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Jamie's Oliver's top foods for living to 100

Benji Wilson / 24 August 2015

The campaigning chef met centenarians from Japan to Costa Rica to learn their secrets to healthy eating. Here are some of his favourites.

Jamie Oliver photographed by Paul Stuart
Jamie Oliver photographed by Paul Stuart


‘Have a handful every day, mixed, but not salted. Snacking is not necessarily a bad thing for healthy eating, as long as it’s the right snacks, and eating nuts makes you much less likely to have a heart attack or heart disease.’ 

Ten reasons to eat more nuts


‘Try to upgrade from your white pastas, breads, noodles, rice and so on. There’s a whole array of incredible, delicious wholegrain products out there now. Embracing grains is one really simple, positive change we can all make for a healthier diet. Not only do they taste amazing and have great texture, they’re full of fibre, which can lower cholesterol, helping to prevent heart disease.’ 

Sweet potatoes

‘One of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet [they are high in vitamin A, fibre and potassium]. If you don’t buy them already, buy them every week and swap ordinary potatoes for sweet ones.’ 

Get better meat

‘Upgrade your meat quality to free-range organic and just have half as much: it’ll be cost neutral and you’ll live much more healthily. You should try to eat a vegetarian meal three times a week, or to put it another way, have red meat once a week. I love a steak as much as – if not more than – most, but the reality from the data is that vegetarian and vegan diets are looking good.’ 

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‘Salt’s a real problem. Use herbs, spices and quality vinegars and mustards instead.’ 

Discover the health benefits of spices


‘Red wine primarily – a glass a day. Not only is it quite nice, but anything with high polyphenols [which may help to protect against cancer and heart problems] seems to be quite good for us. Don’t be a lush though.’ 


‘It just seemed to keep coming up among the centenarians I met - a part of living to 100. Everyone here thinks it’s horrible, but the stuff I ate in Okinawa was to die for. And the 65-year-olds there have faces like peachy 30-year-olds. The supermarkets here will get on to it soon. Five years ago, ricotta was filth in all supermarkets; now it’s starting to get decent.’ 

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‘Free-range eggs are incredible. They’re one of the most affordable, high-animal-welfare proteins on the planet, and riddled with a cocktail of stuff that’s just incredibly good for you.’ 

Ten reasons to eat more eggs

Oily Fish, dark leafy greens and berries

‘They’re all fantastic additions for a healthy diet. Greens contain loads of amazing vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fibre and a whole other super-long list of reputed medicinal benefits that will only serve us well.’ 

Ten reasons to eat more fish

Read our interview with Jamie Oliver about his new series Jamie's Super Foods in the September issue of Saga Magazine. Subscribe to Saga Magazine today.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.