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Everyone wants a longer, healthier life. Make a few simple changes to your diet, and you might add several valuable years to your time on this planet. It sounds too good to be true, but scientific studies back up the claim.
In fact, research has shown that consuming certain foods can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Get out your pen and notepad — or computer or cellphone — because it’s time to make a grocery list. Following are seven foods that can lengthen your life.
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Not only are berries naturally sweet and delicious, they’re rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E. In case you haven’t heard, antioxidants offer several health benefits. They:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Prevent cell damage due to aging, environmental factors and genetics.
- Help prevent some types of cancer, as well as diabetes and stroke.
According to the Kettering Health Network:
Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants among berries.
Berries are also rich in flavonoids, which prevent plaque buildup in your arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Eating a handful of nuts every day can save your life, according to researchers at Maastricht University in Holland.
A study released in 2015 found that people who eat at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day have a lower risk of dying from from the following conditions:
- Respiratory disease
- Neurodegenerative disease
- Cardiovascular disease
But unfortunately, your PB&J sandwich won’t contribute toward your longevity. According to a press release published at Science Daily:
Peanuts show at least as strong reductions in mortality as tree nuts, but peanut butter is not associated with lower mortality.
The researchers speculated that the negative health effects of salt and trans fatty acids found in peanut butter might inhibit peanuts from doing their good work.
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Chinese legend says that nearly 5,000 years ago, leaves from a Camellia sinensis plant tumbled into the emperor’s cup of boiling water, and humanity’s love affair with tea was born.
Studies have shown a strong link between tea’s antioxidant properties and a reduced risk of heart disease. Black tea appears to reduce the risk of heart attack, while green tea lowers bad cholesterol levels and boosts good cholesterol readings.
Tea also has been associated with other health benefits, including:
- Improved dental health
- Aiding weight loss efforts
And tea achieves these goals without bombarding your body with caffeine. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
Typical levels for tea are less than half that of coffee, ranging from 20 to 90 milligrams per 8 ounces (compared to 50 to 120 milligrams in coffee).
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If you aren’t concerned with taking in more caffeine – or if you simply prefer a cup of joe to a spot of tea – enjoy your morning java and the benefits that come with it.
Like tea, coffee is loaded with antioxidants and can help prevent heart disease and other illnesses. One recent study found that women who drink coffee have a significantly reduced risk of dementia.
Older people who drink coffee also appear to have lower odds of dying than those who shun java, according to a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health. According to NIH:
Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer.
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Flaxseed is pretty popular these days. Many people are convinced of its widespread health benefits, but researchers are still teasing out the facts from the wishful thinking, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
To date, research indicates that flaxseed has a strong protective effect against colorectal cancer, according to the AICR.
Flaxseed also is known to be a good source of many nutrients, including:
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Legumes are vegetables such as beans, peas and lentils. They are rich in several minerals, including:
A 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that eating a diet rich in legumes helped people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar and also reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Mayo Clinic is among the authorities that advocate adding legumes to your diet:
A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.
7. Wild salmon
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Many people are aware that wild salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which boost heart health. But did you also know that eating salmon can help preserve your telomeres? These are tiny bits of DNA that reside inside white blood cells.
Keeping telomeres intact is a big deal, as they tend to shorten over time and contribute to aging. Researchers at Ohio State University found that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids might help slow the aging process. According to an OSU press release:
In the study, lengthening of telomeres in immune system cells was more prevalent in people who substantially improved the ratio of omega-3s to other fatty acids in their diet.
Go ahead and add tender, flaky salmon to that restaurant salad despite the extra charge. You now have the perfect excuse!
Do you know of other foods that can lengthen your life? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.