The #1 Healthiest Food for Adding Years to Your Life

Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash

The single healthiest food out there might surprise you.

Chances are this food is not a part of your regular diet, but it is the cornerstone food of the longest-lived people in the world. In fact, in the locations around the world with the highest concentrations of 100-year-olds, people are eating at least four times as much of this food as we are.

That is according to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author, who has spent over a decade studying the places around the globe where people live the longest.

This superfood is beans — and eating just a cup per day is the single-best longevity supplement available.

That’s right, eating a cup of beans per day can add an extra four years to your life, says Buettner.

He argues that beans of every type are the world’s greatest longevity foods — including black beans, pinto beans, white beans, garbanzo beans, fava beans, black eyed peas, and lentils.

Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Beans are the ultimate superfood because they have the ideal mix of protein (21 percent), complex carbohydrates (77 percent — the type of carbs that provide slow and steady energy), and fat (only a few percent). They are also an excellent source of fiber and deliver more nutrients per gram than any other food on the planet.

If that isn’t enough, beans have also been shown to support digestion, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, boost heart health, and possibly even reduce cancer risk.

Pound for pound, beans are simply the healthiest food in the world.

If you’re ready to add beans to your daily regimen, here are some of Buettner’s tips to get started:

  • Eat beans that you like and cook recipes that will taste good. This is easier said than done, so reference this great list of bean dish recipes.
  • Make sure the only ingredients in the beans you buy are: beans, water, spices, and maybe a bit of salt (avoid any beans with added sugar or fat).
  • It is best to buy dry beans, but low-sodium beans in cans are fine as well.
  • Use pureed beans as a thickener in soups to add protein and a creamy texture.
  • Add cooked beans to salads to make them more filling.
  • Keep your kitchen stocked with other ingredients that are popular in bean recipes, including carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, and pepper.
  • Instead of meat and potatoes for your meals, think beans and vegetables. After beans, vegetables are the next most important item to add to your diet.
  • When going out for dinner, Mexican is a good option. Mexican restaurants always serve pinto or black beans, which can be dressed up with rice, vegetables, guacamole, and hot sauce (just make sure to avoid the white flour tortillas — opt for corn tortillas instead).

It sounds too good to be true, but the simple addition of beans to your daily diet can add years to your life.

If you are looking for other food and lifestyle suggestions to increase longevity, check out one of my similar articles here.

Here’s to a long, happy, and healthy life!

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Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and connect with him on Twitter.