3 Surprising Foods for a Longer, Healthier and Happier Life

If you are what you eat, then choosing healthy foods is a no-brainer. What are the most important foods for feeling great and living longer? The answers may surprise you.

Legumes

It turns out that beans really are a magical “fruit,” but not for the reasons you think:

  • High in fiber: It only takes one cup of beans to give you over half of your daily fiber. Getting plenty of fiber is good for your digestive health, bowel movements and overall comfort.
  • Low in fat: Legumes have tons of protein and little fat. Adding beans, chickpeas or lentils to the menu can help you stay satisfied after mealtimes, a huge help for losing weight.
  • Rich in nutrients: Beans give you significant calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, folate and B vitamins. They also have a surprising amount of antioxidants that can potentially help protect the body from age-related diseases.
  • Great for your gut: Beans help the positive bacteria in your gut. That way, harmful bacteria have a harder time making you sick.

High-fiber foods such as beans may help prevent colon cancer and other cancers. Legumes can also lower your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, improving heart health. They make even help you avoid type 2 diabetes.

Berries (and Other Sweet Fruits)

For ages, Americans have had the idea that “sweet” equals “bad.” This is true in the case of junk food, but it’s not true for fruits. You never need to feel guilty about indulging your sweet tooth with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and other “sinfully” sweet fruits.

Even bananas, the number one fruit villain for the “It’s too sweet!” crowd, are perfectly fine for morning smoothies. The same goes for mangos, pineapples, papayas, grapes, dates and figs.

How can sweet fruits get away with breaking the “no sugar for life” secret handshake? Fiber. The high amount of fiber in fruit takes your body time to digest, meaning you don’t get the same rush of glucose or sugar crash of candy bars.

Plus, blueberries, grapes, pineapples and bananas give you tons of valuable nutrients that can help you live longer. Berries are especially rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, that helps your immune system, heart and brain. These nutrients can lower chronic inflammation, protect your memory and take great care of your arteries.

Healthy Fats

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “she's out of her mind!” How can fats ever be healthy? Well, some are.

Sure, greasy, fried foods are bad for you because manufacturers and fast-food restaurants choose cheap oils. On the other hand, many natural foods contain different types of fats, ones that your body loves:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Whole eggs
  • Cheese

Good fats such as omega-3s help your heart instead of hurting it. They’re amazing for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammation, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke significantly.

The Benefits of Weird Superfoods

It’s no exaggeration to say that these superfoods can make you live longer. Many studies suggest that healthy foods have the power to add an extra 10 years to your life (or more)!

Making positive choices at the supermarket can also help you feel better overall. Enjoy amazing benefits for your mood, immune system, energy levels, mental focus and pain relief every day.

6 Foods for a Longer Life

Who doesn't want to live longer? One thing that sucks about being human is the relatively short lifespan. Thankfully, with medical advances, people are living longer than ever. You can even boost your longevity by eating the right foods. Nutritionists recommend six foods for a longer life.

1. Dark Leafy Greens

Eating dark leafy greens can slow cognitive decline. Dark leafy greens include:

  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collards

According to a study in the Neurology journal, researchers found that participants who ate about 1.5 servings of greens daily showed less cognitive decline than those who ate less. The findings suggested the difference between the participants was equivalent to 11 years in brain health.

2. Fruits

You cannot go wrong with fresh fruit. All varieties of fruit have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and immune-supportive properties. Despite the nutritional benefits of all fruit, nutritionists and dieticians say berries are particularly advantageous because they are low in sugar, nutrient-rich, and high in fiber.

Studies show the blue-purple family of berries is especially important to immunity and brain and heart health. One study concluded that people aged 66 to 70 who drank concentrated blueberry juice daily showed improvements in memory and brain activity.

However, the benefits of fruit come from consuming clean fruit. Do not eat fruit covered in syrup or sugar; it negates the health benefits.

3. Nuts

Nuts are amazing and deserve their place on the list of life-preserving superfoods. As a dense source of nutrients, nuts support the metabolism and immune system, help balance gut health and reduce inflammation, promote heart and brain health, and act as a cancer preventative.

One study of over 7,000 adults 55 to 80 years old and at high risk of heart disease showed that eating nuts can reduce mortality. According to researchers, the participants who ate three or more one-ounce servings of nuts per week showed a 39% lower mortality risk than non-nut eaters.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains can reduce the risk of early death. The best whole grain options include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa

According to a review of published studies, four servings of whole grains daily led to a lower risk of death than one serving or less over the 40-year study period. The researchers suggested the health benefits of whole grains stem from the foods' high fiber content. A high-fiber diet can lower cholesterol production in the body.

5. Legumes

The legume family — peas, beans, and lentils — is low in fat and high in folate, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Also, studies suggest beans can reduce the risks of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

6. Green Tea

Researchers link green tea to reduced diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease risks. During one study of more than 40,000 participants, adults who drank five cups or more of green tea per day were 26% less likely to die during the study than those drinking one cup.

Green tea is likely beneficial because it is nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich, which can benefit telomeres. Telomeres protect DNA and naturally shorten with age, but green tea can prevent some shortening.

If you want to improve your odds of a longer life, focus on your health. Add the above six foods to your diet and possibly add years to your life.

Carbonation and Gut Health

Over the past several years, research and studies provided insight into the gut-brain connection and the importance of gut health. A balanced microbiome can not only improve digestion and GI function, but it can also improve mental health and overall biological function.

Most people understand that water is the most beneficial beverage for their diet. The human body needs water to operate. Still, people like variety, and water is not the most diverse beverage on the planet. Many people turn to teas, coffee, and sodas for variety.

However, a new trend suggests drinking carbonated beverages for improved gut health. Some people even promote carbonated sodas. Is carbonation a solution for improved gut health, or is it only a fad and a pipe dream?

Carbonation and Gut Health

There are many benefits to drinking carbonated or sparkling water. According to some experts, carbonated water can improve digestion, swallowing, and feelings of fullness while reducing constipation.

Unfortunately, carbonated beverages can also result in bloating and belching. The drinks are made from dissolved carbon dioxide. The compound expands to a gas when it reaches the warm temperatures of the stomach and GI tract. The stomach expands to accommodate the gas, and belching occurs to release it.

Soda and Gut Health

There are many rumors about how soda can improve gut health or ease stomach ailments, but there is little truth to the speculation. Some studies suggest that drinking carbonated soda, such as Sprite, can help with digestion because of PH values.

In truth, carbonated sodas might cause indigestion and promote acid reflux. According to experts, carbonation leads to gastric distention, resulting in more pressure on the esophageal sphincter. Therefore, people who deal with acid reflux or heartburn should stay away from soda and other carbonated beverages.

Drinks That Promote Gut Health

If you are going to drink carbonated beverages, stick to water. If you are looking for beverages to support your overall gut health, consider one of the following:

  • Kombucha
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Lemongrass tea
  • Coffee

The above beverages all offer more benefits than sodas. Soda is a sugar-sweetened drink, and it can result in increased risks of heart disease, metabolic disorders, and tooth decay.

Water Is the Superior Beverages

If you are looking for the most beneficial beverage, it is water, hands down. Water is free of any additives and chemicals or potentially damaging compounds.

Carbonated water can also provide benefits for digestion and diet. However, you must also be aware that carbonation can result in an upset stomach, bloating, and unwanted gas.

As for beverages that contribute to gut health, Kombucha — a fermented drink — is likely the most beneficial. However, you will also want to limit your intake of the drink.

Carbonation is not some magical potion that will heal an unhealthy or unbalanced gut microbiome. The carbonation can increase feelings of fullness and prevent constipation, but that does not mean it will improve gut health. As usual, the only way to promote health is with a healthy diet and exercise.