The longevity diet: Easy, science-backed ways to eat (and drink) for a long, healthy life

The longevity diet: Easy, science-backed ways to eat (and drink) for a long, healthy life

A smiling older woman in a colorful jacket is shopping for healthy groceries at an outdoor farmers market.

Shopping for and prepping the right foods can help you live longer without overwhelming your budget or routine.

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  • Eating for a longer, healthier life doesn’t need to be complex and expensive. 
  • Some of the most nutritious foods, like beans, are cheap, accessible, and easy to cook.
  • You can also conveniently boost your health by drinking smoothies, tea, and even plain water. 


It’s boring but true: If you want a long and healthy life, you should try your best to eat well.

Studies on the healthiest people in the world — i.e. people who remain sharp, strong, and youthful well into their 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s — show that diet is key.

That means avoiding ultra-processed foods, and instead eating home-cooked meals rich in protein, fiber, and cruciferous vegetables.

But putting that into practice isn’t so easy for most people with busy jobs, kids, and ballooning grocery store prices.


So, if you can’t drop everything and relocate to a parallel universe with Sardinian hills and an abundance of fresh produce, here are some useful diet tips that you can incorporate into your meals little by little:


Eat beans — seriously

a plate of rice and beans with corn and vegetables

Beans are a secret superfood, especially in common combos with rice and corn.

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Beans are one of the most accessible, nutrient-packed foods you can eat, according to Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian and the author of “Read It Before You Eat It — Taking You from Label to Table,”

They’re full of protein and fiber, and are easy to prepare in simple, healthy recipes such as soup, chili, pasta, and more, Taub-Dix previously told Insider.

“Beans are the most underrated food in the supermarket,” she said.

Beans are also a staple in “Blue Zones” diets, according to author Dan Buettner who popularized research on these regions where people live the longest, healthiest lives in the world.

Buettner recommends getting at least a half a cup of beans per day. He said he often gets his dose via a big bowl of soup, such as traditional minestrone.

And if you think eating beans is boring, think again — all it takes is a little know-how of proper seasoning and cooking techniques to make beans (and other plant-based dishes) delicious. Try snacking on them with recipes like crunchy chickpeas. You can even sneak beans in dessert, as in this healthy chocolate-rich recipe.


Anti-aging ingredients to add to your groceries list


Embrace the leafy greens for a longer life.

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Step away from the supplements. Some of the best ways to enhance your health are in your regular grocery store. Blue Zones and other healthy diets routinely include common longevity-boosting foods like:

  • Olive oil is a versatile cooking ingredient and research consistently shows it can help prevent early death in as little as a teaspoon per day.

  • Honey can make sweet treats more healthful by providing a dose of antioxidants that help stave off dangerous diseases.

  • Nuts are nutrient-dense powerhouses packed with healthy fats, fiber, and even some protein, making them worth the high calorie count.

  • Starchy carbs like squash and sweet potatoes are traditional Blue Zones foods that provide steady energy and fiber for more balanced blood sugar.

  • Leafy greens, including herbs, offer a wealth of lifespan-extending micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals as well as polyphenols, plant-based compounds linked to lower risk of major causes of death like cancer and heart disease.


Save time with a nutrient-dense smoothie

Winter smoothie

Smoothies can be a healthy eating hack if you pick the right blend of longevity-boosting foods.

Hollis Johnson

If extending your lifespan via some kitchen wizardry feels daunting, don’t despair — smoothies are a tried-and-true longevity strategy backed by doctors, athletes, and biohackers, no cooking skills required.

Dr. Mark Hyman, a 63-year-old longevity expert who says his biological age is 20 years younger, starts every day with a smoothie of berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and whey powder for a total of 48 grams of protein.

Tech exec Bryan Johnson is famous for his intense (and costly) anti-aging routine, and it involves a “Green Giant” smoothie each day. The ingredients include creatine, which evidence suggests can improve physical and mental performance. It’s also packed with plant-based nutrients linked to better health such a cocoa flavanols.


Drink water — and cool it on the alcohol

glass of water

Drink up, as long as it’s from the tap and not the taproom.

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Sorry, happy hour enthusiasts — the best thing to drink for your health is water, and always has been.

Despite a bit of evidence (and a lot of wishful thinking) that alcohol like wine might be good for you in small doses, most research suggests it’s best to avoid imbibing for optimal health.

It’s also important to steer clear of too many sweet drinks, like sodas and juice, which are linked to higher risk of illnesses like liver cancer.

Instead, aim to stay hydrated with between 90 to 125 ounces daily, on average, although the amount varies based on your personal stats and habits. You don’t have to be bereft of all bubbles, though, since seltzer counts as hydration. And coffee or tea is not only allowed but encouraged, offering extra antioxidants and health benefits beyond mere hydration.


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Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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