it can be a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits even in the best of times.
The good news is that it’s never too late to reverse the junk-food trend and increase longevity. By focusing on a few basic food groups, you’ll boost your chances of extending both your healthspan and your lifespan in no time. Here are the top foods to live longer.
Berries. Bursting with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, berries are one of best anti-aging foods out there. The benefits of berries extend from your brain to your gut, boosting cognitive performance and protecting against weight gain. And studies consistently show that regular berry consumption, be it blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or cranberries, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and death. Taken together, these delicious fruits are perfect for slowing the aging process and guarding against disease.3
Citrus. Another key food for longevity is citrus. Whether you prefer lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, or all of the above, citrus fruits are a good addition to any age-defying diet. Rich in bioactive compounds like carotenoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and limonoids, citrus consumption can reduce the risk of several life-threatening diseases, including CVD, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. In fact, they’re so loaded with nutrients, one-half of a medium-sized grapefruit contains over 1,400 international units (IU) of vitamin A as well as plenty of beta-carotene, lycopene, potassium, and of course, immune-protective vitamin C.4
Cruciferous vegetables. From cabbage and kale to broccoli and brussels sprouts, cruciferous vegetables are anti-aging powerhouses. A growing body of research shows that consuming these veggies on a regular basis may help you live longer by reducing the risk of a wide range of chronic diseases, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and osteoporosis.5 Broccoli, for instance, is not just full of vitamin C, selenium, and dietary fiber; it’s also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol—a beneficial compound known for its anticancer properties.6
Leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens such as spinach, asparagus, lettuce, and mustard greens are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Packed with vitamins C and K, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber, these veggies can help prevent major disease when eaten every day. They’re also low in calories, making them an ideal food for weight control. But perhaps most importantly, leafy greens are the only natural sources of folic acid, which is critical for healthy cell growth and function.7
Fatty fish. Loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3s, fatty fish makes a great addition to your longevity diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats—all critical components that fight off the damaging free radicals that can cut your life short. Fish is also a great source of lean protein, which can help maintain muscle mass and support bone health—two important factors in healthy aging.8 They’ve also been shown to help protect against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Look for cold-water varieties like anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout, which provide the highest levels of anti-aging omega-3s.
Nuts. Snacking on tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts, can have a positive impact on your lifespan.9 The anti-aging benefits of nuts primarily come from their high fat content. But unlike unhealthy saturated fats, nuts contain age-supporting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are linked to reduced inflammation, less oxidative stress, and improved cardiovascular health. If you would rather avoid the extra fat but still enjoy the health benefits, opt for pistachios. They have a lower fat and caloric content, and contain the highest levels of unsaturated fatty acids, potassium, tocopherols, and phytosterols compared to other nuts.10
Seeds. An incredible source of health benefits, seeds often fly under the radar. And that’s too bad since these tiny superfoods offer a wealth of fiber, beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Case in point: A recent study showed that flaxseed possesses a wide range of anti-aging benefits. It can have a significant benefits on your cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health through its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lipid-modulating effects.11 There are an abundance of seeds to choose from: chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are all great options to increase longevity.
Water. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of good old H2O. Data shows that water can help increase longevity by preventing disease and slowing down the aging process. If you’re lacking in hydration, you could be increasing your risk of chronic disease by 39 percent and your risk of dying prematurely by 21 percent.12 How much should you drink? The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink about three liters of fluid and women drink about two liters daily.
Include a Supplement
In addition to eating the right kinds of foods, taking a supplement geared to optimize digestion and support healthy aging can give you the extra boost you may be looking for. Cleanse & Digestion Formula #102 is a safe and effective supplement that contains Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), ginger, and dietary enzymes. Boasting a host of health-promoting and disease-preventing effects, AGE keeps age-accelerating inflammation in check and improves overall immunity, while the ginger and digestive enzymes enhance nutrient absorption and support healthy digestion.13, 14,15 And new evidence confirms its anti-aging effects on cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, blood pressure, diabetes, and more.16
There’s no doubt about it—you can eat your way to a long and healthy life. By zeroing in on fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, and seeds, you’ll increase longevity and feel better doing it.
- Pagliai G. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health status: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition. 2021;125(3):308–18.
- Sethi S. Low carbohydrate ketogenic therapy as a metabolic treatment for binge eating and ultraprocessed food addiction. Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity. 2020;27(5):275–82.
- Kalt W. Recent research on the health benefits of blueberries and their anthocyanins. Advances in Nutrition. 2020;11(2):224–36.
- Louzada ES. Grapefruit: history, use, and breeding. HortTechnology. 2021;31(3):243–58.
- Favela-González KM. The value of bioactive compounds of cruciferous vegetables (Brassica) as antimicrobials and antioxidants: A review. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2020;44:e13414.
- Patel R. Review: Potential health benefit of broccoli. TPI. 2022;SP-11(7):3621–3.
- Kumar D. Nutritional components in green leafy vegetables: A review. Journal of Pharmacognosy & Phytochemistry. 2020;9(5):2498–502.
- Balami S. Significance of nutritional value of fish for human health. Malaysian Journal of Halal Research. 2019;2(2):32–4.
- Rusu ME. Benefits of tree nut consumption on aging and age-related diseases: Mechanisms of actions. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2019;88:104–20.
- Terzo S. Health benefits of pistachios consumption. Natural Product Research. 2019;3(5):715–26.
- Parikh M. Dietary flaxseed as a strategy for improving human health. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1171.
- Dmitrieva NI. Middle-age high normal serum sodium as a risk factor for accelerated biological aging, chronic diseases, and premature mortality. EbioMedicine. 2023;87:104404.
- Xu C. Aged garlic extract supplementation modifies inflammation and immunity of adults with obesity: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. 2018;24:148-155.
- Anh NH. Ginger on human health: a comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):157.
- Liu X. Comparison of digestive enzyme activities and expression of small intestinal transporter genes in Jinhua and Landrace pigs. Frontiers in Physiology. 2021;12:669238.
- Ansary J. Potential health benefit of garlic based on human intervention studies: a brief overview. Antioxidants. 2020;9(7):619.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.