Want To Live 10 Years Longer? Add These 3 Foods to Your Diet, New Study Says

Updated: May 07, 2024

Medical researchers pinpointed longevity trends thanks to dietary patterns across Europe, Asia and the United States.

Longevity is a popular topic, thanks in part to the Blue Zones research on the best ways to live longer. It’s an idea so fascinating, and so inspiring, partly because there’s a growing awareness in our culture that extending your lifespan can be achieved through some of the simplest, and most pleasurable, things you do.

One of those is eating. A new study analyzed data on diets in seven countries after a team of doctors predicted that they’d observe an increase in life expectancy among populations that had transitioned “from typical national dietary patterns to longevity-optimizing dietary changes, more feasible dietary modifications, and optimized vegan dietary changes.”

Published in the April 29, 2024, issue of the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study was led by public health and medical researchers who drew upon data from the Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries study, which is an ongoing initiative that monitors dietary habits and health metrics across multiple nations. The research combined statistics from China, France, Germany, Iran, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Adjusting for height, weight, and physical activity level, the researchers identified some broad-sweeping trends:

  • Adopting a vegan diet could add five to seven years to one’s life.
  • Even modest dietary adjustments, particularly the inclusion of whole grains and legumes while curbing sugary beverages, could contribute up to four additional years of life.
  • Overall, they say the research suggests the public would likely boost their health and potenital for future health by adding these three foods: legumes, whole grains and nuts.
  • Skipping processed meat was also associated with a longer life.

super food Walnuts full frameJavier Zayas Photography/getty images

The United States emerged with the greatest opportunity to increase longevity, due to Americans’ widespread consumption of foods like processed meat and added sugars, combined with low intake of longevity-promoting foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, and fish. To our collective credit, Americans ate a decent amount of vegetables and consumed enough fruit, but this didn’t fully offset the bad choices in other parts of the American diet. 

The study also suggested that men stand to benefit from dietary modifications more than women, likely because across countries it was observed women already follow healthier diets.