This food is probably not part of your usual diet, but it is the staple food of the longest-living people in the world. In fact, in the places in the world with the highest concentrations of 100-year-olds, people eat at least four times as much of this food as we do.

That’s according to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author who has spent more than a decade studying the places in the world where people live the most.

That superfood is beans, and eating just one cup a day is the best longevity supplement available.

That’s right, eating a cup of beans a day can add another four years to your life, says Buettner.
Beans are the ultimate superfood because they have the perfect mix of protein (21%), complex carbs (77%, the kind of carbs that provide slow and steady energy), and fat (only a few percent).

They are also an excellent source of fiber and provide more nutrients per gram than any other food on the planet.

If you’re ready to add beans to your daily regimen, here are some of Buettner’s tips to get you started:

Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Eat the beans you like and cook tasteful recipes. Easier said than done, so check out this great list of bean dish recipes.

Make sure the only ingredients in the beans you buy are beans, water, spices, and maybe a little salt (avoid beans with added sugar or fat).

It’s best to buy dried beans, but canned low-sodium beans are fine too.

Use mashed beans as a thickener in soups to add protein and a creamy texture.

Add baked beans to salads for extra filling.

Keep your kitchen stocked with other ingredients that are popular in bean recipes, like carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, and pepper.

Instead of meat and potatoes for your meals, think about beans and vegetables. After beans, vegetables are the next most important item to add to your diet.

At the time going out to dinner, the Mexican is a good option. Mexican restaurants always serve black or pinto beans, which can be served with rice, vegetables, guacamole, and hot sauce (just be sure to avoid white flour tortillas—opt for corn tortillas instead).

It sounds too good to be true, but simply adding beans to your daily diet can add years to your life.

Here’s to a long, happy, and healthy life!