The secret to a long life is not stashed away and hidden in a drug or a scientific experiment; it's all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle from the inside out.

Everyone claims to have a secret to extending your lifespan, sometimes an unlikely one — a daily cup of coffee, some cocktails, or even bacon — but the best way to live a long, healthy life, most authorities agree, is by consuming lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

It may not seem like it, but your food choices now will have tangible effects on your future, both in how long you live and how healthy you are along the way.

People all over the world live long lives, and while some of this can be attributed to fantastic genes, the common thread in this phenomenon is healthy eating, meaning a strong focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish. There are no shortcuts or tricks to a long life; you just have to be willing to practice good eating now to set yourself up for success in the future.

While fad diets and extreme dieting may help you lose weight in the short term, the most dieters eventually gain back the weight and these diets may actually shorten your life span. The average American tries out about a few fad diets a year and 25 percent give up within two weeks. Those who keep going end up quitting their diet and gaining back weight after five years. Eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and limited amounts of meat will help you live a longer life.

The key to longevity is moderation. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, and fiber (whole grains, legumes, and leafy greens), and cut down on the meat. This style of healthy living may help you lose weight, which can also add a few years to your life.

Take care of yourself now and see the benefits in years to come.

1. Asparagus


Asparagus (iStock)

Asparagus is a tasty and useful vegetable. High in potassium and vitamin B12, asparagus aids in important cell repair throughout your body.

2. Beans

three kinds of kidney beans

Background of three kinds of kidney beans (iStock)

Beans and legumes are a healthy non-meat protein to consume; they're low in fat and high in fiber, which can promote heart health. An Australian study found that people who regularly eat beans live longer.

3. Berries



Berries are high in antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent diseases like cancer.

4. Dark Chocolate



Dark chocolate is a healthy treat that you can feel good about indulging in. Just a few bites of dark chocolate (over 60-percent cocoa) a day may reduce your risk of heart attacks.

5. Garlic



Garlic is more than just a pungent flavoring agent; it contains allicin, which helps promote heart health.

6. Green Tea



Green tea's antioxidants are thought to help prevent certain types of cancer and may even reduce and repair skin damage from ultraviolet light.

Check out more longevity foods.

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