Super Foods

Mushrooms • Vegetables • Beans • Fruit

Cremini Mushrooms

We have been buying a lot of cremini mushrooms lately. They’re in the bin next to the more familiar little white button mushrooms, and they’re slightly more expensive but oh so worth it. We got curious about this new favorite mushroom and decided to look up a few mushroom facts. Here’s what we discovered.

• Did you know that most of the table mushrooms we eat are all of the same variety? Its name is Agaricus bisporus, according to Wikipedia, and it includes portobello, cremini, and white button mushrooms.

• The difference between these popular varieties of mushrooms is just age. The white button mushrooms, those very familiar kitchen staples, are simply the youngest variety. They have been cultivated, too, for that white color and soft texture. In the wild, these mushrooms are usually browner.

• The portobello is the most mature mushroom here; it’s just an overgrown white mushroom! They are left to grow for longer until they have spread out into that delicious meaty cap.

• The cremini mushroom, then, is just in between these two varieties. It’s a moderately mature version of the white button mushroom, which is why it has a similar flavor. It’s younger than the portobello, but still related, which is why these are sometimes sold as “baby bella” or “baby portobello” mushrooms.

We enjoy the cremini mushrooms a lot; their slightly more mature state means that they have a browner color, firmer texture, and better flavor than the younger white mushrooms. We use them frequently in stews and soups since we find that they hold up better in liquid.

Did you know that mushrooms, especially the crimini mushrooms, also help in naturally boosting NAD levels

So, enjoy eating the mushrooms and continue to look and younger and more youthful! 

The levels of NAD in our body determine the speed of the aging process. In younger cells and tissues, the levels of NAD are higher.

Nutrition Makes Anti-Aging Possible: Secrets of Your Telomeres

 Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

The 21st Century is ushering in a new era of nutritional science, demonstrating the astonishing power of nutrition to benefit human health. In this light, the search for the Fountain of Youth is no longer a fairy tale. Scientific findings now suggest that nutrition may be able to turn back the clock - at least a little bit. And the science clearly shows that nutrition can slow the rate of biological aging. A number of health concepts contribute to this view. 

In this article, I examine the emerging body of nutritional science in the context of improving your telomeres, a key approach to true anti-aging. A telomere is a repeating sequence of DNA at the end of a chromosome. Each time a cell replicates and divides, the telomere loses some of its length. Eventually the telomere runs out, and the cell can no longer divide and rejuvenate, triggering a poor state of cell health that contributes to disease risk and eventual cell death. 

In 1962, Leonard Hayflick revolutionized cell biology when he developed a theory relevant to telomeres known as the Hayflick Limit, which places the maximum potential lifespan of humans at 120, the time at which too many cells can no longer replicate and divide to keep things going. Fifty years later, new gene science emerged, opening the door to maximizing our genetic potential. Various stressors accelerate the rate at which telomeres shorten, in turn speeding up the rate of biological aging. 

Another important aspect of this topic is telomere quality, as different from telomere length. 

In some ways, telomeres are the weak link in DNA. They are readily damaged and must be repaired, yet they lack the repair efficiency of other DNA. This results in an accumulation of partially damaged and poorly functioning telomeres of lower quality, regardless of length. One way to view our potential to influence the aging process is simply to slow down the rate. In the context of telomeres, this means utilizing strategies to slow down the rate at which they shorten, while helping to protect and repair them to maintain their quality. An emerging body of nutritional science says that this is now possible.

Another intriguing possibility is that we may be able to lengthen telomeres while maintaining their quality, actually turning back the biological clock. This can be done by improving the activity of the telomerase enzyme which can add length back to telomeres, while simultaneously protecting the longer telomeres to ensure quality. 

The goal of this article is to give you a better working understanding of the situation, as well as practical steps you can take to improve and maintain the health of your very important telomeres. 

Basic Nourishment for Your Telomeres

Genetic destiny is not written in stone. Genes are somewhat pliable and nutrition excels at offsetting gene weaknesses. Many gene systems are set up in the womb, in the first few weeks of life, and further molded into shape in your early years. Thereafter, they are influenced by a variety of factors, especially nutrition. These are called epigenetic settings, and they determine how genes manifest their functions. 

For example, if we say that a thermostat represents your core genetic makeup, then the temperature the thermostat is set to and the program that will raise and lower the temperature are epigenetic factors. Telomere length is epigenetically regulated, meaning it is influenced by nutritional status. Malnourished mothers give their children a bad dealing of the telomere deck, leading to future increased rates of heart disease (atherosclerotic arteries have higher numbers of short telomeres). 

Conversely, well-nourished mothers help establish optimal telomere length and quality in their children. The healthy function of telomeres requires adequate methylation. Methylation is the chemical process of donating a methyl group (one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms —CH3) to the genetic material of the telomere, epigenetically marking the telomeres for proper function. 

The important point to understand is that an adequate supply of methyl donors is needed for telomeres to work properly, just like a car needs gasoline. The primary methyl donor for this purpose is called SAMe, which uses nutrients like methionine, MSM sulfur, choline, and trimethylglycine as building blocks. Forming SAMe from these building blocks requires vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6. Folic acid and B12 play multiple roles in supporting telomere genomic stability. 

The most important basic supplement for telomere support is a good quality multiple vitamins, along with adequate dietary protein, especially sulfur-rich proteins. Examples include whey protein, eggs, cottage cheese, dairy, red meat, chicken, legumes, duck, nuts, and seeds. Eggs contain the highest source of choline in the diet, with others such as red meat, chicken, dairy, nuts, and seeds containing moderate amounts. Your brain also requires a large supply of methyl donors to maintain a good mood. 

Chronic stress typically indicates a lack of methyl donors, meaning telomeres are undernourished and prone to accelerated aging. This is a major reason why stress ages people. This simple fact can help you determine your personal “minimum daily requirement” for methyl donors. You may want to increase your B vitamin intake. Either take more of your multivitamin or take an extra B-complex, along with adequate protein and possible other cofactors such as MSM sulfur, choline, and trimethylglycine, to the point that you feel a significant improvement in energy and mood. You can assume that if you have sufficient methyl donors for healthy brain function, you will most likely have adequately nourished telomeres. 

A study with 586 women found that those who took multiple vitamins regularly had five percent longer telomeres compared to those who did not. Men with the highest levels of folic acid had longer telomeres than men with low folic acid. Another study with men and women found low folate was related to shorter telomeres. 

It is now quite clear that high homocysteine has a major impact on shortening telomeres involved with the hardening of the arteries whereas folic acid, the most important single nutrient for lowering high homocysteine, prevents telomere shortening and improves the quality of longer telomeres. 

The more demands you are under and/or the worse you feel, emotionally or mentally, the more you need to focus on getting adequate support of basic nutrients, which will not only help your nerves and brain but also your telomeres. Conversely, if you feel pretty good most of the time, with a good energy level and mostly positive mood, and you have basic B vitamins and adequate dietary protein, then you are doing a good job of covering your telomeres’ basic nutrient needs. 

Minerals & Antioxidants Help Genomic Stability and Telomeres

Nutrition excels at helping offset the wear and tear that is part of daily life. Many nutrients help protect and enhance our DNA's repair capacity, including that of telomeres. A lack of antioxidants leads to increased free radical damage and more risk for damage to telomeres. For example, patients with Parkinson’s have shorter telomeres than expected for “normal aging” in direct relation to the amount of free radical damage associated with their condition. Women with lower dietary intake of antioxidants have shorter telomeres and an increased risk for breast cancer. Magnesium is necessary for many enzymes involved with DNA replication and repair. 

One animal study shows that magnesium deficiency is associated with shorter telomeres. A human cell study shows that magnesium deprivation causes rapid loss of telomeres and inhibits cell replication. Magnesium deficiency is common in the United States and likely contributes to rapid aging. Ensuring magnesium adequacy supports many aspects of health, including the length of telomeres. 

Total Magnesium intake should be between 400 mg – 800 mg per day, with higher levels for increased stress. 

Zinc is intimately involved with binding signals to DNA, as well as with DNA repair. Lack of zinc causes an excessive amount of DNA strand breakage. A lack of zinc in elderly people is associated with excessive numbers of short telomeres. The minimal amount of zinc you want is 15 mg per day, ranging up to 50 mg for women or 75 mg for men. 

A novel antioxidant that contains zinc is carnosine, which has been shown to slow the rate of telomere depletion in human fibroblast cells, while extending their longevity. Carnosine is also a major brain antioxidant, making it a great stress management nutrient. Numerous antioxidants are likely to help protect and repair your DNA. 

Vitamin C has been shown to slow the loss of telomeres in human vascular endothelial cells. Impressively, the special form of vitamin E known as tocotrienols has been shown in human fibroblast cells to actually restore the length of telomeres while reducing DNA damage. Vitamin C has also shown the ability to boost the activity of the telomerase enzyme so as to lengthen telomeres.

These studies show that it is possible for nutrients to reverse the shortening of telomeres, a potential reversal of aging. DNA is under constant free radical attack. In healthy individuals, there is an adequate antioxidant defense system fueled by nutrition. These antioxidants help reduce damage and preserve DNA function. In some cases they help repair DNA. 

As you age, you start to accumulate damaged molecules that trigger more frequent free radical attacks, as well as interfere with DNA recovery and telomere function. You don’t want a snowballing effect that leads to poor health and is accompanied by excessive telomere loss. For example, simply being overweight causes significant free radical damage not seen in normal weight people. Antioxidant nutrients are highly synergistic and mutually beneficial to each other and thus to your body. 

You want a comprehensive array of antioxidant nutrients as a foundation. This baseline of support needs to be higher in people with chronic health problems or under high demands (stress load, physically challenging day, lots of exercise, etc.). In addition to an antioxidant foundation, specific antioxidant nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, carnosine, and especially tocotrienol E are likely to directly benefit your telomeres. 

Inflammation Drives Telomere Loss

At this time in our scientific understanding of telomeres, the most realistic expectation is to be able to slow the rate of telomere loss. Hopefully, this will enable you to fulfill your Hayflick obligation of 120 years of healthy life. It means you must effectively manage wear and tear. High stress and infection are two examples of wear and tear that shorten telomeres. Both situations are highly inflammatory, causing significant cell damage. 

As inflammation rises, so does free radical damage. For example, patients with periodontal inflammation, which is typically accompanied by low-grade mouth infections, have higher levels of inflammatory markers, higher amounts of free radical damage, and shorter telomeres. Under conditions of higher inflammatory stress, cells increase their rate of replication and division to restore themselves. This need to recover from cellular damage accelerates telomere loss due to significantly increased cell turnover. 

Additionally, free radicals generated during inflammation also damage existing telomeres. Thus, we want to do everything we can to reduce inflammation (especially traumatic injury, physical or emotional) and prevent infectious illness. In addition to the more obvious acute and intense issues, we also need to manage low-grade, chronic issues such as infections in our sinuses, mouth, and digestive tract. It is simply not realistic or even desirable to avoid all stress or inflammation.

However, it is important to manage life effectively to prevent premature shortening of our telomeres. In the unfortunate event of trauma or a nasty infection, it is a good idea to boost telomere support nutrition until there is a full recovery. The most basic supplements to address the inflammatory aspect are vitamin D and DHA (the omega-3 fatty acid). Vitamin D determines how much inflammatory heat the immune system generates. With a lack of vitamin D, it is easy to overheat, generate a ton of free radicals, and damage your telomeres. 

Your ability to tolerate stress successfully is based in no small part on your vitamin D status, including your ability to fight infection. Researchers have now demonstrated in 2,100 female twins, ages 19-79, that the highest levels of vitamin D were associated with the longest telomeres and the lowest vitamin D levels were associated with the shortest telomeres, a difference equating to five years of lifespan potential. Another study shows that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day in overweight adults boosts the activity of their telomerase enzyme, helping to rejuvenate telomere length despite metabolic stress. 

Inflammation sets off a chain reaction of free radical damage, a problem that can magnify if inflammation remains high. Quenching inflammation naturally with nutrition is key to preserving telomeres. With our understanding of DHA and EPA - that they actually produce compounds that protect against as well as resolve inflammation- these omega-3 essential fatty acids play an important role in preserving telomeres. In a group of 608 cardiovascular patients followed over a five-year period, those with the highest intake of DHA/EPA had the longest telomeres, and those with the lowest levels had the shortest telomeres. Another study has shown that boosting DHA levels in patients with mild cognitive impairment reduced the rate of telomere shortening. 

There is a very long list of dietary supplements that help calm the core inflammatory gene signal known as NF-kappaB. NF-kappaB-quenching nutrients are also found in the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains in your diet. In theory, the sum total of your NF-kappaB support nutrients versus lifestyle demands, plus daily wear and tear should give you some idea if inflammation is taking too much of a toll. If you feel a poor trend in symptoms, you can assume your telomeres are also struggling. 

Conversely, if your body feels fit, energetic, and free of aches and pains, and you recover well with a good night’s sleep, you are in relatively good anti-inflammatory shape. There are some specific studies on anti-inflammatory nutrients known to calm down NF-kappaB, which also help preserve telomeres. 

Nutrients such as quercetin, green tea catechins, grape seed extract, curcumin, and resveratrol all show specific ability to help preserve telomeres, with grape seed extract and curcumin showing the ability to generate longer telomeres. Certainly, other NF-kappaB-quenching nutrients would likely show benefits; there just aren't currently any specific studies in this regard. 

Animal data indicates that eating less food preserves telomeres. Eating less activates the sirtuin 1 (sirt1) gene, which helps the body's systems maintain themselves during times of food scarcity -- a feature very important for the survival of the human race. Resveratrol also activates sirt1, a feature likely to confer benefits to telomeres, especially if you take resveratrol and avoid overeating as a lifestyle pattern. 


The bottom line is that you need a lifestyle and nutrition intake that can offset wear and tear and prevent free radical damage. Nutritional anti-inflammation strategies are an important part of your telomere preservation toolbox. The healthier you are, the less you need to do. The worse your health, the more you need to make changes. Even if you are healthy, general aging takes its toll on your telomeres, and you want to do everything you can to maintain your fitness and health while preserving them. 

This means that more nutritional support is needed as you grow older, simply as an attempt to minimize the common wear and tear of aging. You should have a baseline nutritional support program that is relevant to your current health trends and issues. Your lifestyle should be fairly balanced, avoiding known behaviors and substances that cause wear and tear and speed telomere loss. 

As telomeres shorten and/or become functionally impaired, your body struggles to keep up. In this situation, damaged molecules accumulate in your body, hampering repair processes and accelerating aging. This sets the stage for the early onset of any number of health issues, based on whatever your weak spots may be.

Skin health is another predictor of telomere status, reflecting biological age. Simply hold your forearm next to a child's forearm and closely compare the differences in skin (don’t do this for too long or you will start feeling old). Youth and body growth are reflective of the free-spending, happy-go-lucky days of your telomeres. Your skin looks fresh and new. With age, cell division starts to slow down to preserve telomeres. The “reckless” spending of youth is replaced by more prudent saving for the future. Better quality skin as you age is directly related to the health of your telomeres. 

Preserving your telomeres is an exceptionally important principle of health. Those who can stay on top of the telomere game will be rewarded with a longer lifespan and better quality of health as they age. A new era of anti-aging nutritional science is upon us. It is possible to make changes that point you in the right direction at any age. It’s never too young to start or too old to benefit.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. They contain nutrients that can play an important role in a healthful diet.

The cruciferous family includes bok choy, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga, and turnips. Cruciferous vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories.

Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. They contain nutrients that can play an important role in a healthful diet.

The cruciferous family includes bok choy, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga, and turnips. Cruciferous vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories.

Cruciferous Vegetables & Cancer Prevention

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fiber source.  

In addition, cruciferous vegetables contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables.

During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates (1). Indole-3-carbinol (an indole) and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) have been most frequently examined for their anticancer effects.

Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach. Studies in animals and experiments with cells grown in the laboratory have identified several potential ways in which these compounds may help prevent cancer:

Studies in humans, however, have shown mixed results.

Is there evidence that cruciferous vegetables can help reduce cancer risk in people?

Researchers have investigated possible associations between intake of cruciferous vegetables and the risk of cancer. The evidence has been reviewed by various experts. Key studies regarding four common forms of cancer are described briefly below.

A few studies have shown that the bioactive components of cruciferous vegetables can have beneficial effects on biomarkers of cancer-related processes in people. For example, one study found that indole-3-carbinol was more effective than placebo in reducing the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix.

In addition, several case-control studies have shown that specific forms of the gene that encodes glutathione S-transferase, which is the enzyme that metabolizes and helps eliminate isothiocyanates from the body, may influence the association between cruciferous vegetable intake and human lung and colorectal cancer risk.

Are cruciferous vegetables part of a healthy diet?

The federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend consuming a variety of vegetables each day. Different vegetables are rich in different nutrients. 

Vegetables are categorized into five subgroups: dark green, red, and orange, beans and peas (legumes), starchy, and other vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables fall into the “dark-green vegetables” category and the “other vegetables” category. More information about vegetables and diet, including how much of these foods should be eaten daily or weekly, is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture website Choose My Plate. 

Higher consumption of vegetables in general may protect against some diseases, including some types of cancer. However, when researchers try to distinguish cruciferous vegetables from other foods in the diet, it can be challenging to get clear results because study participants may have trouble remembering precisely what they ate. Also, people who eat cruciferous vegetables may be more likely than people who don’t have other healthy behaviors that reduce disease risk. It is also possible that some people, because of their genetic background, metabolize dietary isothiocyanates differently. However, research has not yet revealed a specific group of people who, because of their genetics, benefit more than other people from eating cruciferous vegetables.

Vegetables are good for you, and this is well supported by many studies (except for those with certain allergies/intolerances and health conditions). However, much like all things, not everything is created equally, vegetables are no exception to this, and some are better than others. We’ve collected a short list of some of the vegetables that are the most nutritious to pile on your plate. 

The best approach for making all of these delicious is by steaming them and topping with real butter or baked. 


Spinach is high in iron, potassium, magnesium, and carotenoids, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K; it contains many vitamins and minerals essential to blood clotting, bone metabolism, and a healthy immune system to go along with anti-aging antioxidants to help fight inflammation. Spinach is also relatively tasteless which makes it easy to add to soups, salads, and smoothies, plus it is low in calories at about 6 calories per cup. 


Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie that is high in vitamins C and K, calcium, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It also contains phytonutrients that have immune-enhancing, anti-aging, and cancer-fighting properties. Cauliflower can be consumed raw or cooked making it a good choice to add to salads, rice, or just a snack.


Asparagus may be one of the healthiest veggies, aside from being low in calories at about 4 calories per stalk it is rich in fiber, potassium, folic acid, amino acid asparagine, as well as vitamins A, B6, and K. Asparagus has a natural diuretic effect to help rid the body of excess water, bloat, and sodium. 


Carrots are great for your eyes thanks to their vitamin A and carotenoid content. Along with making a great crunchy snack, they are full of vitamins B, C, and K, as well as potassium, and insoluble fiber that help protect against cancer. 


Broccoli is another cruciferous veggie that is high in vitamins and nutrients that aid in heart health, fighting cancer, and rebalancing blood sugar. Broccoli is also low in calories and high in fiber content so it will help to keep you feeling satisfied. Broccoli also contains about 2.6 grams of protein per 100-gram serving according to the USDA. 


Microgreens are not just a garnish as they contain 4-40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully grown counterparts as well as a larger variety of polyphenols that help to prevent the buildup of free radicals and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease. 

Sweet Potatos

Sweet potatoes may be the candy of veggies, as a plus they are full of vital nutrients, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, as well as vitamins B6 and C. Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and can help maintain normal blood sugar levels. 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are great for fighting inflammation and aiding in methylation, which is the body’s biochemical pathway that down-regulates inflammation and keeps the detox pathways functioning properly. Brussels sprouts also help to boost heart health, rebalance blood sugar, and ward off cancer. 

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions are packed full of anti-aging antioxidants and sulfur compounds that can help reduce the risk of ovarian, mouth, and colon cancers. One study found the combination reduced the risk of breast cancer, and other studies suggest they can help to relieve gut issues as they promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. 


Kale may have a reason for being trendy as it contains glucosinolates that are broken down into biologically active compounds during digestion that can help protect cells from DNA damage, help inactivate carcinogens, reduce inflammation, and stimulate cell death to reduce the risk of cancer. Kale is high in calcium, copper, and potassium, as well as vitamins B and K making it great for the brain, heart, and bone health. 

Mustard Greens, Turnips, and Collards

Mustard greens, turnips, and collards are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate among others. They also contain glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties which can help to inactivate carcinogens and prevent tumor formation and metastasis. 

Seaweed / Sea Vegetables

Seaweed/ Sea vegetables aren’t very popular but contain a variety of beneficial minerals and health-boosting trace elements; they are also abundant in vitamins B, C, and K along with being one of the most effective ways to get iodine needed for thyroid hormone production. Nori, dulse, kombu, kelp, and Irish moss are also anti-inflammatory and help to balance blood sugar levels.


Beats make an excellent source of fiber at 3.5 grams per cup which will help to slow digestion and keep you feeling full for longer while helping to prevent blood sugar spikes. The fiber will also help to lower LDL cholesterol by preventing it from being absorbed in the digestive tract. Beats are rich in folate which is essential for fetal development, and they have been found to help lower blood pressure. 

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers can help you to eat the rainbow as they come in a variety of colors which are low in calories while being rich in anti-aging antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C. Green bell peppers also contain lutein that helps to protect vision. These colorful veggies are great raw or cooked making them great food choices for snacks. 

Green Peas

Green peas contain a few more carbs than other non-starchy vegetables but they are still good for you. They are full of vitamins A, C, and K as well as fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. Green peas also contain about 6 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

The expression “Eat the Rainbow” is a good rule of thumb for consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables good foodstuff, which has been shown time and time again to be the easiest way to improve overall well-being, maintain and assist in weight management, and to help ward off conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancer. Food can be used as medicine, what a wonderful thing, provided it is healthy food.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Well100. 

Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.



They're a vegetable and protein. "Technically, legumes are a vegetable, but more of a starchy vegetable, like a baked potato," says Libby Mills, R.D.N., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Still, beans are a top source of plant protein, with about 15 grams per cup. Getting protein from plants is good for your health.

For instance, a study of 785 older adults from four countries found that every 20-gram increase in legume intake (about an ounce) was linked to a reduced risk of dying (up to 8 percent) from any cause over the seven-year study period. Beans also contain resistant starch, a type of fiber that helps increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut and may help control inflammation, reduce colon cancer risk, and improve satiety.

You need a variety of them. Great Northern and navy beans have more calcium; cranberry beans score high in folate; and adzukis, garbanzos, and limas are particularly high in iron. Navy beans are packed with resistant starch, adzukis are high in potassium, and red and black varieties are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.

They help with weight loss. A review of 21 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate about 2.5 to 9 ounces of beans per day lost three-quarters of a pound more over six weeks than those who didn't eat beans. Researchers think this may be because beans increase the sense of fullness and modulate blood sugar levels.

They help cut cholesterol. Beans are high in soluble fiber; 5 to 10 grams of it per day can reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol by up to 5 percent, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Cooked beans contain 0.6 to 2.4 grams of soluble fiber per half-cup.

Canned beans are good, too. Dried beans require soaking before cooking and about an hour on the stove. Most of the prep is hands-off, but there's no doubt that canned beans are simply more convenient. And they supply the same nutrients—but often contain added salt. So opt for lower-sodium varieties, or drain and rinse canned beans before you use them to reduce sodium by 25 to 40 percent.

 You can solve the gas problem. The flatulence factor is caused by the fiber in beans fermenting in the large intestine. One study found that half the people who ate a half-cup of beans daily had gas during the first week, but symptoms decreased after that. "Gradually increasing your fiber intake will help your gut adjust," says Mills. "Drinking plenty of water also helps fiber move through your system faster." Other tips include soaking beans before cooking and using products such as Beano, which contain gas-busting enzymes.


Bananas and Longevity

Look at easy foods and habits that are already in your shopping cart. Healthy dietary and lifestyle staples that you can adopt consistently are your best way to support well-being now and for years to come.


Bananas are well-known as a great source of potassium, a mineral that’s crucial to prioritize as the years pass by. “Eating more potassium is associated with higher bone mineral density, which declines as we age,” Tamburello explains. (Tip: To proactively minimize bone loss, be sure to include calcium and vitamin D in your daily diet, as well.) Bone health benefits aside, she adds that potassium promotes healthy kidney function, supports muscle recovery, and may help lower blood pressure levels.


As a friendly reminder, antioxidants stave off oxidative stress—the latter of which not only accelerates aging but is also associated with a greater risk of disease and mortality from all causes. In turn, higher intakes of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies can effectively promote your healthspan (aka a longer and healthier life). “Bananas are packed with flavonoids, a specific type of antioxidant, that offers anti-inflammatory benefits to promote healthy aging,” Tamburello explains. “Preventing chronic inflammation is important because it’s associated with certain diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.”

Soluble fiber

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t get enough of the all-important nutrient of fiber. But the good news is that bananas—a large one of which packs 3.5 grams of total dietary fiber—can make a dent in the recommended 21 to 38-gram daily quota. “Soluble fiber found in bananas promotes heart health by helping to lower cholesterol levels,” Tamburello shares. “This type of fiber also helps balance blood sugar and can contribute to managing or preventing type 2 diabetes risk.” Last but not least, fiber is famed for its ability to promote digestive regularity and nourish the gut.

Resistant starch

To amplify the gut-friendly benefits of bananas, you may want to keep an eye out for unripe green bananas, as they provide a special type of fiber called resistant starch. “Resistant starch acts as a prebiotic and feeds healthy gut bacteria to promote a balanced microbiome,” says Tamburello. ICYMI, thriving gut health supports a healthy body and mind in countless ways. “Emerging research has shown that a healthy gut can promote better health throughout the whole body including heart health, immunity, and even mental health,” the dietitian continues. “Like soluble fiber, resistant starch also promotes healthy blood sugar levels.”

Vitamin C

Move over oranges: Bananas are also a valid source of vitamin C, a crucial vitamin and antioxidant that can bolster immune function day in and day out. “Bananas offer a significant amount of vitamin C (12 percent daily value), [which] supports a strong immune system and wound healing,” Tamburello shares. In addition, she says that some micronutrients (C among them) can potentially help slow down age-related macular degeneration, though research is still ongoing.