Health

The ingredients to longevity

Updated 5:47 AM ET, Tue December 3, 2019
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A plant-based diet underpins the health of those who live longest according to experts. Beans, legumes and pulses (such as lentils and chickpeas), compared with any other food, are the most important dietary predictor of longevity. They probably offer the best bang for your nutritional buck than any other food out there. David McLain
Wild greens like purslane, dandelion and arugula are a great source of minerals as well as carotenoids— the colorful pigments our body converts to vitamin A. David McLain
Mushrooms, particularly shiitake, contain more than 100 compounds with immune-protecting properties.
David McLain
Ginger's golden cousin is a powerful anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. David McLain
Imo is a supercharged purple sweet potato that doesn't cause blood sugar to spike as much as a regular white potato. David McLain
Residents of Nicoya, Costa Rica -- a population more likely to reach a healthy 90 years old than anyone else on the planet -- use small sweet peppers in most of their dishes, and other peppers are also a staple food in longevity-prone Sardinia and Ikaria in Greece. Peppers are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C. David McLain
Squash, available in several varieties, belongs to the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, known for providing high levels of useful carotenoids. David McLain
Nuts, as well as nut butters, are prominent in the diet of the Seventh-day Adventists, a religious group with a longer than average lifespan when compared to other Americans. One study found that those who ate a handful of nuts at least five times a week lived two to three years longer than those who didn't eat any nuts. David McLain
Ikarians in Greece drink tea brewed from local rosemary, wild sage and dandelion — all of which are herbs known to have anti-inflammatory properties. David McLain
Lime-treated ground corn, or nixtamal, is used to make tortillas eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It increases the body's ability to absorb calcium, iron and minerals. David McLain