Medical research and studies continue to suggest a positive correlation between diet and longevity. According to these studies, eating the right foods in moderation significantly increases the average life expectancy for a person. By examining the diets and lifestyles of certain populations around the world, scientists now posses a vast body of evidence to support the theory that healthy eating habits contribute to sustained longevity and greater life expectancy.
There is no one secret ingredient to achieving longevity through your diet. Incidentally, most of what is recommended by medical professionals with regard to healthy eating will allow you to increase your personal life expectancy.
“Avoid excessive saturated fats,” says Dr. Cederquist. “These are found in most meats and many dairy products. Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol levels to an excessive degree and at a dangerous rate.”
Don't worry, because eating the right foods isn't hard. You just need to know what foods to include in your diet.
“Fruits and vegetables are essential,” explains Cederquist.
Research shows that communities who indulge in these high-fiber and vitamin-rich foods live longer, healthier lives. What’s great about most fruits and vegetables is that they are low in calories and very high in nutrients that are necessary for the body to function well. Studies show that diets consisting of plenty fruits and vegetables allow people to maintain a healthy weight and better prevent cardiovascular disease.
Whole grains and some nuts are also good for increasing your life span.
“Nuts may be high in fat but the fats they do contain are mostly unsaturated and help to protect against heart disease,” points out Cederquist.
Food not only supports the body, it also feeds the brain. Longevity involves both physical ability and cognitive health. Foods rich in protein and antioxidants allow delivery of critical nutrients to the brain. These include fish, blueberries and walnuts. The best way to stave off depression and age-related cognitive issues? Keep your body and mind stimulated by eating the right foods.
Hydrate and energize your mind and body by drinking plenty water. Not only is it an appetite suppressant, but water sustains the body and keeps it regulated.
Recent studies also suggest that there are health benefits to drinking coffee. In addition to potentially lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, coffee may reduce the risk of age-related mental decline.
Calcium is also important, especially for maintaining an active lifestyle later in the life. Bone loss and osteoporosis can be common conditions for people as they age. Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can work to prevent this. Dairy products like milk and yogurt are two great sources of calcium. Ice cream and milk shakes, however, possess so much saturated fat that the benefit of calcium is nearly eliminated as a result of their excessive fat content.
Lastly, populations whose diets and eating habits have been studied show that finding time to enjoy meals communally may also contribute to a longer life and a greater sense of purpose.
“It is important to carve out time in our busy schedules to plan healthy meals and enjoy these with others in a relaxed environment," says Cederquist.