Are you hoping to live as long as possible? Eating the right diet won't guarantee a long and healthy life, but it will certainly improve your chances. Some people recount anecdotes about their grandparents, who ate unhealthily all their lives but lived to be 100 - but your best chances come from eating well. Our bodies need proper fuel if they're to function well. So this is the kind of food you should be eating for a longer life …
1. Fruit & Vegetables
It really can't be emphasised enough how important it is to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. You've probably heard of the Mediterranean diet and how it helps you live longer. People in Mediterranean countries tend to consume lots of fresh vegetables, including tomatoes, which are all packed full of antioxidants. So eat several helpings or fruit and vegetables daily if you want to live a long and healthy life.
2. Fewer Refined Foods
Refined foods are common in many people's diets, and far from healthy. Clean up your diet by cutting down on refined sugar and grains. Swap white flour, rice and pasta for the wholemeal versions, and eat whole grain bread rather than white or brown bread. Also avoid too many store-bought cakes and cookies.
You may also want to eat some of the 'superfoods' that are claimed to help us live long and healthy lives. Some superfoods are expensive and only found in health food stores, like acai berries and chia seeds. Others can be found in any store. Look for brightly-colored fruit and vegetables like berries, green leaves, oats, nuts, beans and lentils.
4. Oily Fish
Both the Japanese and people in the Mediterranean eat lots of oily fish, and tend to have long lives. Oily fish contains Omega-3 fats which are fantastic for a healthy heart. Another benefit is that these fats help protect your brain against the memory loss that comes with aging. So include two or three servings of oily fish in your weekly diet.
5. Low Sugar
Many doctors consider that sugar is one of the worst problems for making us age faster than we should. Try to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet (difficult, I know!); be aware that it's hidden in many different products, including those where you wouldn't expect it. Use natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup, and bake your own cakes.
6. Home Made
Make as much of the food you eat home made as you possibly can. When you make meals from fresh ingredients, you know exactly what's going into your body and can give it the best possible fuel. Eat a diet based on simple, fresh ingredients.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that can be bought commercially, but is best prepared at home for the greatest benefit. It is popular among certain cultures and believed to help them live longer. Fermenting foods certainly helps the digestion, by improving the levels of 'good bacteria' in the gut.
There are a number of factors that influence how long we will live, but if you want to give yourself the best possible chance you should pay close attention to your diet. By eating well you can help your body and mind function well. Do you have any long-lived relatives in your family?