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Eat These 5 Things to Live Longer, According to Science

Can these 5 foods really make you live longer? We gathered together recent research that says maybe so. And because we can't help ourselves, we've seasoned the story with some 5-star recipes.

1. Nuts

Nut eaters live longer than non nutters. That was the finding of a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, the more nuts someone ate, the better the benefits, primarily in terms of reducing deaths by heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Other research shows eating nuts may prevent weight gain -- possibly because the fiber in nuts makes you feel full, while the protein and fat keep you feeling full longer, so you don't overeat. Want more? Here are 5 Surprising Facts about Nuts.

Nut Mix

Nut Mix | Photo by Meredith

To add more nuts to your diet: Add nuts to cereal, yogurt, and oatmeal; toss them into salads; enjoy them as a work snack in the afternoons; grind them up and use them to bread fish and chicken. Or enjoy them in these recipes:

2. Whole Grains

People who eat more whole grains also seem to live longer, according to a meta-analysis of 14 studies published in the medical journal Circulation. Grain is whole when it includes the germ (where many vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are), the bran (fiber, protein, B vitamins, and phytochemicals), and the endosperm (protein, starch, along with more vitamins and minerals).

When you're looking for whole grains on package labels, watch out for weasel words and phrases like "multigrain," "12-grain," (multiple grains don't necessarily mean whole grains) and "100-percent wheat." If the wheat bread is whole grain, it will be labelled "whole wheat."

Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge

Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge | Photo by pdog

3. Red Chile Peppers

People who ate red chili peppers lived longer than people who didn't eat spicy food, according to a report published in the journal PLOS One. The compound capsaicin in hot peppers is the chemical of interest; it delivers not only fiery flavor but also health benefits like a possible reduction in certain cancers. A study in the BMJ, meanwhile, showed a link between eating spicy foods and a reduction in all-cause mortality. The capsaicin is concentrated in the ribs and other pithy parts inside peppers. Incidentally, capsaicin is also a chemical associated with pain relief -- it helps calm sore nerves, muscles, and joints.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad | Photo by lutzflcat

4. Coffee

Several recent studies have shown that coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of death. How? One way is through compounds in coffee that may help fight the type of inflammation that can lead to heart disease. This new research was published in the journal Nature Medicine. It's the caffeine in coffee that is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Coffee in a mug

Photo by Meredith

Related: See How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee.

5. Fruits and Vegetables

A Swedish study showed that people who ate 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day lived longer than people who rarely or never ate produce. When you "eat the rainbow" of colorful fruits and vegetables, you get many health benefits, including cancer-fighting, free radical-destroying, and tumor-suppressing properties, along with compounds that boost the immune system.

Cucumber Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

Cucumber Salad with Dill Vinaigrette | Photo by lutzflcat

Check out our collections of Fruit Recipes and Vegetable Recipes -- and remember to "eat the rainbow."


Get more cooking tips and awesome food finds.


About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.