Foods Consumed by the Healthiest People
As I alluded to in parts one and two of this series (See Foods Consumed by the Healthiest People Part 1, Dynamic Chiropractic 2011;V__N__) it is very difficult to be as specific as I would like to (for a number of reasons discussed in Parts 1 & 2) when discussing what foods are consumed by people in areas known for extreme longevity. Below I will use direct quotes from sites that were representative of the scores that I visited while I tried to determine what the healthy people in Sardinia eat.
By the time this is published, the first anniversary of the Janurary 23 2011 death of our colleague, Jack LaLanne DC will be close. Dr. Jack lived 96 years and 4 months and, beginning at age 15, dedicated his final 81 years to living a long, fit and healthy life. When I was growing up I remember him referred to as a fitness freak and a health food nut who (on TV) seemed to live on blended concoctions that washed down handfuls of supplements. Everybody now knows that his 'abnormal behavior' paid off and that he was years ahead of medical science. What I find so interesting about the areas of extreme longevity is that the people live long and healthy lives without trying. In fact, 4/5 identified longevity zones have no gyms, no supplements and no health food stores. Sardinia is one of those 4. It also has something that is not found anywhere else in the world.
Sardinia is an island located 190 miles off the west coast of Italy.
It is around 130 miles long and 70 miles wide. It was one of the first
longevity hot spots known as a 'blue zone' prior to the publication
of the popular book with the same name by Dan Buettner. An often quoted
line stating at least 220 of Sardinia’s current 1.6 million people
have reached 100, twice the average of the rest of the world. However,
don't try to compare numbers and statistics because if you do you will
discover it is a convoluted, inconsistent mess. In researching this
series I read where the United States has 12, 15, 18, 20 or 23 people
per 100,000 residents reaching the age of 100. In Okinawa, the most
commonly repeated statistic you will find on the web is 34 per 100,000.
However, I found an article from a Japanese newspaper dated September
14, 2011 that stated Okinawa has 66 centurions per 100,000. (http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2011/09/30/3031/)
This does not make the 220 centurions out of 1.6 million in Sardina
seem impressive, even though Sardinia is on everybodies list of longevity
hot spots. Jump on the web and the most common quotes you will find
for Sardinia are 13.5 centurions per 100,000 and 22 per 100,000 (which
may also be written as 135 or 220 per million.) When I realized the
first number is for people born 100 years ago and the second number
is for the current population, it hit me that while this statistic makes
an interesting country to country comparison of current 100 year olds
, it does not reflect the actual percentage of reaching 100 in a given
area. What is required is to determine this how many other people were
born 100 years ago in the same regions or nation.
Before we discuss food, it must be noted that there are many factors
besides food that contribute to a long and healthy life. In Sardinia,
like Okinawa, the almost all of the people who reach their 90's and
above do so as both physically and mentally functional members of society
who can take care of themselves like Dr. LaLanne did and live long quality
lives until the end.
"The thing that might surprise you at first is that these people in the Barbagia region do NOT eat a Mediterranean diet.......this does not, however, mean that they eat a lot of meat. Meat is usually served on Sundays and at festival times. But they do eat a lot of cheese especially pecorino cheese made from their sheep’s milk.......The rest of the diet is mainly made up of fava beans, bread and the vegetables they raise......mainly consist (ing) of zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and the fava beans....The wine is made from Cannonau grapes grown in the area. Given the location apparently these grapes produce more red pigment which translates, when made into wine, into a beverage with high quantities of flavonoids.....they drink goats’ milk daily....(that is) extra healthy...due to a plant they (goats) eat called Sardinian dwarf curry which has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties.....The last elixir of life is the mastic oil used...... residents use it instead of olive oil..." antiagingremedies.org/blue-zones/sardinia-blue-zone/
Copyright 2004-2007, G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN, 916 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821, (714) 990-0824