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These 49 Anti-Aging Foods Might Add Years to Your Life

dill chive peas

Green peas

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”: When it comes to anti-aging foods, it doesn’t matter how you eat your green and yellow legumes, as long as you eat them.

Eating whole, cooked peas and other legumes—a staple of the Mediterranean diet—may actually slow aging on a cellular level, according to a study published in BMJ. Researchers speculate that it’s the fiber and antioxidants that give them their longevity powers. Check out these 8 wrinkle-fighting foods that make skin look younger.

Walnuts

Walnuts

Going nuts for nuts may be one of the best things you can do for your health. People who eat these anti-aging foods, especially walnuts, three times a week or more enjoy two to three more years of life, according to research published in BMC Medicine.

Read Article: Top 12 Foods to Avoid if You Want Younger Looking Skin

Nutty folks significantly reduced their risk of cancer and heart disease, the two biggest killers we face as we age. There is one caveat, however: A second study found that the life-lengthening benefits did not extend to peanuts or peanut butter. Sorry, PB&J fans!

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Raw quinoa close up in a wooden bowl on the table. top view from above horizontal background

Vegetable protein

Don’t panic—no one is saying you have to ditch your steak—but doing a few meatless meals a week can extend the number of weeks in your life.

Adding plant sources of protein can help extend your life span, especially if you suffer from kidney problems, according to a study done by the American Society of Nephrology.

Anti-aging foods like quinoa, rice and beans, soy, tofu, and buckwheat pack nearly as much protein per serving as meat does, and you get the added benefits of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You’ll also want to try these 7 anti-aging tips to keep your brain young.

Bunch of fresh carrots with green leaves over wooden background. Vegetable. Food

Carrots

Carrots are the quintessential health food, so it’s probably no surprise to hear they’re really good for you. But did you know that they can not only lengthen your life span but also help you look sexier doing it?

Read Article: Top 12 Foods to Avoid if You Want Younger Looking Skin

study done by the Universities of Glasgow and Exeter found that the carotenoids that give carrots their bright-orange hue can slow down the aging process and have the added bonus of making you more attractive to potential mates.

“One medium carrot provides 204 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, an antioxidant vitamin needed to create new and healthy skin cells,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, author of Smart Meal Prep for Beginners. “Vitamin A also protects your skin from bacteria and viruses.”

Tin can of sprats, sardines. Top view

Sardines

Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful longevity benefits, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But while you can find these miracle compounds in all kinds of fatty fish, one of the best, and least-known, sources is sardines.

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Yes, just one serving of those tiny fish that come complete with eyeballs and laid out in a tin as if they’re sleeping (don’t think about it) provides half of your daily value for omega-3s and nearly 400 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B12, another nutrient tied to a longer life.

And because sardines are tiny, they’re at the bottom of the food chain, which makes them less likely to be contaminated with toxins than bigger fish like tuna and salmon. Check out more omega-3–rich foods that add years to your life.

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gourmet dish - Escargots de Bourgogne or Snails with herbs, butter, garlic on black slate plate with forks, ingredients and wine glass with dry white wine on wooden table, horizontal view from above

Snails

Snails haven’t broken into culinary circles in America the way they have in other cultures, and that’s unfortunate because we’re missing out on a tasty and bioavailable source of iron, according to Nigerian research.

The tiny gastropods have around four milligrams of iron per serving—more than red meat—and having enough iron can help prevent anemia and extend your life span. Start developing these 7 eating habits your 80-year-old self will thank you for.

Bottle of coconut water with fresh nuts on wooden background

Coconut

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, including the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconuts, slowed brain aging by protecting DNA from damage, according to a study done by the University of Copenhagen.

Although the study was done in mice, the researchers say it’s possible the tropical fruit can similarly help humans to keep our brains young long into our golden years.

sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut and other foods rich in good bacteria can help you live longer, research shows. The key is in the wide variety of probiotic strains found in fermented anti-aging foods.

The bacteria reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and help your metabolism, which in turn adds more healthy years to your life, researchers say. Learn about the 14 anti-aging treatments doctors actually use.

Macro of Kefir grains. Kefir is one of the top health foods available providing powerful probiotics. It is cultures of yeast and bacteria use to make a fermented milk product.

Kefir

This cultured, fermented beverage that’s similar to yogurt contains a powerful mixture of bacteria and yeast—probiotics that are good for your gut.

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“Kefir has been associated with health benefits for years, but the actual nature of these health benefits is still a new area of research,” says Kimberly Beavers, RD, at the University Health Care System in Augusta, Georgia. “Recently, kefir has been studied for its role in improvements of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.”

She recommends buying plain kefir (unsweetened) and adding it to your own fruits (like blueberries) for a nutrient- and probiotic-rich smoothie. Check out these additional probiotic foods you should add to your diet.

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close up of rustic korean fermented cabbage kimchi food background

Kimchi

This traditional Korean food, made from fermenting vegetables, is another rich source of healthy-gut probiotics. 

This tasty condiment also reduces inflammation, a side effect of exposure to free radicals in the environment that accelerate aging. To help reduce inflammation and boost gut health, include fermented veggies in your daily diet.

sweet potatoes_cancer fighting vegetables

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes shouldn’t be relegated to Thanksgiving-side-dish status; they deserve a starring role in meals thanks to their life-lengthening properties, according to Kansas State University researchers.

They reported that the colorful tubers (the eye-popping purple variety in particular) contain high levels of anthocyanin, a compound found to reduce cancer risk and increase life span.

But don’t even think about topping sweet potatoes with gooey marshmallows—sugar is one food known to shorten your life. Try this absolute best anti-aging workout.

Dark chocolate on old paper. Top view

Wine and chocolate

Next Valentine’s Day, you can feel doubly good about surprising your honey with his or her favorite treats. Good chocolate and fine wine are two of life’s greatest pleasures, and now scientists are saying that these indulgences can actually help that life last longer.

(Nothing says “I love you” like helping your partner live longer!) The pair are a great source of resveratrol, a powerful compound found to reverse signs of cellular aging, according to a paper published in Cell Metabolism.

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To get the full benefits of these anti-aging foods, be sure to pick red wine and dark chocolate. The main ingredient in dark chocolate—cocoa, or cacao—is loaded with flavonoids, which contain powerful antioxidant properties.

“Studies show that cocoa can decrease inflammation, protect the skin against oxidative damage, and improve cognitive function,” says Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com. “To maximize the beneficial effects of dark chocolate.

However, it’s important to opt for a variety with a high percentage of cacao and keep your intake in moderation.” This, he explains, ensures that you’re taking full advantage of the anti-aging benefits without going overboard on the extra calories and added sugar.

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