Top 20 Superfoods and Spices for a Super Long Life

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Everyone knows that eating a wide variety of natural foods is the key to good diet and a healthier body that can fend off disease. There is no single food or spice that should be considered a cure-all; but rather each superfood is small piece of a puzzle that, when properly combined with other foods, make a complete picture to provide you with good health.

Some foods are well-known for having exceptional compounds that can provide superior disease-fighting and immune-boosting compounds. This can offer us super longevity, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle.

Ever wonder what foods you can eat more of to help boost both the life in your years as well as the years in your life? Keep reading for the top 20 superfoods and super spices that do exactly that!

 

1.  Cinnamon

You might not think it, but cinnamon is rich in fiber! It also is full of calcium and manganese. Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years as both medicine and a flavorful spice. Cinnamon can stop the inflammation that can cause arthritis, regulate blood sugar levels, and can even prevent cancer.

 

2. Coffee

There is a whole lot going on in that morning cup of joe! Coffee is a treasure chest of powerful antioxidants that can protect us from damage at a cellular level, and kill the free radicals that cause premature aging, heart disease, stroke, diabetes — even Alzheimer’s. A 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that those who drank coffee daily had significantly lower odds of dying during the 13-year study period than those who didn’t hit up the coffee bar.

 

3. Oatmeal

You mom probably served you oatmeal when you were a kid, and told you it was good for you, and she was right! Oatmeal is perhaps one of the best sources of soluble fiber. This is the kind of fiber you want more of in your diet. It controls blood sugar levels and lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol, which means it can help prevent diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight because soluble fiber will keep you feeling full longer. So don’t skip that oatmeal in the morning!

 

4. Thyme

Thyme has been known for eons as a bacteria-fighter, and in tincture form it has been found in studies to be just as effective as prescription creams for the treatment of acne. Recent research shows that thyme can inhibit inflammation the same way resveratrol does.

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Cherry tomatoes on the vine,garlic and basil

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5. Tomatoes

The great thing about tomatoes is that no matter how you eat them, you win! For some vegetables, cooking them destroys some of the nutrients; in this case, when you cook these little red jewels, it only releases many of their key nutrients. Canned tomatoes (in bottles, not actual tin cans), tomato paste, tomato sauce, even ketchup (homemade is best) are all terrific sources of lycopene, which is a powerful and unique antioxidant shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. Italian food, here we come!

 

6. Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, which makes this food a powerful ally in the fight against premature aging and heart disease. Ohio State University recently conducted research showing that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help to preserve small pieces of DNA called telomeres, which are located on the ends of our cells. The shorter our telomeres, the sooner our bodies begin to show the signs of aging, and this can even lead to premature death.

 

7. Spinach

Popeye had a good thing going on with spinach, and he knew what he was talking about. This super low-calorie vegetable is full of numerous vitamins and minerals that your body really needs. Just one cup of spinach has as much calcium — which is vital to your bones and teeth — as a cup of milk. Spinach is also a good source of magnesium, something of which most Americans are deficient. Magnesium helps the body’s cardiovascular and muscular systems function properly. It also has vitamins E and A, which are important to the skin.

 

8. Kale

Another leafy green known for its super healthy benefits! Kale is high in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. It also contains lutein, which helps stop eye disorders and cataracts. Just one serving of cooked kale has nearly three times the amount of lutein as one cup of raw spinach. Combine kale and spinach for a super longevity salad you can’t beat!

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Blueberries with leaves on a wooden table. Studio isolated.

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9.  Blueberries

Overflowing with antioxidants, blueberries are one of the top disease fighting foods found on the planet!  There have been dozens of studies showing that eating three or more servings each week can reduces a woman’s risk of heart attack by as much as 33 percent. A diet high in berries can also help fight memory and cognitive problems. The powerful antioxidants in blueberries only get stronger when they are frozen, almost as if Mother Nature could see freezers in our future! So keep a bag of frozen blueberries on hand and feel free to munch away.

 

10. Avocados

Although many people shy away from avocados because of their fat content, you should know that avocados are a healthy type of fat, and not the same as animal fat. Avocados are also a great source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that lowers inflammation in the body and improves hormone function.

 

11. Yogurt

Yogurt with live and active cultures restores balance in the gastrointestinal tract, which can also improve the immune system and the heart. The 2012 American Heart Association’s Scientific Session showed that in one study, subjects who consumed at least two percent of their daily calories in the form of yogurt were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure. That means eating just one six-ounce serving of yogurt every other day!

 

12. Basil and Mint

Ancient Chinese medicine has been using these herbs for thousands of years to fight inflammation and aid digestion. Both are good sources of luteolin, which can improve the immune system. The Journal of Nutrition reported in 2010 that luteolin can even improve memory!  So feel free to add basil to your meals, and drink mint tea or mint-infused water.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

13. Garlic

This herb is on every list of health benefits — and with good reason. The sulfur compounds in garlic not only give this herb its powerful smell, but it also provides us with antimicrobial and antioxidant power! When crushed, garlic releases alllicin, which helps to fight off strokes and heart attacks. King’s College in London conducted research showing that women who consumed onions, leeks, and garlic (which are all part of the allium family) had much lower levels of hip osteoarthritis.

 

14. Olive Oil

Two main ingredients in the healthy Mediterranean diet are olives and olive oil. Both of these tasty food items are known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The American Academy of Neurology conducted a recent study which found that olive oil can reduce the risk of stroke. Other studies have shown that those over 50 years of age who used olive oil regularly in their cooking and in other foods had a 41 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke when compared to those who never cooked with or consumed olive oil.

 

15. Pomegranates

Super high in antioxidants, pomegranates can help keep your cardiovascular system and urinary system happy and healthy. A British study conducted in 2011 found that people who drank a 17-ounce glass of pomegranate juice every day lowered their overall blood pressure. Always look for non-sweetened, organic pomegranate juice, as most of the pomegranate juices on supermarket shelves are full of high fructose corn syrup.

 

16. Walnuts

When you compare walnuts to other nuts, ounce for ounce, they have twice as many antioxidants, according to the scientists at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Walnuts are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which have been shown in numerous studies to improve heart health.

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Asparagus

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17. Asparagus

Ok, so asparagus makes your pee smell funny, but that’s because it is a natural diuretic. It is also high in blood pressure-lowering potassium and vitamin B12, which is important for vegans. Asparagus is known to repair cells and help the body maintain tissue. The University of Sydney in Australia conducted a study showing that B12 improved the auditory system. Those who have low levels of this important B vitamin had as much as a 39 percent increased risk of hearing loss.

 

18. Sweet Potatoes

Super yummy and super healthy, sweet potatoes are loaded with potassium and vitamin B6. These delicious potatoes can protect the immune system and regulate blood pressure. Be sure to eat the skins, as they have more fiber than eating an entire cup of oatmeal and more than four times your recommended daily allowance of beta-carotene. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to cook up some of these tasty treats, and add some to your dinner menu this week!

 

19. Green Tea

Green tea, especially matcha green tea, is a treasure chest full of catechins, a special type of antioxidant known to protect the body from oxidation and free radicals on a cellular level. The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville states that women who drink green tea a minimum of three times per week lower their risk of developing certain type of cancer, such as cancer of the stomach and esophagus, by a whopping 17 percent. Imagine the benefits you can get if you drink a few cups of green tea daily.

 

SEE ALSO: 12 Super Foods that will Make You Super Happy (We Love #5!)

 

20. Dark Chocolate

What a sweet and delicious way to lengthen your life! Super rich in flavonoids, this type of chocolate can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The British Medical Journal reports that those who ate dark chocolate (which means that it had at least 60 percent cocoa content) daily reduced strokes and heart attacks. It only takes one ounce of this chocolate to get the benefits, so you don’t have to break the calorie bank.

Of course, in addition to these foods, you will need to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Eating all the right foods, but skimping on sleep and drinking alcohol to excess on a regular basis will undo most of the benefits of eating right.

References:

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Ajcn.nutrition.org

Health.harvard.edu