Why Dick Van Dyke Eats This Fruit Every Single Day

Actor, singer, and dancer Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining people since the 1950s. If you saw the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt, you are familiar with Van Dyke, who appeared in the small role of Mr. Dawes Jr. But your grandparents know him from the 1964 Disney classic Mary Poppins. where he starred alongside Julie Andrews as Bert the chimney sweep (via The Guardian).

Van Dyke actually has an astonishing 78 acting credits to his name dating back to 1957 (via IMDb). They include classic TV series like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Carol Burnett Show and films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Night at the Museum.

At 95, Van Dyke is still taking on acting jobs. What's his secret? The Daily Meal recently took a look at celebrities over 90 to see if maybe the trick to longevity lies in their diets. No discernible pattern among these stars revealed itself. Former game show host Bob Barker, 97 is a vegetarian while actress Betty White, 99, has confessed to regularly lunching on a hot dog and french fries, as well as in Red Whips and a vodka on the rocks with plenty of lemon before dinner. And she's not the only nonagenarian with a taste for indulgences. In 2015, a nearly-90-year-old Dick Van Dyke admitted to eating a pint of ice cream before bed. Every night. Specifically, Häagen-Dazs vanilla topped with chocolate syrup (via Chicago Tribune). That's right. Every night.

Van Dyke doesn't go a day without his blueberries

So what does 95-year old actor Dick Van Dyke eat to contribute to his vim and vigor? One of his everyday foods is blueberries. In fact, he told the Daily Mail in 2016 that despite a love for fried chicken, he eats the sweet little berries every day for their antioxidants

We suspect his wife, who is 46 years younger, also helps to keep Van Dyke spry. The couple met at the 2006 SAG awards, and the talented dancer has called her "a great cook," according to Closer Weekly. In 2015, Van Dyke wrote a book, Keep Moving and Other Tips and Truths About Aging. In it, he opined, "Good habits matter...Eating light and fresh. Staying away from fast and processed foods." He further added that he indulges in meat "maybe once a week" (via Chicago Tribune).

Van Dyke has also discussed overcoming bad habits. He spent decades drinking alcohol and smoking but after a doctor discovered scars on his lungs related to emphysema, he quit, making his longevity all the more impressive.

Staying active has always been a key to Van Dyke's healthy lifestyle as well. In 1967 Van Dyke was injured on the set of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. An x-ray led to the diagnosis of extensive rheumatoid arthritis, and his doctor delivered the devastating prognosis that the then-42-year old performer would be confined to a wheelchair within five years. However, Van Dyke explained that activity has helped to keep him healthy: "As long as I keep moving and doing my yoga I'm ok."

Are blueberries really the key to health?

In addition to an active lifestyle that includes yoga, the now 95-year-old Dick Van Dyke has previously credited the antioxidants found in blueberries, which he eats every day, with his good health. But do they really deserve their superfood reputation?

According to a recent article in Advances in Nutrition, the abstract for which appears on Pubmed, there is substantial evidence that supports the notion that blueberries are a highly nutritious food. Blueberries are loaded with phytochemicals, including anthocyanin pigments, which give blueberries and other red, blue, and purple plants and foods their color. These anthocyanins might be the healthiest phytochemical element of blueberries. 

This phytochemical has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that positively impact "vascular and glucoregulatory function." The authors state that the regular, moderate consumption of blueberries or anthocyanins from other sources is linked to a reduced risk of death, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, blueberries seem to encourage healthy gastrointestinal microflora. All of these help to protect against the body's aging process. 

According to The Journal of Food Processing and Technology, anthocyanins can lower blood pressure, improve vision, and even "reduce cancer cell proliferation and inhibit tumor formation. Blueberries are not the only food that provides anthocyanins. According to BBC Good Food, the antioxidant is found in high concentrations in blackberries, black currants, cranberries, cherries, red cabbage, and the skin of eggplants. 

It seems Dick Van Dyke is probably right about this delicious fruit.