Foods- As we age, there are steps we can take to promote a longer and healthier life. According to Dr. Anant Vinjamoori, the chief medical officer of Modern Age, research has shown that our aging process is more within our control than we realize, with genetics playing a lesser role. A crucial aspect of aging well is our dietary choices and the foods we consume.
Dr. Vinjamoori emphasizes the importance of avoiding processed foods high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium, leading to various health issues. Our diet plays a significant role in how we age and can significantly impact our overall health and longevity.
Opting for a diet rich in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds has been linked with longer and healthier lifespans.
These foods are abundant in phytochemicals and flavonoids, which possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties.
While no single food can miraculously extend our lives, combining foods can help reduce the risk of diseases and support us as we age. A prime example can be seen in the dietary patterns observed in the “Blue Zones,” regions where people enjoy exceptionally long and healthy lives.
These zones share a common theme of high consumption of plant-based foods and a low intake of meat and processed foods. Adopting similar dietary practices can improve our chances of aging well and enjoying a fulfilling life in our golden years.
Seven Foods that can help you live longer
Incorporating a variety of nuts into your snacking routine can have significant health benefits. The renowned PREDIMED study, a comprehensive and long-term nutritional intervention trial, discovered that individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts experienced a notable reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events compared to those on a reduced-fat diet. The group that consumed nuts showed a remarkable 39% lower mortality risk.
According to Dr. Anant Vinjamoori, nuts are packed with unsaturated fats, considered a healthy form of fat. Additionally, they provide fiber, antioxidants, and a range of vitamins and minerals that collectively contribute to heart health, weight control, and longevity.
Including nuts in your regular snacking habits can be a simple yet effective way to enhance your overall well-being.
Dr. Anant Vinjamoori highlights the remarkable properties of turmeric, a common ingredient found in traditional Indian dishes such as dal, sambar, and rasam. Turmeric contains curcumin, a bioactive compound known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Chronic inflammation plays a crucial role in various age-related diseases. Still, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate this, as evidenced by a recent study published in Drug Design, Development, and Therapy in 2021.
Furthermore, curcumin has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, which remains the leading cause of mortality in the United States, as supported by a comprehensive review published in Cells in 2022.
To maximize curcumin’s benefits, combining turmeric with black pepper is recommended. The presence of black pepper enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, making it more accessible for absorption and utilization by the body.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the inclusion of antioxidant-rich olive oil, known for its abundance of healthy fats. This dietary choice has strong reasoning behind it.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2022 discovered that individuals who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day experienced a 19% reduced mortality risk from any cause compared to those who rarely or never consumed it.
Furthermore, participants who regularly enjoyed olive oil demonstrated a 29% lower risk of mortality from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, a 19% lower risk of heart disease, and a 17% lower risk of mortality from cancer.
These findings highlight the potential health benefits of incorporating olive oil into one’s diet.
When you need an afternoon energy boost, consider brewing a refreshing pot of green tea.
Dr. Vinjamoori notes that green tea contains quercetin, a plant flavonoid known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer fighting properties.
A recent study published in Molecules in 2022 suggests that quercetin may be able to eliminate senescent cells, which are aging cells that have ceased dividing. This discovery holds promise in potentially delaying the aging process.
Dr. Vinjamoori further explains that quercetin is believed to activate the SIRT1 gene, an essential factor in promoting longevity and reaping the benefits of calorie restriction. By enhancing the body’s ability to repair DNA, quercetin has the potential to slow down the aging process.
According to a recent study published in Molecules in 2022, onions have been identified as the richest source of quercetin, an antioxidant known for its protective effects against aging.
Additionally, a randomized clinical trial featured in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition in 2021 found that consuming quercetin-rich onions impacted cognitive function positively.
Incorporating onions into your meals can be a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy their benefits. Consider caramelizing onions with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and adding them to an omelet for a flavorful twist.
Alternatively, slice up onions and incorporate them into a hearty salad to add a satisfying crunch and a boost of quercetin to your diet.
Embracing whole grains can contribute to a longer and healthier life, contrary to shunning complex carbs. A study published in Circulation in 2016 revealed that individuals who consumed approximately 2.4 ounces of whole grains per day (equivalent to around 1.5 slices of whole-grain bread) had a lower risk of premature death than those who consumed fewer or no whole grains.
If you’re not particularly fond of bread, there are numerous other nutrient-rich whole grains that you can incorporate into your diet. Consider including options like wild rice, oatmeal, farro, and low-sugar whole-grain cereal to reap the health benefits of whole grains.
By diversifying your whole-grain choices, you can enjoy a variety of flavors and textures while supporting your overall well-being.
Like blueberries and strawberries, berries are nature’s treasure trove of flavonoids, a powerful type of antioxidant associated with longevity.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed data from the extensive Nurses Health Study, which tracked the health of more than 93,000 women over several decades.
The findings revealed a strong correlation between consuming flavonoid-rich foods, including blueberries, strawberries, red wine, tea, and peppers, and a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
By incorporating these vibrant and flavorful berries into your diet, along with other flavonoid-rich foods, you can harness the potential health benefits of these antioxidants.
Whether enjoyed on their own, added to smoothies, or included in various culinary creations, berries can be a delicious and nutritious addition to support a longer and healthier life.