Most people want, not only a long life, but a healthy life. A growing mound of evidence suggests that a healthy diet plays a significant role in longevity and good health. These ten foods can help you live longer and better.
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol. With its glucose regulating properties and filling fiber, an oatmeal breakfast can help keep you going in the morning.
Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant which lowers risk of some cancers, aids mental function in old age, and may prevent premature skin aging. Tomato sauces and canned tomatoes contain three to five times more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
Red and purple grapes, including their juices are high in antioxidant activity which promotes longevity. Grapes make the perfect finger snack while juices need to be taken in moderation due to concentrated amounts of sugar.
Nuts, another great finger snack, are high in soluble fiber as well as omega-3 fat and protein. Walnuts and almonds help lower bad cholesterol and research has shown that a handful of nuts several times a week cuts risk of disabling heart disease.
Blueberries, strawberries and other berries are packed with antioxidants. A half cup of frozen or fresh berries each day can reduce cancer risk and help guard against memory decline.
Garlic is another food high in antioxidant activity which fights cancer and heart disease. Garlic has also been known for its natural antibiotic properties.
Spinach, as well as other green vegetables, is a good source of folic acid which helps fight heart disease, cancer, and mental decline. Research has shown that folic acid may help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants, which provide cardiovascular benefits and reduce the risk of cancer.
Beans are a rich source of soluble fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, and potassium. These nutrients help lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Soluble fiber also helps regulate blood glucose and stave off hunger.
Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, contains potent antioxidants called flavonols. Researchers have shown that dark chocolate consumption correlates with decreases in DNA damage and risk of cardiovascular disease.
While these foods may be nutritional powerhouses, they only add to a balanced diet. Single foods can not supply all the nutrients that the body needs. To ensure a healthful combination of nutrients, a healthy diet will include a variety of simple, minimally processed foods across the food groups.
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