For a long time, people paid attention to what they ate in order to lose weight and get fit. Now, people are realizing that diet can have an impact on other aspects of your life beyond your physique, and you can even adopt eating habits that can help you live longer. Most of us want to live a long and fruitful life, and we can use our diet to help get us there.
"By examining the diets and lifestyles of certain populations around the world, scientists now have a vast body of evidence to support the theory that healthy eating habits contribute to sustained longevity and greater life expectancy," says dietitian Ashvini Mashru, MA, RD, LDN to Bustle over email. Studies from Harvard University show that eating a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, healthy fats, and vegetables, can help slow aging and increase life expectancy.
"By eating a complete diet, you will ensure your body gets all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper functioning of all of your organs," says Mashru. "Likewise, your mental agility also depends on proper nutrition."
If you're looking to improve your quality of life and work towards longevity, try to adopt these seven eating habits that can help you live longer.
1. Eat Breakfast
Research from Harvard University found that eating breakfast reduces the risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, and having a heart attack. Eating first thing in the morning helps control your insulin levels as well as your hunger, which helps you eat more balanced meals throughout the day.
2. Drink Eight Cups Of Water
"Try to keep water on hand at all times and sip it throughout the day," says Mashru. "As a good rule of thumb, if you are drinking enough so that you never feel thirsty and your pee is clear or very light yellow, you are hydrated." Even minor dehydration can have an effect on both your physical and mental performance.
3. Incorporate Probiotics
"Probiotics are live microorganisms that reside in your gut," says Mashru. "These organisms may improve digestion and help fight off the 'bad' bacteria, improving immune function." Good sources of probiotics include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
4. Eat From All Food Groups
Many popular diets like to exclude certain food groups, but it's important to get a wide variety of nutrients from different sources. "Have a balanced mix of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in each meal," says Mashru. "
5. Eat Until You're Satisfied, Not Stuffed
"Focus on eating until you’re no longer hungry, rather than eating until you’re full," says Bert Herring, MD over email. Studies have found that eating less can help you live longer, especially if you stop eating when you feel 80 percent full.
6. Opt For Whole Foods Rather Than Juiced
Many people attempt to get their fill of fruits and vegetables through juice, but this could come at a cost. "Juice is not the same as eating fruit," says Herring. "Apple juice has more sugar in each ounce than Coca-Cola, with no redeeming nutritional value."
7. Eat Fish At Least Once A Week
Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a longer life, according to research done by Harvard Medical school. "Some of the best sources include fatty fish such as salmon and sardines (wild caught, not farmed)," says Mashru. Omega-3s can help fight off depression, improve brain power, and fight against heart disease.
You may already be following some of these habits, so it could only improve your life that much more to add a few more!