Studies show that certain foods can increase your chances of longevity by decreasing the risk factors associated with the top diseases plaguing Americans. Here are some tips to increase your chances of living longer.

BEANS:

There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people (or nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have the disease.

Studies have shown that people who eat a high-fiber diet lowered their risk of diabetes by 30 percent. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest, which means that insulin is created slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes.

PISTACHIOS:

About 400 million people around the world are classified by the World Health Organization as obese. In a study done by Swedish researchers, men who had been overweight at 18 were one third more likely to die prematurely compared to their normal-weight peers. The study of 45, 920 men over an average 38 years underlines the dangers of being overweight and the need to tackle a growing obesity epidemic.

This nut can help! Pistachios are known as "the skinny nut" because they contain two key nutrients which help stave off hunger: Fiber and protein. Pistachios are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids as well. Omega-3's prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together and sticking to arterial walls in the form of plaque. They also drive down triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Researchers suspect that omega-3's may block the production of inflammatory substances linked to arthritis and lupus.

Get cracking! Whether you're at the office, ballpark or hanging with the guys, stick with pistachio nuts.

EDAMAMES:

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. One out of every six men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, and one out of every 35 men will die of this disease.

Researchers from Japan's National Cancer Center found that increased intake of soy isoflavones significantly reduced the risk of prostate cancer in men by as much as 50 percent. Soy isoflavones help reduce testosterone, which is the hormone that may increase prostate cancer risk.

While dining with your wife or taking your family out for Japenese food, order some edamame to the table, which are boosting with soy. If that's not your thing, opt for the miso soup. If you're in the car, grab a Soy Joy, which is not only packed with healthy soy proteins, but filled with essential vitamins and minerals.

COFFEE:

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly. As of February 2009, as many as 2.4 to 4.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.

Is your morning cup of joe what gets you through the busy work day? According to the April, 2009 publication of Tufts Newsletter, a new study by Finnish and Swedish researchers reported that people who drink between three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife could be cutting their risk of Dementia/Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent.

Some studies have also shown that coffee helps protect the nervous system, which can also protect against dementia. Due to the fact that the average American drinks more than three and half cups of coffee daily, these results can have imperative implications for the prevention or delay of the onset of dementia/Alzheimer's disease.

If three cups of coffee seems like one-too-many for you, don't worry - have a skim cappuccino with breakfast or dessert, or grab an iced latte mid-afternoon. These sweet coffee treats will get you through the day.

ALCOHOL:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States today. Seventy million Americans suffer from some form of CVD.

A study by Harvard University researchers suggests that, moderate drinking was associated with a lower risk of heart attack. Those who had one-half to two drinks a day had the lowest heart attack risk - 40 percent to 60 percent lower than healthy men who didn't drink. And that was true no matter whether they were drinking beer, wine or liquor. In addition, in a recent British study, they found that moderate alcohol consumption along with a healthy lifestyle added 14 years to life, compared with men and women who did not adopt these behaviors.

Do we need to say how to incorporate more alcohol in your diet? Just don't get carried away doing shots with the guys.

SKIM MILK:

Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological condition that affects 2.5 million people worldwide.

Consuming sources of vitamin D like skim milk, eggs and sardines will help reduce the risk factors associated with MS. According to researchers at Oxford University, northern countries, which have less sunlight, tend to have a higher incidence of MS. The study proves that vitamin D controls the activity of a gene that increases the odds of MS. Vitamin D attacks the fatty sheath that insulates the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, reducing one's risk of MS.

Switch from whole milk to skim milk and save on almost half the calories and eight grams of fat. Add skim milk to your coffee, smoothies and cereal bowls.

ONIONS:

According to researchers at the University of California's School of Public Health, the healthiest people were those who consumed substantial dietary vitamin C on a daily basis.

There has been more research about the immune-boosting effects of vitamin C than perhaps any other nutrient. Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies, as well as levels of interferon - the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses.

What's a burger without sauteed onions?? Grill up some onions for your burgers and steaks and eat your way to a healthier life.

BANANAS:

Until the age of 55, more men suffer from high blood pressure than do women.

Research suggests that foods rich in potassium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The evidence is so convincing that the Food and Drug Administration recently allowed food labels to bear a health claim about the connection between potassium-rich foods and blood pressure.

Not only are bananas an amazing post-workout snack, but they are great to eat any time of day. Slice up some bananas into your morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Blend bananas into a fruit smoothie or as a delicious dessert, or enjoy dark chocolate frozen bananas.

CHOCOLATE:

High cholesterol puts men at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease. For many men, the risk of high cholesterol starts in their 20s and increases with age. High cholesterol tends to run in families, so obviously genes play a role. But a variety of lifestyle factors also affect cholesterol levels a• including diet, activity level, and body weight

According to Dutch researchers, men whom consumed cocoa lowered their risk of dying from heart disease by 50 percent compared to those who did not eat cocoa. Cocoa contains chemicals called flavanols, which have been linked to lower blood pressure and improve function of the cells lining the blood vessels.

How exciting is this? Something that you grew up on can actually help reduce your cholesterol!

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of

www.Skinnyandthecity.com

. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto

www.FFactorDiet.com

.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.

Subscribe to Tanya’s FREE Weekly Newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To learn more about Tanya’s private nutrition counseling services visit www.ffactor.com.