Let’s talk about longevity.

The latest report on average lifespan comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). In this report, the United States is ranked 26th out of the 36 countries that are a part of the OECD — falling just behind Belgium, Slovenia and Denmark.

In the U.S. the average lifespan for men is 76 years, while women typically get a bit more time at an average of 81 years.

The good news? Overall, we’re ALL living longer. Life expectancy in the U.S. is now 8 years longer than it was in 1970. But people are living significantly longer in other countries, which begs the question… why?

Not surprisingly, a big part of it has to do with diet.

The three countries with the longest lifespans are Switzerland, Japan and Italy. This makes perfect sense as these three cultures have some of the healthiest diets in the world, including many of the foods that actually help you live longer.

With that in mind, we’d like to share the top 4 foods that have been scientifically proven to help increase your lifespan:

(1) Raw Nuts

Two major studies done over a 30-year period at Harvard University indicate that people who eat a handful of nuts everyday live longer than those who don’t. The studies show that daily nut-eaters are less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, or respiratory disease. Overall, the group of people who ate nuts every day were a whopping 20% less likely to die during the study than those who didn’t eat nuts.

And by nuts, we mean the raw, uncooked, unsalted kind. Raw nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, crucial phytochemicals, and they’re loaded with antioxidants which help protect your heart. Nuts also help lower your blood pressure and improve your body’s response to stress.

Amazingly, almost all raw nuts have these amazing properties: walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, even peanuts. Eating a handful of mixed raw nuts is an easy way to boost your health everyday!

(2) Salmon

Salmon is considered by many cultures as the healthiest food in the world. Eating salmon once a week (or more!) has a huge number of health benefits, including:

  • reducing inflammation in your heart
  • improving your bone strength
  • helping to prevent the decay of vision

Salmon is best known for its super-high content of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA. Both of these are essential for enhanced brain function. In fact, the gray matter in your brain is made up of 30% DHA!

But the real reason salmon is on this list has to do with the results of a study on anti-aging done at Ohio State University. Researchers discovered that supplementing your diet with Omega 3’s helps preserve tiny segments of DNA in your white blood cells called telomeres. The study showed that consuming more Omega 3’s actually helps extend lifespan by preserving the telomeres in the cells of your immune system.

It doesn’t hurt that salmon is also one of the best-tasting and most widely-available fish on the commercial market!

(3) Green Tea

Japan is ranked 2nd in the world for longest lifespan. The reason may have less to do with what they eat and more to do with what they drink: plenty of green tea everyday.

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, a type of powerful antioxidant which fights free radicals in your cells. These compounds boost your metabolism, helping you burn calories from food. Polyphenols also help reduce the kind of inflammation seen in coronary heart disease.

In fact, a study of over 40,000 Japanese men and women (spanning over 11 years!) indicated that those who drank 4-5 cups of green tea everyday had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Additional studies — including one by the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center — have shown that the antioxidants in green tea can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, pancreatic and colon cancer.

For best results, brew green tea fresh from loose leaves to avoid the concentration of toxic leads found in pre-packaged teas.

(4) Blueberries

Blueberries are often referred to as a “superfood” due to their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Several studies have linked blueberries to improved memory and reducing age-related damage to brain cells.

But new data indicates that blueberries actually help delay the aging process and to increase human lifespan.The flavonoids and other compounds found in blueberries have been proven to slow the aging process in several kinds of cell tissues, including skin cells, brain cells, bone cells and retina cells.

Blueberry flavonoids also help improve your metabolism, reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes… two of our nation’s biggest killers.

Here are a few other lifespan-boosting foods to include in your diet:

  • Olive Oil
  • Cranberries
  • Red Wine
  • Leafy Greens
  • Flaxseeds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Fennel

We’ve recently seen a sharp increase in research data that is coming from several long-term studies, and all of the studies have one common denominator: what you eat really affects your longevity as well as your quality of life.

As the world becomes a smaller place, we’re blessed to be able to learn what other cultures do to stay healthy. What a gift to be able to take the best of the best tips for our own lives, and the lives of our children!

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