6 Foods That Can Help You Live Longer
It is no secret that processed foods are bad for us. Lacking nutrients but packed with empty calories, regular consumption of processed foods is linked to illnesses like obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, along with physical discomfort and sluggishness.
To increase our live span, it is important to consume nutrient-dense foods that leave us energized, reduce our risk of illness and allow us to maintain a healthy weight. Even if you can't rule out processed foods all together, begin to incorporate the following foods into your diet. The cravings for unhealthy, ultra processed snacks may melt away!
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, arugula, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and collard greens, among others. Studies have shown that consuming cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis helps to avoid the occurrence of cancer. This is because these vegetables are a rich source of anti-carcinogenic glucosinolate compounds. Cruciferous vegetables are also the most nutrient-dense foods, packed with vitamin C, folic acid, iron, calcium and selenium.
2. Salad Greens
Raw, leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce are ideal foods for weight control. Containing less than 100 calories per pound, one can eat a high volume of these vegetables while consuming few calories. Studies have found that those who consume a large salad at the beginning of a meal ate fewer calories from the rest of the meal. In addition to keeping weight down, leafy greens are packed with the essential B-vitamin folate plus lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that protect the eyes from light damage. Greater intake of leafy greens is also associated with reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and several cancers.
A high-nutrient source of healthful fats, plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols and minerals, consumption of nuts is associated with lower body weight, despite their high caloric density. Eating nuts regularly also reduces cholesterol and is linked to a 35 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Seeds are full of healthy fats, minerals, antioxidants, and are high in protein. "Flax, chia and hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fats. Flax, chia and sesame seeds are also rich lignans, breast cancer-fighting phytoestrogens. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium and vitamin E and pumpkin seeds are especially rich in zinc." (Source)
Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which help keep free radicals in check. In addition to protecting your cells, berries are full of nutrients may reduce disease risk. Berries are also a good source of fiber, which slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness, thus decreasing caloric intake and therefore reducing weight.
Beans are superfoods are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat! "Daily consumption of beans and other legumes helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce your appetite and protect against colon cancer. The most nutrient-dense starch source, beans act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, which blunts the rise in blood glucose after a meal and helps prevent food cravings by promoting satiety. They also contain lots of soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol, and resistant starch which is converted by intestinal bacteria into short-chain fatty acids that help prevent colon cancer. Eating beans, peas or lentils twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50 percent." (Source) With many types of beans with differing flavors and applications available, it shouldn't be too hard to incorporate them into your diet.
In addition to these healthy foods, another essential part of maintaining a healthy body and longevity is drinking enough water. 2 to 4 liters for active adults is a general target range to aim for to stay adequately hydrated.