10 Healthy Foods for Longevity (Nutritional Powerhouses)

Do you want to live a long and healthy life?

We all know that eating right is important, but it’s not always easy. There are so many conflicting messages about what we should eat for optimal health.

In this article, we will discuss ten delicious foods and the reasons they lend themselves to your longevity.

You will learn something new about how food can affect your overall health and well-being. And if you just skim through the content, at least take away one thing from each section that could improve your diet today!

Our List Of 10 Healthy Foods For Longevity

1. Blueberries

bunch of blueberries on a table
Blueberries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. They’re also available year-round, so you can enjoy them all the time!

Blueberries are a powerful weapon in the fight against aging, and they’re delicious to boot! These tasty fruits contain high amounts of antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage from free radicals.

Ways to eat blueberries

There are many ways to enjoy blueberries. Some of our favorites include:

  • Adding them to your morning power breakfast of oatmeal or yogurt
  • Snacking on them as a healthy pick-me-up during the day
  • Mixing them into a fruit salad
  • Making a blueberry smoothie
  • Baking them into a delicious dessert

2. Dark Chocolate

block of dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is healthy in moderation. It’s packed with antioxidants which protect your body against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which reduce your risk of blood clotting and lower your blood pressure. Scientists put it in the same class as green tea and red wine because of its health benefits.

Check out: Green Tea vs. Yerba Mate

Ways to eat dark chocolate

There are many ways to enjoy dark chocolate. Some of our favorites include:

  • As chunks in a fruit salad
  • As fondue to dip strawberries in (my personal favorite)
  • Dipped in peanut butter and sprinkled with sea salt (I know, it sounds weird but it’s good!)
  • As a dark chocolate latte
  • Mixed in with oatmeal
  • Chopped up and mixed into greek yogurt

3. Garlic

cloves of garlic and whole garlic
Garlic boosts your immune system, making it a natural remedy for colds. It can also aid in digestion, and even act as a natural mosquito repellant (they hate the scent!)

Garlic is known for having antibiotic qualities, and it can also help lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots. It’s also has potent anti-inflammatory qualities.

Ways to eat garlic

There are many ways to enjoy garlic, but most of us don’t eat it straight up. Here are some ways you can use garlic in your cooking:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Marinades
  • Rub on meats
  • Stews
  • Seafood dishes
  • Roasted and added to anything savory

4. Lean Beef

two slabs of lean beef
Lean beef is packed with protein and has less fat than chicken or pork. Plus, beef is a delicious source of nutrients that can help you stay healthy and strong.

Lean beef contains high amounts of zinc and iron, which break down as you age. It’s also a good source of B vitamins to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Ways to eat lean beef

  • Steak seared over high heat to lock in the flavor and juices
  • Cook slowly in the crockpot at a low temperature for tender, juicy meat
  • Use beef cubes in stews, soups, or chili
  • Grill or broil the beef instead of frying it
  • Add shredded or chopped beef to tacos, burritos, or sandwiches
  • Make meatballs

5. Lentils

bowl of lentils with vegetables
Lentils are low in fat and calories but high in fiber, protein, and minerals like iron. They’re also a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, they’re delicious! You can enjoy them cooked any way you like – from soups and stews to salads and side dishes.

Lentils are high in fiber, protein, and folate, all of which help lower the risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Ways to eat lentils

  • Lentils can be eaten as a side dish with your main protein foods
  • Lentil soup is a simple way to incorporate them into your diet
  • Mix with rice and veggies as a burrito filling
  • Lentil burgers, like the black bean burgers
  • Add to chili
  • They can also be sprouted to make delicious sprouts for salad

6. Olive Oil

olive oil poured in a glass bowl
Olive oil is loaded with polyphenols and other nutrients that are good for your health. It can help improve your cardiovascular health, and even help you lose weight.

Olive oil contains antioxidants to fight free radicals and is high in healthy monounsaturated fat.

Ways to add olive oil to your diet

  • Mix with balsamic vinegar and use as a salad dressing. Don’t forget to check out our article on How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss.
  • Drizzle on top of pasta, pizza, or salad
  • Use in place of butter when baking
  • Brush onto vegetables before roasting them in the oven
  • Make an olive oil mayonnaise with lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

7. Oysters

two dozen oysters on an ice plate
Oysters are a great source of protein, and they contain more zinc than any other food! Zinc is an essential mineral that helps you build muscle, maintain healthy skin and hair, boost immunity, fight off colds and flu, improve brain function…the list goes on.

Oysters are rich in zinc, which helps fight infections and prevents them from occurring in the first place. This food also contains many B vitamins to help you stay energized and active throughout the day.

Ways to eat oysters

  • Eat oysters on the half shell
  • Add them to a salad
  • Make an oyster stew
  • Put them in a taco or burrito with salsa and guacamole
  • Stuff an avocado with chopped-up raw oysters, drizzle with lime juice and olive oil, and top with fresh cilantro for a delicious appetizer!
  • Bake them into a seafood dish

8. Spinach

bowl of spinach leaves
Did you know that spinach has more iron than beef? Or that it contains vitamins A, C, E, K and B6? Not only does it taste great but it can be used in so many different ways. You can eat it raw or cooked – sauteed, boiled or baked. There are even recipes for smoothies and salads using spinach as the main ingredient!

Spinach has a high concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help improve the health of your eyes. Spinach is also on our fat burning foods list.

Ways to eat spinach

  • In salads
  • In smoothies
  • As part of a healthy dip
  • Steamed
  • Sauté

*Cooking spinach helps break down the tough fibers, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients. Adding a little olive oil (or other healthy fat) can also increase nutrient absorption.

9. Sweet Potatoes

halved sweet postato and sweet potato cubes
Here are just some of the benefits of sweet potatoes: they’re high in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium; they can help regulate blood sugar levels; and they contain antioxidants that can fight disease.

For a sweet side dish to complete your meal, try sweet potatoes. They contain high amounts of carotenoids and vitamin C to fight free radicals and protect against heart disease and cancer.

Ways to eat sweet potatoes

There are many ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, but these are some of our favorites:

  • Baked into a sweet potato casserole
  • Mashed with butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • As fries or wedges
  • In a healthy pancake or waffle batter

10. Tomatoes

bowl of tomotoes
Tomatoes are a fruit that is packed with nutrients and antioxidants- namely, lycopene. They have been shown to help improve heart health, and promote healthy skin.

Tomatoes contain lycopene and vitamin C, both of which help ward off damage from free radicals and improve your immune system.

Ways to eat tomatoes

  • Eat them raw
  • Add them to salads
  • Sliced on sandwiches
  • Use them in sauces
  • Roast them with other vegetables
  • Bake them into a casserole
  • Stew them with other vegetables or meat
  • Make a healthy pasta sauce with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil
  • Juice them for a refreshing drink

*To get the most lycopene from your tomatoes, you’ll want to cook them. Cooking your tomatoes makes the lycopene bioavailable. However, there’s nothing wrong with eating fresh, uncooked tomatoes!

Author

  • Fiorella DiCarlo is a Registered Dietitian and has both clinical and research experience in medical nutrition therapy. Fiorella is considered a food and nutrition expert by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She has a B.S in Nutrition and Food Science. Her training also includes two post graduate training programs from the Women’s Therapy Institute in Eating and the Body: A Cultural, Relational Psychoanalytic Framework and another from the William Alanson White Institute for Psychoanalysis in Eating Disorders, Compulsions and Addictions. Her private practice specializes in Eating Disorders and helping people Change their Relationship with Food. Appleman Nutrition is a New York based Nutrition counseling practice whose philosophy is rooted in a non-diet, inclusive approach to eating and the belief that Health can be achieved at any size. Fiorella is the founder of Fiorella Eats, an exploration of food through the eyes and taste buds of a Registered Dietitian. A foodie and food curator first, Fiorella Eats chronicles the NYC food scene and shows how to get in touch with your food–touch it, smell it, cook it, love it!