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Health » Diet-tips » Foods-to-help-you-live-longer-050107
7 Foods That Help You Live Longer 
You must have read a lot on must-eat foods or healthy foods to consume everyday but do you know about foods that can help you live longer? Right from all your favourites - chocolates to coffee and wine, we list down the top 7 foods that can improve your health and help you live longer...

Apples Apples
Guess the old saying, 'An apple a day keeps a doctor away' is actually true. It can really keep the doctor away — especially when it comes to heart health. A 2011 study conducted by researchers at Florida State University compared postmenopausal women who ate 75 grams of dried apple a day to women who ate other types of dried fruit. The result? Women who ate the dried apple saw a 23 per cent drop in their LDL ('bad') cholesterol, as well as a 4 per cent increase in their HDL ('good') cholesterol. What’s more, the additional 240 calories derived from the dried apple slices didn't cause participants to gain weight—the apple group actually lost an average of 3.3 lbs over the course of the year in which the study was conducted. Although dried apples were used in the study, eating the equivalent amount of fresh apples is believed to produce similar results.

If you're a chocoholic, there's some good news for you. Cocoa is one of the heart-healthiest foods around, so a bite or two per day is not a bad idea! A 2011 Harvard study found that organic compounds called flavonoids that are contained in cacao (the bean used to make chocolate) are associated with reduced blood pressure as well as improved blood vessel health, cholesterol levels and general blood flow. "All of these things are protective against heart disease," according to Eric Ding, PhD, conductor of the study and a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. But this doesn't mean you can eat any chocolate, as most chocolates are made of sugar and do not have the flavonoids in it from the original cacao tree and bean. So, it's best to snack on two to four squares of dark chocolate per day that contains high amount of cocao.

Red wine Red wine
What could be better than chocolate being good for you? Red wine! (In moderation, of course.) According to a 2011 report from the University of Florida, which reviewed several studies on resveratrol—a polyphenol compound that is naturally found in red wine—it may have "anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties." It is important to note that the studies were conducted on laboratory animals, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the claim. Dr.Joseph Maroon, MD, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh and author of The Longevity Factor. says, "The key is in the polyphenols, which can reduce inflammation…increase HDL and lower LDL [cholesterol levels], have a mild to modest effect on blood pressure, dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and lower insulin resistance," which helps prevent type 2 diabetes. However, that doesn't mean you can drink a bottle of wine every night with dinner. "I don't encourage people to drink alcohol who haven't in the past [or who suffer from alcoholism]," says Dr. Maroon. "What I do say is one glass of wine for women and no more than two for men [per day] is healthy.” Though wine is no fountain of youth, it can help delay the body's aging process.

Whole Grains
Whole grains
This recent research may make you think twice before buying that loaf of white bread. Foods that contain whole grains and bran, like stone-ground whole-grain bread, brown rice and old-fashioned oatmeal, can help protect against coronary heart disease and aid in digestive health. They also improve insulin sensitivity, which can help better control your sugar levels — a vital factor for diabetics. A 2010 study found that the intake of whole grains was associated with a 16 to 31per cent overall reduction in the risk of dying from any cause in participants with type 2 diabetes. "Whole grains can slow the absorption of cholesterol, just like some of the drugs that you take [for high cholesterol] do,” says Dr. Maroon. In essence, by improving your overall cholesterol count, you can help lower your risk of heart disease.

Olive oil Olive oil
Olive oil has long been associated with the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, but it may benefit more than just your ticker. In a 2011 study, researchers analyzed the olive oil consumption of 7,625 French people 65 or older and found that those whose use of olive oil was 'intensive' were 41 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke compared to those who never consumed olive oil. "We can't infer which aspects of olive oil may prevent stroke," says study author Cécilia Samieri, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Bordeaux in France. However, Dr. Samieri says, it’s possible that the oleic acid in olive oil decreases the absorption of saturated fats and, ultimately, the chance of stroke.
Most nuts are recognized as superfoods, thanks to a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, like omega-3s, which help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. However, a 2011 study indicates that walnuts might be the most super nut of them all. According to study author Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at Scranton University in Pennsylvania, walnuts contain twice the amount of antioxidants per ounce as peanuts and almonds. His research found that all nuts in general were better sources of antioxidants when compared to pure vitamin E (a type of antioxidant). But when walnuts were compared to peanuts and almonds, they were found to be better in terms of the 'quality and quantity of antioxidants.' According to a corporate wellness dietitian at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, that means walnuts can not only help improve cholesterol levels but also help manage your weight by providing satisfying heart-healthy fats and protein.

Coffee Coffee
Coffee has always been known for its health benefits but did you know that according to a 2011 Harvard study, coffee consumption has been linked to decreased rates of prostate cancer. In the study, men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day were found to have a 20 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer and a 60 per cent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer, according to researcher Lorelei Mucci, PhD, study author and associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We saw the same lower risk whether the men only drank decaf, only drank caffeinated or drank both, so it's something other than the caffeine," Dr. Mucci says. Though downing six cups of coffee every day is probably too much for most people, rest assured that the study still found lower rates of prostate cancer in men who only drank one to three cups per day, compared to those who drank none at all.

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