Good morning. Before we move on from this topic, let’s look beyond Okinawa, where we learned Hara Hachi Bu and see what they are doing and eating in the other countries that are labeled longevity hot-spots. Since everyone loves Italy, we’ll first examine the lifestyles of the inhabitants of the small island of Sardinia, where they boast about the inordinate number of male centenarians.
Tons of sun and a relaxed attitude are amongst the first reasons listed. Fresh anchovies with glazed olive oil provide protein and Omega-3s while grilled eggplant provides brain protecting nasunin. Sun-dried tomatoes are high in lycopene, the prostate cancer inhibitor and pecorino cheese is rich in calcium. Carbs come from gnocchi and carasau bread, both high in fiber made from whole-grain flour. Sardinians also enjoy their red wine which helps to thin the blood and contains rich anti-oxidants that slow down the aging process. The inhabitants live the same lifestyle they did years ago and as sheep-herders walk about 5 miles each day.
The third of the 3 originally found Blue Zones, all researched by Dan Buettner for National Geographic, is right here in the United States of America. In Loma Linda, California, Seventh Day Adventists, whose faith endorses healthy living, lead the nation in the longest life expectancy. Though they refrain from alcohol, so you won’t find red wine on their menus, they are vegetarians who eat a variety of nuts throughout the day, a light and early dinner, and put faith and family at the top of their priority list. They also live each and every day with PURPOSE, often volunteering well into their 100s!
The 4th Blue Zone was found in Nicoya, Costa Rica. There main staples are corn and beans and once again we find dinner to be a light meal. They are noted to have the highest calcium content in their hard water (I WANT SOME!!!) and drink much of it. Though they are in the heart of the rain forest (which probably accounts for the incredibly rich water) they also make a point of getting plenty of sunlight upon their bodies. They are physically hard working, which obviously provides great exercise and also gives them that great sense of purpose.
Though I am not sure it’s officially a Blue Zone, Nova Scotians, live to 100 twice as often as nearby New Englanders. Their diet is heavy on locally caught fish and locally grown vegetables. A main course of 4 ounces of Atlantic salmon, provides protein, Omega-3s and Vitamin D which is important since sun-light is hard to come by there. Heirloom potatoes provide kukoamines, which lower blood pressure, and chanterelle mushrooms are an immunity boosting powerhouse. Spinach salad protects against cancers and desserts such as blueberries offer those anti-aging antioxidants.
My husband teases me about living to 120 and what a curse that might be. I am not sure I want to live to 120, or even 100. What I am sure of is that each moment I spend on this earth I would like to look and more importantly, FEEL, the very, very best I possibly can. My takeaway on all this Blue Zone info is simple. When it comes to food, quality over quantity, hara hachi bu, veggies, beans, whole-grains, fish and a little red wine…daily exercise…and being connected… waking up and finding purpose to each day as well as a daily dose of good old fashioned sunshine.
What could be bad?
***Please forgive any spelling errors. Apparently my computer is not familiar with some of these healthy words!