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Diet & Longevity: Live to 100!

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The key to being a centennial may be in the genes, over which you have no control. However, in certain regions of the world, there appears to be some common factors in diet that may keep the grim reaper from your door.

Dan Buettner, in his book “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,” the author reveals the diet traits of centennials. These folks not only live longer, but as importantly, healthier. They remain active and productive throughout their lives. They also tend to not linger with disease, but rather are vital until death.

Most of the food groups are available in the U.S. It is easy to find goat and sheep milk, even if it’s in cheese form. Besides the nutritional content, the calcium in goat’s milk strengthens the skeleton which deters fractures. The sour dough and flat bread are readily found in bakeries. The flat bread is low in gluten and high in durum which has a low glycemic score, avoiding sugar rushes.

Barley and fennel are high on the menu. Interestingly, the foods associated with these plants were historically associated with a poor man’s diet. The same is true with fava beans and chickpea. Presumably science has trumped these notions.

It has been well documented that tomatoes, in virtually any form, assist with cardiovascular well being. It’s also rather unique in that it is a food that actually may be better absorbed if cooked.

Almonds, in almost any form, such as whole, added to salads or ground into a butter or paste are also high on the menu. A study cited by the author indicated that almonds included in a low-calorie diet assisted in reducing belly fat while the good cholesterol (HDL) increased and systolic blood pressure dropped.

Finally, red wine was consumed daily. The virtues of red wine are also well documented, although the Sardinians enjoyed a certain variety, Cannonau, made from the Grenache grape. It is pressed with skin stems and grapes.

What is readily apparent is that a plant based diet, incorporating good oils and fats, such as found in olive oil and almonds, are the keys to a healthy long life.