To live a longer, healthy life, include these superfoods in your diet

Add a little longevity to your meals with superfoods proven to protect you from head to heart to toe.

To preserve their youth, the gods of Norse mythology ate golden apples guarded by Idun, the goddess of spring. When the trickster god Loki stormed the garden with a giant to kidnap Idun and steal all her apples, the gods immediately began to wrinkle and ache. Understandably upset, they pressured Loki to return Idun to the garden so she could once again tend and distribute her magical fruit.

Sadly, apples of eternal youth exist only in myth. But science shows that some foods do have the power to slow the aging process. Physicians and nutritionists at top institutions note that two principles link many of these superfoods: They quell excess inflammation, which underlies many conditions associated with aging, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. And they contain little sugar, ranking low or moderate on the glycemic index, which indicates how much insulin a food prompts the body to release.

“It’s becoming more and more evident that excess insulin is a major factor in accelerated aging,” says certified clinical nutritionist Nicole Visnic; she is the ambassador of nutrition for LifeSpan Medicine, an integrative medical center in Santa Monica, Calif. Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, agrees. “Sugar and starch increase insulin, which we now know is the biggest driver of the diseases that impact aging,” he says. “Sugar and starch should be thought of as recreational drugs — used only occasionally and in small amounts.”

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