Food & Nutrition

14 Foods 100-Year-Olds Really Eat to Live Longer

Here’s what these centenarians eat to feel younger than their years.

They prefer homemade food to takeout

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Annie Davis, 107, likes stovetop oatmeal, grits, and rice over instant ones, and she’d rather have a home-cooked meal or eat at a sit-down restaurant than get takeout or fast food. “She’ll go to McDonald’s and say ‘this is not real meat,’” says her granddaughter Emma Powell. “She’ll eat it if you make it.” Processed food tends to be higher in sodium. With too much salt in your body, your system could hold onto too much water, putting a burden on your heart and raising your blood pressure. But making those foods from scratch, using fresh meat without all the preservatives and fillers, could help you cut down.

They avoid deli meat

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When making her daily sandwich for lunch, Fanny (Suze) Brown, 103, stays away from prepackaged deli meat. “Occasionally I order from a deli, but I order a chicken salad sandwich on raisin bread,” she says. At home, she enjoys peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, or leftover chicken or turkey from dinner on her sandwich. The occasional ham sammy is fine, but eating one every day could pose a risk. Not only is deli meat surprisingly high in sodium, but the World Health Organization lists some deli meats as carcinogens. A review of more than 800 studies found that eating 50 grams of processed meat—the equivalent of about two slices of deli meat—can increase the risk of colon cancer by 18 percent. On the other hand, eating these foods may decrease your cancer risk.

They get plenty of fiber

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To keep her bowel healthy, Eleanor Eder, 101, says she eats fiber-rich green veggies and bran cereal. “I make sure I get spinach, broccoli, and all kinds of vegetables,” she says. Fiber prevents constipation by bulking up your stool and making it easier to pass. Plus, you’ll get its heart-healthy benefits of reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

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