5 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Help You Live Longer

While a cookie every now and then doesn’t mean you’re going to die tomorrow, what you eat can really affect how long you live. When you consider the cultures where people live the longest, it’s easy to see they share a lot of the same eating habits. Limiting meat and going for tons of produce are a few of the commonalities. Keep reading to discover five habits that will help you live longer.

1. Eat less meat

raw unprocessed meats

Cutting back on meat, especially processed kinds, can help you live longer. | iStock.com

Scientists have found that societies who live the longest consume meat sparingly, and there’s good reason to adopt that dining habit. Research has found that people who consume about one serving of red meat (beef, pork or lamb) per day have a 13% increased risk of mortality, compared with those who were eating very little meat. And processed meat consumption resulted in about a 20% increased risk of death from diseases including cancer and heart disease.

2. Eat fish regularly

raw salmon fillet portions

Fish is always a great choice. | iStock.com

Speaking of replacing red meat with healthier choices, you might want to consider fish. One review involving more than 670,000 participants found those who ate the most fish were at the lowest risk for death. It’s likely some of this has to do with the omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for both your heart and brain. Fish with the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna.

3. Reduce dairy

glass of milk

Milk and other dairy products can be hard for your body to digest. | iStock.com

The human digestive system isn’t optimized for cow’s milk, so why are we consuming it? Calcium is the usual answer, but you can, and should, get your calcium from other sources. A cup of cooked kale, for example, gives you as much calcium as a cup of milk, and it may actually be easier for your body to absorb the calcium found in kale. Plus, plants are free of all the fat and sugar found in milk.

4. Make plants the bulk of your diet

Grilled vegetables, zucchini, eggplant, onions, pepper, tomato

Eating mostly vegetables can decrease your chances of dying. | iStock.com

The very best foods for increasing your lifespan are leafy greens, but any plants are better than none. Researchers from Loma Linda University found that vegetarians had a 12% lower risk of dying over a six-year period, compared with non-vegetarians. Skeptical about how nutritionally sound a diet made of mostly produce is? Physicians have concluded that a plant-based diet is perfectly healthy.

 5. Start eating sourdough bread

fresh sourdough bread

Sourdough is one of the the best breads you can eat. | iStock.com

The bread you’ll find in the supermarket is a far cry from traditional bread, which is made with bacteria that “digest” the starch and gluten while helping the bread rise. This is the process that creates acid, which gives sourdough its flavor. The resulting bread is not only lower in gluten, but also helps lower the glycemic load of meals. This means that, as with other low GI food, sourdough bread will cause a gradual increase in blood sugar levels rather than a spike, making it a much healthier bread option.