Living to 90, 100 and beyond with your brain and body still working relatively well takes more than luck being blessed with the longevity genes. From what science knows about singles and centenarians, you need a full life of physical activity, mentally stimulating social relationships, and healthy food.
But what does the diet of the longest-lived people in the world consist of? For nearly 20 years, National Geographic Writer Dan Buettner and researchers at the National Institute on Aging set out to identify communities around the world where people lived healthier for longer than most, and then looked for common lifestyle habits that kept them active into the 1990s and beyond. Those original centenarian activity hotspots included Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece. The only location in the United States was Loma Linda, California, home to one of the largest congregations of Seventh-day Adventists (Christian denomination) in the world. By analyzing the lifestyles of these people, Buettner wrote bestsellers Blue Zones: 9 lessons for living longer from people who lived longer And the Blue Zones KitchenA recipe book based on the longevity diet.
If you want to live long and healthy, you may want to take some eating cues from elderly people in those areas and others. Research suggests that there is a clear science behind what 100-year-olds have been putting on their dinner plates and their longevity. Here’s how you can eat like a Blue Zoner even if you live in Wisconsin. And after reading this, you’ll want to stock up on the 100 best foods on the planet.
Buettner found that most people in the blue zones eat less than two ounces of meat five times a month. (As a reference point, a double McDonald’s cheeseburger is three ounces of beef.) In a long-running research project by Loma Linda University looking at linking lifestyle, diet, disease, and mortality, researchers have followed 96,000 Sabbathists since 2002. Adventist health studies have found The longest-lived Seventh-day Adventists who were vegetarians lived longer than Adventists who ate meat For up to eight years. Pisco vegetarians, who included a small amount of fish in their diets, were also among those Seventh-day Adventists who lived the longest.
Since studies have demonstrated that protein is an important nutrient for satiety, body weight maintenance and muscle support, if you want to eat less meat, you can still get protein by eating less fish and looking for plant-based sources of protein.
You’ve been hearing this advice from Eatthis.com and others for years, but do you? For more motivation, look at these long-lived Icarians. Although they live on an island in the Aegean Sea, these relaxed Greeks mostly eat plants. Only 6% of their diet is from fish. Nearly 20% of their meals are vegetables and 11% are legumes. Research shows that apart from using tobacco, the foods you eat have the greatest impact on your health and longevity.
Consider the results of the 2019 Global Burden of Disease, Injury and Risk Factors Study, which estimated that poor dietary choices cause 11 million deaths globally each year. Using data from the study, researchers report in MEDICINE PLOS He found that moving away from the standard Western diet by eating less red and processed meat and consuming more legumes, whole grains and nuts could translate to an increased life expectancy of more than a decade for young adults. That study found that even 60-year-olds who switched to a blue zone-style diet could gain eight years of life.
The researchers found that most people in the blue zone areas ate fish, but not much, even three ounces three times a week at most. That’s about as much seafood rich in omega-3 fats as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for Brain and Heart Health advise. But centenarians in the blue zone tend to eat smaller fish such as sardines and anchovies. why? Smaller fish usually have lower levels of mercury than larger, longer-lived fish that have more flesh. Study in the May 2014 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition It was found that the more fish people ate was associated with higher levels of mercury in the bloodstream. Go the blue zones way by cutting back on tuna, salmon, tilapia and more sardines, herring, and mackerel. Eat smaller and smaller fish to live a longer, healthier life.
If you want to start eating like in the blue zones, do this: Eat about one cup of beans every day. This is one common habit in all five areas of the blue zone. Beans and legumes are key ingredients in planning meals for the people of the Blue Zone, so eat chickpeas, red beans, lentils, peas, bean sprouts, edamame, and pintos. All of them are on the American Diabetes Association’s “superfood” list to combat type 2 diabetes because they are high in fiber, protein and beneficial nutrients.
Make it a handful of nuts every day. This is what the residents of the Blue Zone do. Those from Ikaria and Sardinia snack on almonds. Centenarians in Nicoya prefer pistachios. Adventists in Loma Linda eat a variety of nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts). The popular Adventist Health Study 2 reports that those who eat nuts tend to live an average of two to three years longer than Seventh-day Adventists who don’t eat nuts.
Nuts are high in fat, but the fats in them are the mono and polyunsaturated varieties that lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or so-called “bad” cholesterol levels. A meta-analysis using data from the Nurses’ Health Study found that replacing an ounce of nuts for the equivalent calories in carbohydrates was associated with a 30% reduction in coronary heart disease and conversion of saturated fats to nut fats was associated with a 45% reduction. in danger.
Olive oil is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in many Blue Zone meals. Sprinkle it on vegetables, salads, and even on bread, but make sure the bread is wholegrain. In blue areas, people avoid commercially produced bread made with bleached white flour. This white bread is devoid of fiber and tends to raise blood sugar quickly, which leads to higher insulin levels. Blue Zone bread is usually fiber-rich whole grain or sourdough; Studies show that both types support a healthy microbiome.
According to Buettner’s analysis, people in blue zones consume about one-fifth of the amount of added sugars that North Americans consume. That’s because these people tend not to drink soda or eat sweetened yogurt and other foods that contain added sugars. As Buettner writes, they “eat sugar on purpose, not by habit or accident.” In other words, they save eating sweets only for special occasions. As for drinks, you can follow suit by drinking mostly water, as the Adventist does.
All Sardinians, Icarians, and Nicoyans drink coffee, which may offer protection against heart attacks, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. While all the residents of the Blue Zones drink tea, Okinawans prefer green tea that is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that are believed to improve brain health by fighting oxidative stress. One study in the journal psychopharmacology It was suggested that drinking green tea regularly may improve memory.
I feel hungry? Try these recipes for a longer life.
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