8 Foods to Eat if You Want to Live Forever
Unless you’re Keith Richards, you can’t actually live forever. But what you eat and drink affects whether you’ll be letting your great-grandkids know you can’t get no satisfaction when you’re 113.
So we asked 11 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics the same question: "What one food should I eat every day if I want to live a long, healthy life? Why?" Grab a bag of nuts and read on to find out what you should be incorporating into your diet so that you can live almost as long as Keef.
"I may be a little biased because I'm Mexican, but this fruit offers the complete nutritional package. Filled with monounsaturated fats, which are shown to help inflammation and improve cholesterol, avocados are also high in fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin E.
"People may fear them due to their high caloric content, but it's not always about calories -- it's about nutrients too. Avocados will help you feel fuller due to the high concentrations of fat and fiber. Best part? Avocados go with anything, from breakfast sandwiches to salads to dips!" - Marina Chaparro, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD
"While I would love to hold on to a youthful physical appearance with great skin and shiny hair, what I really care about is the health of my brain. Eating one serving of nuts a day (in particular, walnuts!) has been shown to play a role in Alzheimer’s prevention, boost memory, and reduce depression. Good things come in small packages."
- Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
"Beans are an amazing plant-based protein. They have no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and are fat-free. They are rich in fiber, phytochemicals, protein, iron, magnesium, certain B vitamins, and potassium. These nutrients provide great prevention benefits for long-term health. They help protect against obesity, colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
"The fiber fills you up so you can use it to help with weight management as well as diabetic blood sugar control, and it’s also been shown to lower LDL levels. There are so many beans to choose from and they are versatile for cooking -- add them to salads, soups, side dishes, or casseroles. They are easy, economical, and convenient -- just open a can! They fill you up and keep blood sugars stable. They are a good calorie investment at 115 calories per half-cup, and they are a nutrient-rich choice!" - Kim Larson, RDN, CD, CSSD
"Milk supplies three of the four nutrients that Americans are most likely to miss out on -- potassium, calcium, and vitamin D (but not fiber). Plus, Americans only get about half of the recommended three servings a day of dairy. As an RDN, I find that if people are not consuming milk, they don't get enough calcium or the recommended three servings a day of dairy foods. Even though they theoretically could get enough from yogurt or cheese, in my experience, they don't.
"How can you enjoy more milk? Instead of hitting F7 on the vending machine for a candy bar to get over that mid-afternoon slump, pop the top of a carton of chocolate milk. Or heat milk in the microwave and add your favorite flavor of coffee syrup. At the coffee shop, swap your coffee for a latte. A 12oz latte has 8oz of milk -- and skim milk froths up better than full-fat varieties." - Isabel Maples, RDN
"I personally consume [peanuts] in the way of natural peanut butter, where the ingredients are just peanuts and salt! Peanuts are actually legumes -- not nuts -- and because of that, have a nutritional profile similar to some beans. Peanuts are a great source of vegetarian protein as well as healthy, monounsaturated fat. These two nutrients make them a perfect, satisfying, healthy addition to a meal or snack.
"The caloric density of peanuts aids satiety and can help prevent overeating, hence (when consumed in moderation), it can help with weight control. I also love that they contain powerful antioxidants, such as resveratrol, which may benefit cardiovascular health. As our country continues to struggle with heart disease as the result of poor, imbalanced diets, I think peanuts are perhaps a smart way to address those concerns. Consumed in moderation, peanuts could just be one of the keys to living a long, healthy life. But don't forget about exercise and sleep!" - Sara Haas, RDN, LDN
"There isn’t one food that will provide all the nutrients we require, but oatmeal should be included as a daily food choice. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber (helpful for lowering LDL cholesterol), is a whole grain, and a good source of iron and vitamin B1 (or thiamin, which helps change carbohydrates into energy and is important for people with diabetes). It also has a high satiety level so you feel full after consuming a bowl of oats. Oatmeal is a versatile food that can be eaten alone or used as an ingredient in recipes." - Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE
"Choose rolled (old-fashioned) oats. It's an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, a bit of high-quality amino acids, and a great mix of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. This mix of fiber helps [prevent] dramatic blood sugar changes, increases satiety, and overall will give you a steady flow of energy throughout the day no matter what type of lifestyle you choose to live." - Jim White, RDN, ACSM-HFS
"While research is preliminary, tea has certainly been consumed for centuries by some of the healthiest and long-lived cultures in the world. Green tea is a source of polyphenols -- antioxidants that might protect against several cancers, as well as lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. Caffeine and another group of antioxidants called catechins are found in green, oolong, and white teas -- these may increase metabolism, thereby aiding weight-loss efforts." - Lisa Cimperman MS, RDN, LD
"They can be included in snacks and/or meals. They're filling, contain protein, and are a good source of fiber and heart-healthy fats. Not to mention they contain calcium for bones and zinc for a healthy immune system!" - Kristi L. King, MPH, RDN, CNSC, LD
Lee Breslouer is a senior editor at Thrillist and eats all of these foods every single day for every single meal. Follow him to leafy greens: @LeeBreslouer.