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Food & Health News

7 Secrets to Living Longer

Want to party when you’re 100? 
Or stick around for your great-great-grandchildren? New research indicates eating clean is one way to stay
 dynamic through the decades.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

1. Have children

If you’re on the fence about producing offspring, here’s something to consider: Couples who have children seem to live longer, according to a Dutch study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. While additional factors may help explain the trend, the news could be just the boost you need to think “positive” when it comes to family planning.

2. Try melatonin

Research shows that the amount you sleep per night is important to a long life: Some reports claim that between 6.5 and 7.5 hours is ideal, while others point to centenarians who sleep for more than eight hours a night. Either way, a few hours of tossing and turning doesn’t cut it, which is why poor sleepers might want to consider supplementing with melatonin. According to research published in the journal SLEEP in October 2012, people who took a melatonin supplement while being treated for high-blood pressure slumbered longer and more restfully.
Try this: Ask your doctor about taking 2.5 milligrams of melatonin (the amount used in the study) as a sleep aid.

3. Make more meals at home

You already know that home-cooked meals are typically healthier than something you’d order at a restaurant. But now, researchers have proved that dining out adds up to a lot of excess calories for your family members. A study of more than 9,000 teenagers, funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that its participants ate and drank an extra 309 calories on days they chose fast food. Even when the teens dined out at sit-down restaurants, the findings weren’t much better – they still consumed an extra 267 calories.
Try this: Since high-calorie diets have been shown to contribute to a shorter life span, aim to compensate for extra calories by eating clean throughout the day if you know you’re going to dine out that night.

See alsoMeal Plans & Shopping Lists.

4. Consume more carotenoids

This one sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple: To reduce your risk of breast cancer, just keep eating lots of kale, tomatoes and other vegetables rich in pigments called carotenoids. A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women with higher levels of carotenoids (including beta-carotene) may be less likely to develop breast cancer.
Try this: Sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots are among the foods richest in carotenoids; if they’re not already part of your daily diet, chop some up and store in the fridge as easy additions to soups, salads and other dishes.

See also Get Proactive: How to Eat to Prevent Cancer

5. Keep the skin on

Nutrients in some of the best cancer-fighting fruits are found in the skin, said experts from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the late fall of 2012. For example, quercetin, found in the skin of apples, is a flavonoid that helps protect your body’s DNA cells from damage. However, it’s largely lost once the skin is peeled.
Try this: Of course, bananas and citrus fruits are a different story, but when it comes to apples, pears and other fruits with edible skin, it’s best to skip the peeler.

6. Get more B12

Enter your golden years with a sharp and healthy brain by adding more B12 to your diet. Researchers from Tufts University found that older adults mildly deficient in the vitamin could be at risk for brain damage. The Tufts study, which examined data from 549 men and women aged 75, on average, discovered that people with the lowest B12 levels fared the poorest on a series of tests used to screen dementia.
try this Some of the best natural sources of B12 are lean meats, poultry and eggs, although the USDA recommends that people over age 50 include B12 supplements or B12-fortified foods, as well.

See also9 Amazing Brain Boosters to Add to Your Diet.

7. Choose real fish as well as fish oil supplements

A British study provides further evidence that eating fish can help keep you healthy. Publishing their findings in an October 2012 issue of the BMJ (British Medical Journal), researchers analyzed the results of 38 studies that included nearly 800,000 people in 15 countries. The study concluded that eating oily fish five or more times a week can help reduce the risk of a ministroke by as much as 12%.
try this Top salads or pasta with sardines or mackerel, and take a daily supplement.

No fish? no problem

Of course you want your baby to have the best chances to live to 100 (or beyond!), too. But what if your family is vegan? Or your little one is allergic to fish? Taking a vegetarian supplement may be the answer. Nordic Naturals’ Baby’s DHA Vegetarian contains the nutrients babies need for brain, eye and nervous system development, but without the fish. Made from microalgae, the formula is designed for infants six months and older, and comes with a measured dropper.

See alsoBest Options to Consume Omega-3s.