Eat Your Way To Longevity

Just work these foods and drink into your daily and weekly meal plans and you'll be getting extra vitamins, antioxidants and other substances that will help your body fight age-related illnesses.

1. Avocados
The avocado is a wonder food when it comes to anti-aging and longevity. First of all, avocados are delicious (even more delicious when made into guacamole). Next, avocados are filled with all sorts of great nutrients that help your body make repairs and live longer. Here's just a short list:
  • Oleic Acid: This is a healthy fat that many believe can be used to lower bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.
  • Potassium: A cup of avocados contains about 25% of your daily supply of potassium. Potassium helps protect your heart and arteries and could reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
  • Folate: Folate is a great micronutrient and the same cup of avocado contains around 23% of the folate you need each day. People who get the right amount of folate have a decreased risk of heart attacks (by as much as 55%).
  • Antioxidants: Avocados are a rich source of antioxidants. These substances help your body fight off damage from free radicals. This protects your organs and tissues from damage over time.

Are you convinced? I hope so. Avocados are a delicious source of multiple nutrients. Slice one up and put it on your salad. Just remember to count the calories (a cup of avocados has about 235 calories) and be careful not to eat your avocado with too many chips.


2. Walnuts
Walnuts are a great (and mercury-free) source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Eat a handful or two a day for all your omega-3 needs. Walnuts are an amazing food for anti-aging. Why? Because they are filled with almost all the omega-3s you need each day. Just a quarter cup of walnuts will give you 95% of the omega-3s that are currently recommended. That will cost you just over 160 calories. A pretty good deal. Best of all, unlike fish oils, these omega-3s do not have the risk of mercury contamination. There are certain parts of your brain that are basically made of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are known as "essential fatty acids" because your body cannot make them -- you must get them from foods. By making sure you have enough, your brain has a better chance at functioning at 100% today and for years to come. According to the FDA, walnuts may reduce the risk of heart disease. This is primary because walnuts (if eaten daily along with a healthy diet) can reduce the level of bad cholesterol in your body. Just have a small handful as a snack before lunch and before dinner. If you happen to be allergic to walnuts, try pecans or almonds -- they are pretty good for you as well.




3. Green Vegetables
Vegetables are not very exciting. You know you should eat more of them - but do you know why? The best explanation I've heard is this: Vegetables spend their days out in the sun. They are constantly bombarded by UV radiation in sunlight. This radiation causes free radicals to appear in the plants. To fight the damage caused by the sun, vegetables have developed substances (called antioxidants) that repair the damage. That's why leafy green vegetables are some of the best things you can eat -- the leaves are in the sun all day long and have high concentrations of antioxidants. So, not only do vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals for your body, they also contain substances that help fight off damage caused by free radicals. Focus on leafy green vegetables and try to eat all sorts of colors and types of vegetables each week. If those reasons aren't enough to get you eating your vegetables - try this reasons instead: If you fill up on vegetables, you simply won't have room to eat junk foods and high calorie meals. You'll lose weight without even trying.


4. Water
Water is good for you. This seems pretty basic. Make water your primary drink. This way, you'll be drinking a no calorie, no chemical drink all day long instead of the many, many high-calorie, high chemical alternatives. We all have heard that we should drink 8 cups of water a day. Turns out that that is a hard statistic to prove. Drink as much as you can. Here's the reason: If you drink tons of water, you won't be drinking other things (like sodas) that are full of sugar. This alone will increase your health. Some people claim that drinking lots of water helps "detox" your body by washing away all the chemicals that build up. You may also hear about "alkaline" water which is supposed to improve your health by counteracting all the extra acids in processed foods. Be sure to drink good quality water. Some cities have excellent drinking water (better than bottled water that you can purchase in a store) and other cities have poor water quality. Invest in a good water filter for your home and you should be ok.

5. Berries
Berries are one of the best foods you can find for anti-aging and longevity. Berries are packed full of antioxidants and other chemicals that your body can use to make repairs and prevent some of the damage caused by aging. Best of all, berries taste really, really good. Be sure to eat your berries without any sauces or sugars. Just enjoy them plain for their goodness. Berries contain lots of antioxidants to fight free radicals in your body and tons of other nutrients to keep you healthy. A great healthy-eating guideline is to eat foods with different colors. This action will assure that you are getting a variety of nutrients (the color of fruits and vegetables comes from the chemicals in the skin and pulp of the fruit). In general, darker colors mean more nutrients. So, berries are nutritious with all their rich blue and black colors. Work them into your weekly diet. Focus on strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Be sure to get organic berries; berries tend to collect pesticides because of their high water content.

6. Green Tea
Green tea has been a longevity supplement in Asia for thousands of years. It is a great thing to work into your daily life. Green tea contains high concentrations of just the chemicals your body needs. Green tea is also inexpensive, delicious and gives a mild (and gentle) energy boost from its caffeine.

Popular in Asia for more than 5,000 years, green tea is quickly becoming a health drink around the world. All green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. Green tea's health benefits are said to come from its high levels of antioxidants. Research has shown that antioxidants help the body to remove damaging free radicals. Because of its caffeine, green tea should be avoided by infants and children. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should drink green tea in limited amounts. The most common use of green tea is to help the body age well. The antioxidants in green tea are thought to erase some of the negative effects of aging on the body. Here is other popular uses for green tea:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer prevention
  • Cavity prevention
  • Diabetes prevention and treatment
  • Fertility treatment
  • Heart Attack prevention
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride improvement
  • Memory improvement
  • Menopause
  • Increase alertness
  • Weight loss




7. Red Wine
The benefits of red wine (in moderation) for health have been known for ages. Red wine is good for you -- it contains a substance called "resveratrol" that help your body fight off age-related illnesses. At the end of your day have a glass or two to relax and unwind. You'll get the benefits of a delicious drink along with the anti-aging properties of resveratrol. Red wine is high in flavonoids (a type of polyphenol), which are antioxidants. One of the most studied antioxidants is resveratrol, which comes from grape skins and seeds. Antioxidants help prevent certain molecules, known as free radicals, from damaging cells. Resveratrol helps prevent cancer by limiting tumor growth. To receive the benefits of red wine, it must be drunk in moderation (1-2 glasses maximum per day) and regularly. The alcohol in wine may help produce more good cholesterol. Research in yeast cells has shown that red wine can increase life span by 80%. Red wine has also been shown to help prevent the common cold. Go ahead and enjoy a glass or two with dinner.




8. Beans
Beans are a great source of healthy protein and antioxidants. Really, beans are a wonder food. Beans are a good source of protein. Unlike animal protein sources (meat and dairy), beans do not have any bad fat in them. Beans are extremely high in antioxidants. In fact, a half a cup of dried red, kidney or pinto beans contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in any food. Antioxidants are an important nutrient for anti-aging and longevity. Antioxidants fight off the damage caused by free radicals. This helps protect your organs and tissues from long-term problems caused by metabolism and unhealthy foods. The best part about beans is that they fill you up with few calories. Try to have at between 3 and 5 bean-based meals each week. There are hundreds of healthy ways to prepare beans.



9. Melons
Melons have some of the best nutritional profiles of all the fruits. They are delicious, refreshing and a great source of vitamins and other nutrients. Melons  are pulpy (so they fill you up) and contain lots of vitamins for your body. Work melons into your daily/weekly diet and you'll be reaping health benefits as you enjoy them. Melons are like a big delicious vitamin. In fact, a single serving of some melons can contain a whole day's supply of vitamins. One cup of cantaloupe contains over 100% of your daily dose of vitamins A and C. Watermelons are a good source of lycopene, a substance that some research suggests may help prevent prostate cancer. Melons are a low calorie, dense food. That means you can fill up on melon without eating too many calories.


10. Chocolate
Chocolate (dark chocolate, that is) is good for you. It has a balance of fats that don't harm your body and tons of healthy chemicals that your body needs. The only draw-back is that chocolate also has calories. Have a little square every day, but don't overdue it. Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body. Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it everyday can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well. They lower Blood Pressure. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent. Chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. Also, it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants. Here is some more good news -- some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol. Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk. That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you. Dark chocolate has far more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate. These other two chocolates cannot make any health claims. Dark chocolate has 65 percent or higher cocoa content. It may taste good but some research shows that washing your chocolate down with a glass of milk could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body.