Who doesn’t want to be healthier and to live longer? Evidence shows that the best way to maximise your probability of living a long and active life is to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, stay away from bad habits and of course, eat well. To help increase our longevity and health, it’s imperative to fuel our bodies with hearty, nutrient-dense foods. Natural plant foods can aid in strengthening our well-being and vitality. However, there are some specific foods that if added to your diet regularly, may increase your chances of longevity and boost your health even further. Keep reading to find out more! Nuts Nuts are an amazing nutrient source full of healthy fats, plant protein, fibre, antioxidants, and minerals. They’re also a low-glycaemic food group, which helps keep your blood sugar balanced. In particular, almonds are high in vitamin E and magnesium, Brazil nuts are high in selenium, and walnuts are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid. In fact, this study discovered that eating 5 or more servings of walnuts per week was linked with a 14% lower risk of death from any cause, a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, and an increase of approx.. 1.3 years of life expectancy. Berries Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries all contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been found to decrease inflammation throughout the body. These antioxidant-rich fruits are very heart-healthy. Studies have displayed that consuming blueberries or strawberries daily for several weeks showed improvements in blood pressure, oxidative stress, and cholesterol. Berries also contain properties that may protect against cancer properties and are excellent food for brain health. Evidence suggests that eating berries may aid in preventing cognitive decline that comes from aging. Tomatoes An myriad of health-promoting nutrients are present in tomatoes – lycopene, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and flavanol antioxidants. Lycopene in particular is important for longevity as it helps protects against prostate cancer, UV skin damage and cardiovascular disease. Just be aware that lycopene is much more absorbable in cooked tomatoes. In fact, one cup of tomato sauce has 10 times the number of lycopene compared to one cup of raw, chopped tomatoes. So get cooking! Chia Seeds Chia seeds contain an abundance of vital nutrients such as fibre, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids that can promote heart and bone health. And a healthy heart, plus healthy bones, is important for longevity! Fibre, especially, is essential for living a long life. People that include more fibre to their diet may also add more years to their lives. In fact, a study that included over 1.7 million participants revealed that for every 10-gram increase in fibre per day, the chance of premature death was reduced by up to 11%. Leafy Greens Leafy green vegetables such as arugula, spinach, collard greens, bok choy and romaine lettuce are all connected to a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers. Leafy greens are a rich source of the essential B-vitamin folate, which is vital for maintaining healthy vision, bones, teeth, and skin. Folate from natural food sources also helps protect brain function as we get older. A healthy mind leads to a healthy life! Beans Beans, along with other legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts, and are all great sources of fibre and plant-based protein. These help to regulate blood sugar and keep cravings at bay, which can help keep you at a healthy weight which has been shown to be beneficial to your lifespan. Fibre and protein is also important for nourishing a healthy microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome can help stabilise inflammation, lower blood lipids (cholesterol) and balance immune function. Turmeric Turmeric has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries and has a wide range of impressive health benefits. These include preventing heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, as well as warding off depression and arthritis. Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant that gives this golden spice its inflammation-fighting powers. There have been studies to show curcumin has an effect on lifespan. Garlic Garlic contains medicinal and antibiotic properties that can aid in fighting infections and bacteria, as well as a compound that aids the body’s detoxification process. It may boost the body’s immune system as well as lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests that a diet rich in garlic can also help reduce your risk for disease. So add a clove or two to your daily diet and reap the rewards! Prunes Prunes are loaded with important antioxidants that work to fight against free-radical damage in the body. Free radicals can cause damage to our cells, changing their appearance or function, and can even lead to cancer. The protective effect of antioxidants keep cells in the body from degrading as fast and shield against the adverse effects of aging. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of prunes may also aid in preventing bone loss and help maintain healthy bone density.