''The only certain things in life are death and taxes.'' Benjamin Franklin
There. I said it. You won't live forever. It's the only thing you can be sure of (and paying taxes of course). Even if death is lingering around the corner and will catch us one day or another, we can all do something to extend our lifespan. There is exercise, for starters, but most importantly, with the power of our fork every day, three times a day, we can decide whether we will live a healthy, long life or not.
While spirulina, chlorella, raw cacao or goji berries hit the shelves of supermarkets worldwide and you can easily add a spoonful to your morning smoothie, there are other, equally powerful superfoods that are cheaper and readily available. And although I love new flavors and will gladly try any new superfood, in this article I will discuss those commonly found foods which will certainly add a few years to your life without ruining your budget.
The Best Everyday Foods For Longevity
It won't come as a surprise that eating processed foods, drinking sodas and added sugar will not ensure longevity, unless you have an excellent set of genes and stay active in your young years (remember Churchill?). But for the majority of us it is advisable not to smoke, over consume alcohol and eat a wide variety of foods, mostly plants. Let's look at some of the best common superfoods, I'm sure you have at least one in your fridge right now!
Top 10 common superfoods:
1. Cruciferous vegetables: Kale, Swiss chard or broccoli are full of folate, vital for cell growth and red blood cell formation. They help maintain healthy vision, bones, teeth, and skin. As some of us can't eat raw cruciferous veggies, it is advisable to steam them for a couple of minutes or why not serve kale pesto?
2. Raw leafy green vegetables: arugula, herbs, and spinach are some of the best to choose since they’re rich in calcium, iron, chlorophyll and magnesium, along with B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamins A and E. They’re also some of the best anti-cancer foods, have been shown to prevent disease and reverse major chronic diseases.
3. Nuts: nuts reduce inflammation in all parts of the body, especially the heart and blood. Especially walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which improve brain health and heart health. Almonds and cashews are also wonderful sources of magnesium and iron that promote a healthy metabolism and help fight fatigue. Nuts prevent cravings for unhealthy foods and are a good source of dietary fiber.
4. Seeds: Hemp seeds, flax, and pumpkin seeds are as well great sources of omega-3 fats. Stir them in your morning smoothie, sprinkle over yogurt or put a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds in your pumpkin soup.
5. Berries: berries help keep the brain healthy by boosting mental health, protect the heart, they’re low-glycemic, packed with fiber, packed with antioxidants that promote a healthy heart and good circulation. They can as well prevent memory loss and brain deterioration. As berries, especially strawberries, are one of the most contaminated fruits on the EWG list, you should always buy organic.
6. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a wonderful source of nutrients, particularly vitamin D, which help maintain healthy bones (much better than milk). Choose other varieties than white button mushrooms as they have very small nutritional benefits.
7. Onions and garlic: Onions, garlic, chives, leeks and shallots add a lot of flavor to any dish but they can do much more than that. They contain a compound known as organosulfur, which aids the body’s detoxification process. One easy way to eat more onions and garlic is to always start a dish by chopped onions. Add garlic (let stand for 10 minutes after chopping to maximize the benefits) and a flavorful dish is on its way.
8. Olive oil: a big part of the Mediterranean diet, the benefits of olive oil are numerous from preventing heart disease to promoting good skin health. Always choose organic olive oil, if possible from smaller farms.
9. Orange root vegetables: Sweet potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, and carrots are rich in beta-carotene, the plant-based form of vitamin A, are anti-cancer and heart-healthy, a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, and promote good skin health due to their high antioxidant content.
10. Apples: no need to introduce apples, we all know that 'one apple a day keeps the doctor away'. Apples are one of the best anti-cancer and heart-healthy and readily available foods. However, they are one the EWG list of pesticide laden foods so make sure you buy them organic. Also, choose smaller, less sweet apples and if you have a small space in your garden, grow your own.
Which food from those mentioned above is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!