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Live Longer: Foods To Boost Your Life Expectancy

Dr. Rehan Uppal

3 min read

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If eating the wrong type of food can decrease your life expectancy—then eating the right kind can also increase it. By paying extra attention to what we eat, we can not only make our life healthier and improve its quality, but we can also add a few years to it. Read on to find out foods that boost your life expectancy.

Whole grains and vegetables:

Research—and history proves that those who eat fruits and vegetables have a longer and healthier life expectancy. Out of all the fruits and vegetables, those that are brightly colored are particularly beneficial. It is because the natural pigment in them is full of antioxidants that can fight diseases like cancer.

Experts recommend at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; for more benefits, you can aim for nine servings as well. Choose vegetable soups, or fruit and vegetable salad for everyday consumption. Fruits and cereals for breakfast and fruits as snacks are also a good combination to jump-start the day.

The Okinawans—a Japanese race, is reputed to have the world’s longest life expectancy and a life span that is devoid of diseases like cancer and heart ailments. The Okinawans have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark green and yellow foods. Sweet potato is a particular favorite of this race, and this staple has replaced the Japanese traditional diet of rice.

Dark chocolate

Cocoa beans are packed with antioxidants, like flavonoids. Studies show that the antioxidants found in cocoa beans have proven helpful in preventing risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in the world. Try incorporating chocolate in your diet, even one small bar is good enough, just ensure that it is a 70 percent or higher cocoa content that you are picking. 

Choose good carbohydrates

Refined carbs are not good for your health; they are consumed by the body quickly and cause spikes in the blood sugar level, followed by lows. It is better to have a diet rich in whole-grains, such as brown rice and whole oats. Even better are the lesser-known whole grains like barley, quinoa, kasha and bulgur. They do not cause spikes in blood sugar level and infact maintain it.


The right amount and type of protein can add longevity to life. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)a moderate amount of proteins, about 10 to 20 percent of total caloric intake, can prove helpful for optimal longevity. On the other hand, too little protein intake can shorten the lifespan of a person. While going on an all-steak diet is not recommended, good protein breakfasts should be eaten for maximum benefit.

Oily fish

Another food of the long-living Japanese is a diet rich in oily fish. Oily fish is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and D, which help strengthen the immune system. Moreover, oily fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, the good fats that have been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and brain damage. Another component of oily fish is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that is helpful in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The progression of the disease is slowed down with the intake DHA, which makes it a great ingredient for a healthy brain and a healthy lifestyle.


One of the foods with the highest anti-cancer properties is garlic. Research shows that there are close to 10 component in garlic that enhance the immune system, and combat cancer cells. For instance, garlic is rich in diallyl sulphide, which is great for breaking down carcinogens in the body. People who consume garlic regularly not only live for longer but also a healthier life.

Step up the activity

According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended to work out for at least 60 to 90 minutes a day. This workout can include a moderate activity like brisk walking—which is practically safe for just about everybody. If working out at a stretch is not possible then small bouts of activity for something like ten minutes are also helpful.

Fill up on fiber

Research shows that intake of a fiber-rich diet particularly whole grain, can lower the risk of death. Fiber is thought to improve health by regulating blood sugar levels and bowel movements. Fiber also aids digestion, helps the stomach feel fuller for longer, and decrease the absorption of fat. It is, therefore, a good dietary element to add, especially for breakfast.

Green tea

Green tea can boast an array of health benefits including regulation of blood pressure, improved blood cholesterol and better immune system. Green tea is rich in flavonoids that provide the added benefit of decreasing the risk of cancer. Moreover, green tea is rich in antioxidants that reverse the damage caused by environmental stressors and other factors. These health benefits are backed by the findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  

Opt for a varied and nutritious menu for yourself and your family to ensure your children grow up to be healthy; book an appointment with top nutritionists in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Rehan Uppal - Author Dr. Rehan Uppal is an Internal Medicine Specialist practicing in Islamabad. Dr. Rehan Uppal has the following degrees: MBBS, M.C.P.S, M.R.C.G.P, MAAFP (USA) and has 19 years of experience. He loves writing about medical issues and health concerns so that the general awareness and understanding regarding health can be increased. To find out more about his expert medical opinions, use the provided links:

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