Long life expectancy is found in certain parts of the world, according to the National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author, and a big part of these people’s secret is the food they eat.
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Writing for CNN Dan said: “Want to live a long, healthy life? So do I. That’s why for the past 15 years I’ve explored places around the world where people have done exactly that — places I dubbed ‘blue zones’.”
He added: “On the Italian island of Sardinia, I’ve broken bread in mountain villages that boast some of the highest concentrations of male centenarians on the globe.
“On the Japanese islands of Okinawa, I’ve sat down for tea with those who rank among the world’s longest living women.
“On the Greek island of Ikaria, where it’s said people simply ‘forget to die’, I’ve tucked into a hearty bowl of minestrone with friends who not only live long, healthy lives but also stay sharp to the very end and suffer the world’s lowest rates of dementia.
“On Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, I’ve started the day with tortillas, beans and pico de gallo among country folk who are more likely to reach a healthy 90 years old than anyone else on the planet.
“And in and around Loma Linda, California, I’ve been invited to dinner with members of a thriving Seventh-day Adventist community whose vegetarian diet has helped them live up to a decade longer than other Americans.”
Areas with long life expectancy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Ikaria, Greece
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Loma Linda, California
Dan said the world’s super-ages have nourished their bodies with whole, plant-based foods, such as leafy vegetables, tubers, nuts, beans and whole grains, and that they ate meat fewer than five times monthly.
Medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow go into more detail in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer’ about why these diets hold life-boosting properties.
many of the countries that border the Mediterranean boast long life expectancies.
The duo write: “Sardinia and the Greek island of Ikaria are known for exceptional longevity, with a high proportion of adults living to 90 or more.
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“Here, traditional diets feature lots of ‘good’ fats, fish, wholegrain, pulses, and fresh fruit and veg.”
Japanese people are the longest-living in the world, according to Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow, and the island of Okinawa, especially, is famous for the wealth of centenarians.
They write: “Eating habits across Japan remain unique when comported with many other parts of the world and are thought to make a major contribution to the nation’s longevity.”
In Japan they eat rice and noodles, leafy green root vegetables, mushrooms and beansprouts, seaweed, soya products, plenty of fish, fermented foods and green tea.
Meat, butter, dairy products and processed foods are limited.
Studies have shown members of this Christian denomination from California have better health and higher life expectancy than the average America.
Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow write: “Much of the advantage in this self-contained group can be attributed to their mainly plant-based eating.”
Seventh-day adventists eat at least nine servings of fruit and vegetables per day, lots of pulses, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, plant-based milks, small amounts of eggs and low-fat dairy, and some fish.
Red meat and poultry, fatty, sugary and processed foods, alcohol and drinks containing caffeine are limited.
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