By now, you have probably heard that plant-forward diets are associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol (aka, the “bad” cholesterol), decreased blood pressure, and less instances of cardiovascular disease. Nutrition researchers have been collecting an ever-growing pile of evidence that indicates eating your veggies and fruits—when you are able to, of course—is an excellent way to boost your future longevity. And as reported by a new meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that looks at the results of many different scientific studies), chowing down on at least three specific, plant-based foods and eating less red meat might add 10 years to your life expectancy.
That said, here are a few longevity-boosting foods that are worth focusing on.
“These are a great addition to a plant-based diet and include lentils and chickpeas. These foods offer protein and fiber, a combination that will help you feel fuller for a while longer,” said Gorin. You can enjoy roasted chickpeas, or enjoy the lentils in a salad or soup.
Nuts have fiber, protein and good-for-you fats. One of the best and most affordable ways to eat nuts is by eating peanut butter.
“These include foods such as oatmeal, millet and amaranth. They are a surprising source of protein and also provide fiber. And some whole grains, like millet, provide iron, which is especially crucial for plant-based eaters due to the iron being a particular concern for vegetarian and vegan eaters,” said Gorin.
With this knowledge in mind, you are ready to enjoy numerous plant-based meals. Just remember: It is always worth noting that, like any research study, this research has its limits. “Depending on how old you are when you change your diet, the exact projected life expectancy will be different,” said Gorin. “This also varies based on what gender you are. For example, changing your diet when you reach age 60 would boost life expectancy by about eight years for females and almost nine years for males. At age 20, this would be a six-year increase for females and a seven-year increase for males.” So, when you are deciding what you should eat, bear in mind that this study is really just a guidance than law.