Want to Live Longer? Practice these 15 Eating Habits Now 

Also known as a longevity diet, eating certain foods can help you live longer, adding over a decade to your life expectancy. Studies looking at areas known as Blue Zones, populations that naturally live longer than other parts of the world, have found common foods to consume, and which to avoid.

healthy foods to live longer
Eating well doesn’t have to be boring – nutrition, genes, and longevity in other species, and found eating patterns that are similar to that of Blue Zones.

Keep reading to find out 15 foods to eat and what to avoid if you want to live longer and increase your health today!

15 Eating Habits to Adapt so You Live Longer

Without further ado, here are 15 dietary changes you can make to live long and increase wellness immediately!

1. Drink 

No, not cocktails, unfortunately. Research has found that Blue Zones all tend to drink tea, coffee, or wine. This makes sense as all three have health benefits that can be beneficial in the long run.

Coffee supports heart health, lowers the risk of diabetes, and protects against free radicals (DNA-damaging particles). Tea can help boost the immune system, lower inflammation, and even improve heart health. Wine, red wine specifically, is rich in antioxidants, increases heart health, and regulates blood sugar.

2. Go Green 

Kale and spinach are particular staples that can help you live longer. In fact, most of your nutrition should come from some sort of plant.

Kale is high in vitamin A (important for immune system support and eye health), folate (high in vitamin B, important for brain health,) and many more vitamins that support heart health. Some research suggests spinach can prevent cancer due to the zeaxanthin and carotenoids that flush out free radicals. It also supports bone health, eye health, and cardiovascular health.

3. Eat Fish

Fish can be eaten up to 3 ounces a day. Choose types of fish low in mercury, a common concern pertaining to fish, include sardines, anchovies, trout, snapper, and grouper.

Fish is high in omega 3, and vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin B2. It is also high in minerals like zinc, iron, iodine, potassium, and magnesium.

4. Reduce Red Meat

Longevity diets and Blue Zones eat little to no meat. If they do, it is as a side dish or as celebratory food. Try to reduce meat consumption to twice a week, replacing it with other proteins like a legume, tofu, quinoa, or fish.

When you do eat meat, opt for free-range grass-fed if possible!

5. Reduced Processed Foods

Try to reach for whole foods, food that is not processed, or minimally processed foods like frozen vegetables or tofu.

Artificial preservatives, additives, or chemicals can affect the microbiota, the bacteria that live in the gut. The gut is responsible for the production of hormones, and chemicals such as serotonin, regulating metabolism and plays a part in the growth and repair of muscles and skin tissue. Mental wellbeing and digestion are also improved when gut health is high.

6. Whole Grains

Whole grains are an amazing option for a longevity meal plan. They help control cholesterol, increase heart health, and may lower the risk of diabetes. They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory as well. 

Sardinians and Ikarians, two Blue Zone regions, eat a high amount of whole grains and live about 8 years longer than Americans while experiencing less dementia, lower cancer rates, and reduced cardiovascular disease.

7. Reduce Dairy

Though not all of us are lactose intolerant, dairy may be harsh on the digestive system. Worried about calcium? Something like almond milk more than supplies the necessary calcium in the diet. Even a cup of cooked kale can provide the necessary calcium for you to thrive.

You don’t have to go dairy free, however. Ikarian and Sardinian Blue Zones consume a lot of yogurt or cheese, though it is primarily fermented from goat or sheep milk.

8. Bean it up

Beans are a popular protein option for longevity meals. They are linked to a reduced cancer link, reduced type 2 diabetes, lowered cholesterol, and reduced inflammation.

All beans are incredibly high in vitamins, protein, minerals, and fiber, vital nutrients to increase health, and life expectancy, and reduce disease.

9. Reduce Sugar

Sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body. This is talking about added sugar, however, not the sugar naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. Added sugar is in many processed foods, much of the time hidden as sugar by over 50 different names.

Blue Zones tend to only eat sugar on special occasions. On a daily basis, limit sugar to about 100 calories. Added sugar should only be about 7 teaspoons of daily intake. To put it in perspective, a can of soda is about 39 grams or 10 teaspoons of sugar!

10. Go Nuts

Nuts are full of healthy fats that can help prevent disease and inflammation, and increase life expectancy. They are linked to heart health, lowered cancer, and blood sugar control.

Walnuts have particularly been studied in depth and may help you live longer due to the omega-3 content and polyphenols.

11. Eat the Right Bread

Sourdough or homemade whole-meal bread is common in Blue Zone areas. Unlike white bread, which is usually empty calories, wholegrains are used for many loaves of bread in these areas. They can be pumpernickel, rye, barley, sourdough, or wheat, as all of these are high in nutrition and fiber. 

Furthermore, these loaves of bread are homemade, meaning they have naturally occurring healthy bacteria that have less gluten content and more benefit to gut microbiota. 

12. Feast on Fermented Foods

I think we know the importance of fermented foods by now. Fermented foods provide probiotics to help balance the gut microbiota. The microbiota of the body is responsible for many aspects of wellbeing, from skin health, metabolism, muscle growth, digestion, and even mental health.

Blue Zones tend to make and eat their own fermented foods with every meal. Check out this link to learn how to ferment foods, this one to learn which foods to eat and which to avoid, and find out everything else you need to know about gut health here!

13. Healthy Fats

Blue Zones eat healthy fats as opposed to vegetable oils. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or the fats in nuts and fish.

Olive oil is particularly popular in the Mediterranean Blue Zone. It has healthy monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil may also help protect the DNA from wear and tear and reduce cardiovascular disease greatly.

14. Eggs Occasionally

Eggs are consumed about 3 times a week, but it’s important to note that they are the free-range kind. The quality of eggs matters greatly, so if possible, choose free range, or even pasture-raised eggs.

Eggs are a complete protein, and high in nutrition, and research suggests that the cholesterol in eggs does not affect the body negatively.

15. Berry Me

Berries are known to have incredible effects on the body, protecting against cancer, lowering inflammation, and improving heart health. They tend to be rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. 

Strawberries were recently found to protect the brain while blueberries may improve memory and learning ability.

The Takeaway

What you eat can add to or reduce life expectancy exponentially. Use this list of eating habits to increase not only the length of your life, but the quality of your life as well. This has been studied extensively in Blue Zone populations, which tend to live longer and have less disease. Fun fact, the five Blue Zones are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California, United States

Remember that health always starts from within. Give your body the necessary building blocks it needs to thrive and watch how health and wellbeing fall into place.

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