Let’s be honest. The term superfood is a bit of a marketing gimmick.
When it comes to nutrition, there aren’t any natural foods that provide extraordinary results compared to others. Every fruit, vegetable, nut, and legume is healthy in its own way.
However, there are some that stand out from the rest — foods that have a reputation for aiding in longevity, fighting age-related health issues, and even helping prevent wrinkles. Not surprisingly, these “superfoods” are commonly found in the diets of the longest-living people on the planet.
Follow along as we dive into the world of health-boosting and anti-aging foods, and discover how easy it is to build a longevity diet.
It should come as no surprise that longevity-boosting dietary habits are attractive subjects in the world of science.
Countless gerontologists, biochemists, and researchers across the globe are devoted to unlocking the secrets of “the longevity diet.”
One such scientist is Dr. Valter Longo, the Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California — a world-leading research center for aging and age-related health issues.
Longo has dedicated his life to developing ways to help people live longer, healthier lives, and his work has earned him many awards.
After years of extensive research, he was able to distill his findings down to seven core tenets that, when combined, create an effective longevity diet. He even authored a book to share his work with the world.
But since we’re focused on anti-aging superfoods in this article, we’ll skip the full breakdown of each tenet and highlight the specific foods that Dr. Longo recommends. Check them out below:
And of course, added sugars should be avoided as often as possible, as they have little to no nutritional value and contribute to various health issues.
The above list is the culmination of decades of scientific research, but how does it stack up to the diets of those living in blue zones — areas around the world with the highest concentrations of people over 100 years old?
As it turns out, they have a lot in common.
Blue zone residents — often centenarians (100+ years old) and supercentenarians (110+) — have a diet consisting of 95 to 100% plant-based foods:
They eat meat (mostly pork and fish) on average just five times a month and primarily drink water — enjoying tea, coffee, and alcohol in moderation.
Egg and dairy consumption is limited, but similar to Dr. Longo’s longevity diet, people in blue zones still sometimes consume goat and sheep products, such as yogurt, sour milk, and cheese.
Despite the slight differences between these eating habits, it’s clear that a whole foods diet rich in minimally-processed ingredients and seasonal fruits and vegetables is the best way to live longer and healthier.
We’ve covered a great deal of “superfoods” so far, but there are still quite a few worth mentioning.
Research shows that in addition to several we’ve already seen — chickpeas, beans, broccoli, spinach, and nuts — there are numerous others that can:
“...improve overall health, boosting the immune system, increasing the production of serotonin and other hormones and promoting the smooth operation of the various organic systems of the human body, but only if they are included in a balanced diet and consumed in moderation and prudence.”
These superfoods include:
Combined with a natural whole foods diet, these anti-aging fruits, vegetables, and drinks can help you fight age-related changes in health and wellness.
If you’re looking to add some to your diet but don't know where to start, try food or beverages that are closest to something you know you like.
And try not to add too many new items at once. Try incorporating them in one or two at a time, keep the ones you like, and replace the ones you don’t with a different superfood.
Before you know it, you’ll have crafted your very own longevity diet!
Note: Consult your healthcare provider before beginning any diet, nutrition, or fitness plan.
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