17 Foods That Can Help You Live Longer

The fountain of youth is located in the produce aisle.

The world's oldest person, 116-year old Susannah Mushatt Jones, enjoys a hearty meal of bacon, eggs and grits most mornings. The breakfast sounds delicious, but unless Jones has upended decades of nutritional science, it is unlikely the secret to her long and healthy life.

Eggs and grits aside, there are foods that, if eaten routinely enough, may help extend a person's life. Science has found that antioxidants, for one, can combat age-related illnesses like heart disease and some cancers. Nature has supplied us with a galaxy's worth of these molecules in the form of delicious, whole foods foods like berries, garlic and many others. Check out the list below to discover what foods researchers have associated with living long and prospering. Then get a huge bowl, whip up a few, dig in and #LiveYourBestLife.

1
Dark Chocolate
Miriam2009 via Getty Images

Let's start with some great news, shall we? Dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants, both of which can reduce inflammation and help prevent blood clots.

Research shows that inflammation is associated with aging and age-related diseases, so anti-inflammatory foods may be a key to a longer life.

2
Broccoli
Daniel Grizelj via Getty Images

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain cancer-preventing chemicals like sulforaphane. In one study, broccoli-eaters were found to live longer than those who didn't include the veggie in their diets.

3
Nuts
Zoonar/Photographer: Markus Gann via Getty Images

A recent study found that eating just a handful of nuts every day could help extend a person's lifetime. Specifically, nut-munchers were found to be a a lower risk for dying from life-threatening disease like diabetes and cancer.

4
Beets
pilipphoto via Getty Images

These beauties are rich in a compound called betaine, which is are also linked with anti-inflammatory powers.

5
Tomatoes
Big Cheese Photo via Getty Images

This juicy fruit has long been associated with health. Americans eat a lot of tomatoes and tomato products, and that's a good thing: They've been shown to lower the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and boast credible amounts of an antioxidant called Lycopene.

6
Berries
Julia Khusainova via Getty Images

Strawberries, blueberries and the like provide sweet bursts of flavor and a powerful amount of antioxidants, which help protect against aging. Specifically, berries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin that supports brain function and muscle retention.

7
Olive Oil
Brian Hagiwara via Getty Images

The Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is the star, has been highlighted as one of the world's healthiest ways of eating. This oil's healthy fats have been found to help combat age-related cognitive decline.

8
Salmon
Trinette Reed via Getty Images

Eaten however you like it, whether that's in sushi or on a bagel, this fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They've have been shown to protect against cognitive decline and reduce inflammation.

9
Cranberries
Maximilian Stock Ltd. via Getty Images

While you may only eat cranberries around Thanksgiving, you should consider giving the tart bulbs attention all year round. The berries contain antioxidants known to support a healthy long life, but even more, in one study, an oregano-cranberry mixture was found to extend the lives of fruit flies. Researchers said they were confident that the botanical mix would have similar effects on humans, helping ward off age-related diseases.

10
Spicy Food
Iain Sarjeant via Getty Images

If you like it hot, you might be able to enjoy the spice of life for quite some time. A recently published study from China found that those who eat spicy foods, like peppers, are less likely to die early. The researchers also found that spicy food eaters were at a lower risk of death from cancer and heart disease.

11
Green Tea
Andrew Unangst via Getty Images

You don't have to swap your coffee for tea, but do consider adding a cup of the green stuff into your daily beverage rotation. Both green and black teas contain catechins, which can help protect your heart.

One Japanese study found that heavy green tea drinkers, or those who drink at least a pint a day, tend to live longer because they face lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

12
Garlic
Ls9907 via Getty Images

Garlic makes just about any savory meal taste better, and you might as well add it in: eating it has life-extending potential. Garlic is packed with antioxidants and is thought to help regulate blood pressure.

13
Spinach
Rachel Husband via Getty Images

Popeye knows what's good. A recent study found that eating a daily serving of spinach (or any leafy green, really) could help to hamper age-associated cognitive decline. Researchers attribute the benefits to the veggie's high vitamin K content.

14
Avocado
Patrizia Savarese via Getty Images

Go ahead, keep making that avocado toast. The superfruit has been shown to help decrease stress and may potentially combat some cancers.

15
Apples
Jupiterimages via Getty Images

Apples are another great source of antioxidants. To really milk an apple for all it's worth, be sure to eat the skin, where many of its nutrients can be found. The fruit also contains fiber, which serves a healthy digestive system and can help prevent heart disease.

16
Asparagus
Jupiterimages via Getty Images

These green stalks are rich in glutathione, "the mother of all antioxidants." It can lower risk for heart disease, dementia and cancer. Asparagus is also a source of folate, which can support cognitive function and keep older brains healthier.

17
Kimchi
RunPhoto via Getty Images

A recent study found that the probiotics in fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt may possibly decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Better yet, most kimchi contains garlic, so eaters get the benefits of its powerful antioxidants, too. One study found the probiotic lactic acid bacteria in kimchi to be helpful in preventing colon cancer.

Also on HuffPost:

Brain Superfoods