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Carrington College Blog

Can you lengthen your life by eating these foods?

July 22, 2015

People have an obsession with living longer. Books and movies centering around immortal characters are constantly being released because nobody, including medical assistants, enjoys the thought of death. So, while the search for the fountain of youth is still underway, researchers continue to look for new ways to elongate life.

What they’ve found so far may not be a cure for old age, but they have managed to find some foods that may help you live longer.


Nuts, fruit and vegetables, and fish rich in Omega-3 can elongate life.A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that people who ate at least 10 grams of nuts each day had a 23 percent lower chance of death over 10 years, Time reported.1 In other words, if you haven’t been getting your daily nut intake, you better start now.

This doesn’t mean, however, that medical assistants should start suggesting patients grab a spoonful of peanut butter for those daily 10 grams. Unfortunately, the creamy or chunky spread is not a sufficient substitute for actual nuts. In fact, the study did not discover any preventive benefits from peanut butter at all.1 Luckily, there are a variety of nuts available for you to consume instead, from peanuts and cashews to walnuts and pecans. You can get your nut grams by bringing a bag of trail mix with you to class for a midmorning or afternoon snack.

Fruit and veggies

Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but it turns out they can have an impact on how long you might live. The more of them you eat, in fact, the better. According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, eating five to seven servings of vegetables and fruit each day can actually lower your risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular-related causes by 36 percent.2

Five to seven servings of vegetables a day may seem like a lot, though, so if you can’t manage that many portions, three to five servings will give you a 29 percent lower risk and one to three servings will give you a 14 percent lower risk.2 Working more fruits and vegetables into your diet doesn’t have to be hard, either. A simple solution is purchasing fruit that doesn’t need to be cut beforehand, like apples or grapes; the same goes for vegetables like carrots. If you’re good at buying the produce but often forget about it while it sits in the produce drawer, move it to a shelf and place it near the front. That way, each time you open your fridge you’ll see the fruits and vegetables and remember to eat more of them.


The omega-3 fatty acids often found in fish are not only good for your body, but can apparently slow down aging as well. Eating fish to get your omega-3 intake can slow the shrinkage of telomeres​, which affect how your cells age.3 Be sure you don’t go overboard with your fish intake, though, because while fish may be delicious, it can also contain high levels of mercury.

Cooking fish can be a little tricky if you’re not used to it, though. If you often struggle to cook your fish, try finding a new recipe on Pinterest or stick to something simple like tuna sandwiches. If you’re not really a fish person at all, there are always alternatives, like taking omega-3 supplement pills.

Of course, if you have a healthy diet, you’re probably already consuming most of these life-extending foods anyway. If you think your diet could use a little boost in nutrition, though, don’t forget the important foods mentioned above.

1“Eating nuts could save you from early death, study says,” Time, June 2015.

2“Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Sept. 2014.

3“Omega-3 Supplements May Slow A Biological Effect of Aging,” The Ohio State University, Oct. 2012.