September 2, 2015 | By Christine Mattheis
Want to live to 100? Research shows your diet plays a huge role in how many birthday candles you’ll blow out. The following 18 foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that have been linked to longevity. Eat up!
Broccoli: It contains immune-boosting compounds, and may also help ward off stomach ulcers and even cancer.
Salmon: Including omega-3-rich fish (and others like it, such as tuna, mackerel, and sardines) as a regular part of your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and prevent against inflammation.
Water: Staying hydrated reduces your risk for blood clots. It also helps you feel younger by keeping energy levels high.
Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries—all are bite-sized antioxidant powerhouses that stave off life-threatening diseases.
Garlic: It may not do your breath any favors, but the phytochemicals in garlic may halt the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the body.
Olive oil: The monounsaturated fats in olive oil have been linked to brain and heart health, as well as cancer prevention. Plus, dermatologists say women who follow olive-oil-rich diets have less skin damage and fewer wrinkles.
Bok choy: In a Vanderbilt University study, Chinese breast cancer survivors with diets high in cruciferous veggies like bok choy had a lower risk of death or recurrence.
Avocado: If your cholesterol numbers could use some help, listen up: eating more avocado may help lower your bad LDL cholesterol while also raising your good HDL cholesterol.
Tomato: There’s no better source for the antioxidant lycopene than rosy-red tomatoes.
Beans: Your go-to choice for plant-based protein, beans are also high in fiber, low in fat, and packed with more nutrients per gram than any other food.
Whole grains: In a study of more than 40,000 women, those who ate lots of grains had a 31% lower risk of dying from causes other than cancer or heart disease when compared with women who had few or no whole grains in their diet. (Be sure to check out the other health benefits of whole grains.)
Red wine: Research on the health benefits of wine and other alcohol is mixed, but here’s what we do know: a small amount of red wine at the end of the day may reduce stress, which is good for overall health.
Leafy greens: In a study, middle-aged people who ate a cup of cooked greens daily were half as likely to die within 4 years as those who ate no leafy greens.
Tea: Green tea has been shown to lower risk of heart disease and several types of cancer.
Coffee: Yes, your morning caffeine craving may be lengthening your life, one cup at a time. Research associates drinking coffee with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and a 2012 study found that coffee drinkers tend to live longer.
Dark chocolate: A 1999 Harvard study of 8,000 men discovered that those who ate chocolate as many as three times a month lived a year longer than those who didn’t. Try these five nutritionist-approved healthy ways to eat dark chocolate.
Nuts: With heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, nuts may just be the healthiest snack you can eat. (That said, not all nuts are created equal, so choose wisely.)
Red cabbage: This vibrantly colored veggie boosts brain health and guards against cancer.