Science Shows—These 7 Foods Could Help You Live Longer

Monday May 19 | BY |
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Live Longer

Grabbing a handful of these on most days could help extend your life.

Current estimates are that overall, life expectancy today is about 78.7 years. Though it varies slightly depending on gender, genetics, race, and more, this is the general number of years that scientists say most of us can expect to live, if we play our cards right and the stars align.

With today’s medical advances making it possible to sustain life way beyond what most of us would consider “living,” the focus these days is much more on “living well” than “living long.” We want to continue to be active, productive, and happy during those later years, rather then spend them suffering from a number of ailments that keep us in doctor’s offices.

To that end, we’re making healthier choices every day. In addition to getting some regular exercise and eating an overall healthy diet, we can do some additional things to raise the odds we’ll be around to enjoy our grandchildren.

One of those is to add to our daily diets the following anti-aging foods, which have actually shown in studies to help lengthen life.

  1. Olive oil: You already know it’s full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But did you know it may actually help you live longer? That’s what scientists concluded in a 2012 study. After evaluating over 40,000 participants aged 29-69, they looked for any association between olive oil intake and mortality from heart disease, cancer, and other causes. They found that overall, those whose olive oil intake was among the top one-fourth of participants had a 26 percent lower risk of dying of any cause, and a 44 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those who didn’t consume olive oil at all. In addition, those consuming the most olive oil also had a 38 percent reduced risk of dying from other causes.
  2. Green tea: Full of antioxidants, green tea has been linked with a reduced risk of several diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It may also help lengthen life. In 2006, Japanese researchers found that adults who consumed high amounts of green tea (five or more cups a day) had a 16 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease during 11 years of follow-up.
  3. Nuts: These are great sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and make for healthy snacks and salad crunchers. Want a longer life? Make sure you get a handful of these most every day. A 2013 study looked at the association of nut consumption and mortality among over 76,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and over 42,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Results showed that those who ate nuts less than once per week had a 7 percent decrease in mortality risk over those who didn’t eat them at all. Those who ate a handful a day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period. Bonus—the regular nut-eaters were more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts.
  4. Wine: Considered a good idea if you want to avoid heart disease, wine may also help you enjoy a few more years on the planet. A 2013 study of more than 32,000 men—with a 28-year follow-up—found that when more than 50 percent of their alcohol consumption came from wine, they had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, as well as a number of cancers. An earlier 2012 study found similar results. Researchers looked at level of wine consumption and total mortality among more than 800 adults aged 55-65. They found that both high-wine-consumption and low-wine-consumption moderate drinkers had reduced mortality risks compared with those who didn’t drink at all.
  5. Chocolate: We now know that chocolate—especially dark chocolate—is full of healthy antioxidants. The good news is that indulging once in awhile may help you live longer. A 2009 study looked at the long-term effects of chocolate among patients with heart disease. Those who ate chocolate had a lower risk of dying than those who didn’t. A second study published in 2010 found that higher chocolate consumption may be associated with a lower risk for stroke-related mortality.
  6. Fruits and vegetables: Granted, this is a really general recommendation, but the studies are there. Just last March 2014, research from the University College London reported that eating seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by a whopping 42 percent compared to eating less than one portion. “We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy,” said lead author Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode, “but the size of the effect is staggering.”
  7. Berries: Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries—they’re all full of healthy antioxidants. Studies are showing that these can be so beneficial that they actually help you live longer. Post-menopausal women showed a significant reduction in mortality from cardiovascular disease when they ate strawberries at least once a week. We can also look at it another way. A 2003 study, for example, found that a low intake of fruits, berries, and vegetables, was associated with a higher risk of death.

Do you regularly eat these items? What do you think of the studies? Please share your thoughts.

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Buckland G., et al., “Olive oil intake and mortality within the Spanish population,” Am J Clin Nutr. July 2012; 96(1):142-9,

AMA and Archives Journals. “Consumption Of Green Tea Associated With Reduced Mortality In Japanese Adults.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2006. .

Ying Bao, et al., “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” New England Journal of Medicine, November 21, 2013: 369:2001-2011,

“Wine linked to lower disease-related mortality risk in men: study,” New York Daily News, July 22, 2013,

I Janszky, et al., “Chocolate consumption and mortality following a first acute myocardial infarction: the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program,” J Intern Med. September 2009; 266(3):248-57,

Susan Jeffrey, “Chocolate Linked to Lower Stroke and Stroke Mortality Risk,” Medscape Medical News, February 12, 2010,

Oyinlola Oyebode, et al., “Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data,” J Epidemiol Community Health, March 31, 2014,

Arpita Basu, et al., “Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health,” Nutr Rev, March 2010; 68(3):168-177,

Rissanen TH, Voutilainen S, Virtanen JK, et al. Low intake of fruits, berries and vegetables is associated with excess mortality in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. J Nutr. 2003;133:199–204.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho.

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