Food and Nutrition

5 Items You Should Always Have in Your Freezer, According to a Longevity Expert

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Stocksy/Juan Moyano
The Blue Zones—which includes places like Ikaria, Greece and Okinawa, Japan—are home to some of the world’s oldest and healthiest people. While a lot of factors play into how often they’re celebrating folks’ 100th birthdays—like having a larger purpose, natural movement, and stress management—the food they put on their plate is a biggie.

You might think a typical Blue Zones-approved grocery list is loaded with hard-to-find exotic foods, but Dan Buettner, longevity expert and author of The Blue Zones Kitchen, has made it clear that there’s only simple, wholesome, and nutritious options you can find at any store. Better yet, you don’t even need to load your refrigerator with fresh fruit and veggies to eat like those living in centenarian hotspots. You can utilize your freezer to reap the same benefits—and save some money in the process.

The next time you schedule your grocery pick-up, make sure to bring these freezer foods for longevity home with you.

5 freezer foods for longevity

1. Fruit

While fresh fruit can go bad in a matter of days, frozen fruit can last forever. The Blue Zones recommends stocking up on frozen fruit and adding it to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal—really, whatever you want. “In addition to fiber, these gems contain phytonutrients, which play a key role in gut and immune health,” the site reads.

Stock up on: Berries, pineapple, mangoes, peaches, and other fruits you love

2. Vegetables

It’s no surprise frozen veggies are on this list. Because they’re frozen at the peak of freshness, Blue Zones says they’ll not only last a long time, but also provide the same nutritional benefits as the fresh kind. Plus, you can make frozen veggies taste just as great with the right cooking method. One of the easiest ways to prepare frozen veggies of any kind is to roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and herbs.

Stock up on: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, riced cauliflower, butternut squash, asparagus, green beans, and any other veggies you love

3. Bread

Yep, bread is a freezer staple, too. Blue Zones recommends baking up a loaf of gut-friendly sourdough bread. Or, simply grab a loaf of 100 percent whole grain bread from the grocery store. Whenever you’re ready for a new loaf, let it thaw in the fridge. Then enjoy some avocado toast or a veggie-packed sandwich.

Stock up on: Sourdough bread or 100 percent whole grain bread

4. Nuts

The Blue Zones recommends storing nuts in your freezer for later use, too. In fact, nuts last longer in the freezer or refrigerator than they do in the pantry: “The biggest reason to store dry goods in the refrigerator is to prevent the oils in nuts from turning rancid,” says Emily Brekke, executive chef at Mint Kitchen. Eat two handfuls of nuts every day, which experts say can help decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other health issues.

Stock up on: Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews

5. Whole grains

Buettner is a big fan of 100 percent whole grains, which store easily in your freezer after they’re cooked. Make preparing meals a breeze by preparing single-serve options of your favorite whole grains (he loves fiber-packed steel cut oats and brown rice), then freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Instead of making a new batch of rice for every meal, you can warm up a pre-made batch in minutes.

Stock up on: Steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, farro, millet, and barley

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Experts Referenced

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