Anti-Aging Recipes from the ‘Blue Zones’ for a Longer, Healthier Life

Anti-aging recipes from the ‘Blue Zones’ for a longer, healthier life. The life expectancy of an American born today averages 78.2 years. In this year alone,… Rina - July 11, 2020

Anti-aging recipes from the ‘Blue Zones’ for a longer, healthier life. The life expectancy of an American born today averages 78.2 years. In this year alone, over 70,000 Americans have reached their 100th birthday. What are they doing that the average American isn’t? To answer the question, National Geographic set out to find the world’s longest-lived people and study them. We knew most of the answers lied within their lifestyle and environment. They then worked with a team of demographers to find pockets of people around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who reach age 100.

What they found were called the “Blue Zone” a term given to geographic regions that are the home to some of the world’s oldest people. It was first used by the author Dan Buettner, who was studying areas of the world in which people live exceptionally long lives. They are called Blue Zones because when Buettner and his colleagues were searching for these areas, they drew blue circles around them on a map.

Each Blue Zone is different, yet the same in many ways. Shutterstock.

1. Where are they?

The areas of the world that National Geographic called the ‘Blue Zones’ are described as:

  • Ikaria, Greece – known for its Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, red wine, and homegrown vegetables.
  • Ogliastra Sardinia, Italy – Known for its mountainous regions where residents typically work on farms and drink lots of red wine.
  • Okinawa, Japan– Known for its diet rich in soy-based foods and the practice tai chi, a meditative form of exercise.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – known for its Nicoyan diet based around beans and corn tortillas. The people of this area regularly perform physical jobs into old age and have a sense of life purpose known as “plan de vida.”
  • Loma Linda, California, USA – A Seventh-day Adventists enclave. Known for their strict vegetarian diet and for living in tight-knit communities.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Discovering the Blue Zones. Shutterstock.

2. How were they discovered?

What began as a National Geographic expedition, led by Dan Buettner, to uncover the secrets of longevity, evolved into the discovery of the 5 places around the world where people consistently live over 100 years old, dubbed the Blue Zones. Dan and his team of demographers, scientists, and anthropologists were able to distill the evidence-based common denominators of these Blue Zones into 9 commonalities that they call the Power 9.

They have since taken these principles into communities across the United States working with policymakers, local businesses, schools, and individuals to shape the environments of the Blue Zones Project Communities. What has been found is that putting the responsibility of curating a healthy environment on an individual does not work, but through policy and environmental changes the Blue Zones Project Communities have been able to increase life expectancy, reduce obesity and make the healthy choice the easy choice for millions of Americans.

Each Blue Zone is different, yet the same in many ways. Shutterstock.

3. What makes them unique?

A wholesome diet isn’t the only factor thought to lead to longevity for those living in Blue Zones. Such individuals also have top levels of physical activity, low-stress levels, robust social connections, and a strong sense of purpose. Still, sticking to a vibrant, nutrient-rich eating plan appears to play a key role in the exceptional health of Blue Zone dwellers. Here’s a look at seven foods to include in your own Blue Zone-inspired diet.

But what they put in their mouths, how much and when is worth a close look. That’s why in 2000, a National Geographic explorer struck out on a quest to find the lifestyle secrets to longevity, has written a follow up to his original study. The new book is called The Blue Zones Solution, and it is aimed at Americans and is mostly about eating.

A plant-based diet. Shutterstock.

4. What does their diet consist of?

  1. Legumes – From chickpeas to lentils, legumes are a vital component of all Blue Zone diets. Loaded with fiber and known for their heart-healthy effects, legumes also serve as a top source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
  2. Dark Leafy Greens – While vegetables of all kinds abound in each Blue Zone diet, dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are especially prized.
  3. Nuts – Like legumes, nuts are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. They also supply heart-healthy unsaturated fats, with some research suggesting that including nuts in your diet may help reduce your cholesterol levels.
  4. Olive Oil – A staple of Blue Zone diets, olive oil offers a wealth of health-enhancing fatty acids, antioxidants, and compounds such as oleuropein (a chemical found to curb inflammation).
  5. Steel-Cut Oats – When it comes to whole grains, those in Blue Zones often choose oats. One of the least processed forms of oats, steel-cut oats make for a high-fiber and incredibly filling breakfast option.
  6. Blueberries – Fresh fruit is the go-to sweet treat for many people living in Blue Zones. While most any type of fruit can make for a healthy dessert or snack, foods such as blueberries may offer bonus benefits.
  7. Barley – Another whole grain favored in Blue Zones, barley may possess cholesterol-lowering properties similar to those of oats, according to a study recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Barley also delivers essential amino acids, as well as compounds that may help stimulate digestion.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Specific lifestyle habits that are called the ‘Power 9’. Shutterstock.

5. A Closer Look

To make it to age 100, it seems that a person must have to win the genetic lottery. However, many individuals have the capacity to make it well into the early 90s and largely without chronic disease. The Blue Zones uncovered 9 evidence-based common denominators among the world’s centenarians that are believed to slow this aging process. Ultimately, the team of demographers and researchers found that all blue zone areas share nine specific lifestyle habits that are called the ‘Power 9’. Now, let’s take a closer look at the lifestyle and healthy eating habits of these centenarians.
1. They move naturally – They get daily exercise, but instead of going to the gym, they grow gardens and do not have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

2. They have a purpose – The Okinawans call it Ikigai and the Nicoyans call it plan de vida; for both, it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to 7 years of extra life expectancy.
3. They know how to downshift –
They have routines to shed stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors; Adventists pray; Ikarians take a nap; and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. They have an 80% Rule –
Eating only until they are 80% full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and then they do not eat any more the rest of the day.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
They know how to de-stress. Shutterstock.

6. More of ‘Power 9’

5. They have a Plant-based diet – Beans, including fava, black, soy, and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat is eaten on average only 5 times per month. Serving sizes are 3 to 4 oz, about the size of a deck of cards.
6. They have a happy hour – People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. They have 1 to 2 glasses per day, preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine.
. They are part of a community – All but 5 of the 263 centenarians interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination does not seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services 4 times per month will add 4 to 14 years of life expectancy.

8. They put their loved ones first –This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (it lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love.
9. They have Long-lasting friendships- Okinawans created moais—groups of 5 friends that committed to each other for life. Research shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors. Now let’s have a look at some anti-aging recipes from the ‘Blue Zones’.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Ikaria, Greece. Shutterstock.

7. Ikaria, Greece

People on this tiny Aegean island live 8 years longer than Americans do. They experience 20% less cancer, half the rate of heart disease, and almost no dementia. Ikarians eat a variation of the Mediterranean diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, and olive oil. Ikarians also downshift with a midafternoon break. People who nap regularly have up to 35% lower chances of dying from heart disease. It may be because napping lowers stress hormones or rests the heart.

One Ikarian in particular, Stamatis Moraitis, moved to America when he was 22 years old to pursue the American dream. He was a painter and immediately started having success, bought a house, married, and had 3 kids. At the age of 66 years, he developed terminal lung cancer. Instead of dying in America, he decided to move back to Ikaria and moved in with his parents. He started breathing the air, drinking the wine, and eating a Mediterranean diet. After a few months, he planted a garden, not planning on ever getting to harvest the vegetables; 37 years later he has a vineyard producing 200 L of wine a year. What was his secret? He says “I just forgot to die.”

Ikarian beach. Shutterstock.

8. Ikarian Lifestyle

Ikaria is way out there, a plane ride, or a long ferry ride away from Athens. It’s one of the Aegean islands, not too far from Turkey and right next to Samos island. In my opinion, it is definitely worth a trip. That’s because it is one of the most unique Greek islands. It is another way of life here. People don’t lock doors. People talk slower. Also, Ikarian time isn’t about keeping time. Forget about setting a numerical time for an appointment – think afternoon, evening, or sometime around that time. Local wine is poured without counting glasses. Food is naturally healthy, so people eat very well. Yes, that leads to one of the next best things to do on Ikaria… In recent years, this quiet island gained more fame thanks to fascinating studies focusing on the long amazing lives of its locals and the healthiness of the local diet.

People in Ikaria enjoy drinking herbal teas with family and friends, and scientists have found that they pack an antioxidant punch. Wild rosemary, sage and oregano teas also act as a diuretic, which can keep blood pressure in check by ridding the body of excess sodium and water. Take a cue from Ikarians and take a midafternoon break. People who nap regularly have up to 35 percent lower chances of dying from heart disease. It may be because napping lowers stress hormones or rests the heart.

Dining on the water. Shutterstock.

9. Ikarian Eating Habits

Ikarians have traditionally been fierce Greek Orthodox Christians. Their religious calendar called for fasting almost half the year. Caloric restriction – a type of fasting that cuts about 30 percent of calories out of the normal diet – is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals. Instead of cow’s milk, Ikarians use grass-fed goat’s milk. It provides potassium and the stress-relieving hormone tryptophan. It’s also hypoallergenic and can usually be tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant. Ikarians foster social connections, which have been shown to benefit overall health and longevity. So get out there and make some plans.

In terms of meals Ikarians typically have a late morning breakfast comprised of goat’s milk, yogurt and or cheese, fruits, herbal tea or coffee, whole grain bread, and local honey. At lunch, salads made of beans, legumes, and potatoes, along with cooked fresh garden vegetables are standard fare and prepared with generous amounts of olive oil. Locally caught fish may also be served, and Ikarian red wine typically accompanies the meal. Meat, often a goat or pig raised by the family or neighbors, is eaten only about 5 times per month.

Imam Bayildi. Shutterstock.

10. Ikarian Stuffed Eggplant ‘Imam Bayildi’

Imam Bayildi
Serves 5

5 medium eggplants, ends cut off, scored deeply four times lengthwise
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 onions, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, sliced in thirds
1 cup olive oil
2 small potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bell pepper (green, red, or yellow)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, sauté eggplants in olive oil for about 10 minutes, rotating often. In a medium bowl, mix together parsley, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and 1 cup olive oil as your stuffing mixture. Take a separate pan, sauté stuffing for 6-8 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add the stuffing mix on top and into the eggplants. Place potatoes around the eggplants in the pan. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, checking the pan for liquid and basting with cooking liquid if needed.

The authentic taste of Ikaria. Shutterstock.

11. Tomato & Pita Salad

Tomato & Pita Salad
Serves 4-6

2 (8- to 10-inch) pita, grilled or toasted well
3 large, firm-ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch (4 cm) chunks
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
6 tbsp Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the toasted pitas into strips about 1/8 inch (3 mm) wide and 2 inches (5 cm) long. In a bowl, toss together the pita strips, tomatoes, onions, herbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Ogliastra Sardinia, Italy. Shutterstock.

12. Ogliastra Sardinia, Italy

Located off the coast of Italy, Sardinia is home to the world’s longest-lived men. This community of shepherds walks 5 mountainous miles a day or more. This natural movement provides all the positive cardiovascular benefits you might expect and also has a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism without the point pounding of running marathons. The classic Sardinian diet is plant-based, consisting of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, and fruits. Meat is largely reserved for Sundays and special occasions.

Sardinians drink wine moderately. Cannonau wine has 2 or 3 times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines. Moderate wine consumption may help explain the lower levels of stress among men. Families are very close-knit. Grandparents can provide love, childcare, financial help, wisdom, and expectations/motivation to perpetuate traditions and push children to succeed in their lives. This may all add up to a healthier, better adjusted, and longer life for their children. It may give the overall population a life expectancy bump.

Local Sheep. Shutterstock.

13. Sardinian Lifestyle

The classic Sardinian diet consists of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and, in some parts of the island, mastic oil. Sardinians also traditionally eat pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep, whose cheese is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Meat is largely reserved for Sundays and special occasions. Sardinia’s strong family values help assure that every member of the family is cared for. People who live in strong, healthy families suffer lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress.

Sardinians drink wine moderately. Cannonau wine has two or three times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines. Moderate wine consumption may help explain the lower levels of stress among men. Men in this Blue Zone region are famous for their sardonic sense of humor. They gather in the street each afternoon to laugh with and at each other. Laughter reduces stress, which can lower one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. A glass of goat’s milk contains components that might help protect against inflammatory diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

pecorino cheese. Shutterstock

14. Sardinian Spinach with Pecorino Cheese

Sardinian Spinach with Pecorino Cheese
Servings 4

1 lb. spinach
5 garlic cloves
1 big handful basil leaves (about 1 cup)
2 T olive oil
5 oz. pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash spinach in cold water. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spinach for 1-2 minutes, drain well. Preheat oven to 400° F Peel garlic and cut into thin slivers. Mince basil leaves. Combine spinach with garlic, basil and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide spinach mixture into four individual oven-proof ramekins. Top with slices of pecorino cheese and bake for about 2-3minutes or until the cheese begins to melt and edges become brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 minute prior to serving.

Refreshing Salad. Shutterstock.

15. Sardinian Tomato Salad

Sardinian Tomato Salad
Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/4 pounds small to medium green heirloom tomatoes, such as Green Zebra and Green Grape, cored and cut into wedges
Small bulb fennel, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (1 1/2 cups), fronds reserved for serving
1/2 cup mild green olives, such as Castelvetrano, smashed and pitted
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, halved
A handful of sesame seeds for a garnish
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Serve with sliced rustic bread, such as pan Pugliese

Place onion in a small bowl of ice water. Let stand 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Meanwhile, whisk together orange zest and juice and vinegar. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes, sliced fennel, olives, and drained onions with vinaigrette. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

When ready to serve, fold in chopped parsley. Season with kosher salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, transfer salad to a serving plate or bowl. Spoon some juices from the bottom of the bowl over top. Pour remaining juices into a small serving bowl or pitcher. Garnish with sesame seeds. Toast bread, then drizzle with oil and rub with garlic. Sprinkle with flaky salt, pepper, and fennel fronds. Serve salad with extra tomato juices and bread.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Okinawa, Japan. Shutterstock.

16. Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa Island is the largest of the Okinawa Islands and the Ryukyu (Nansei) Islands of Japan in the Kyushu region. Home to the world’s longest-lived women, these South Pacific islands offer many secrets to longevity. The Okinawa tradition of forming a moai provides secure social networks. These safety nets lend financial and emotional support in times of need and give their members the stress-shedding security of knowing there is always someone there for them. In Okinawa, at age 5, children are put into these committed social networks. One specific moai that was recently discovered had been together for 97 years; the average age of the group is 102.

They meet every day to drink sake and gossip. If one of them does not show up, the other 4 put on their kimonos to walk across the village to check on their friend. Okinawans also attribute their longevity to the old Confucian mantra said before meals Hara Hachi Bu, which reminds them to stop eating when 80% full, so they do not overeat. They also hold a strong sense of purpose in their family. One centenarian described the feeling of holding her great great great grandchild as “Jumping into heaven.”

Local culture. Shutterstock.

17. Okinawa Lifestyle

Their unique diet and lifestyle are credited with giving them some of the longest lifespans on the planet. The traditional Okinawa diet is low in calories and fat while high in carbs. It emphasizes vegetables and soy products alongside occasional, slight amounts of noodles, rice, pork, and fish.

Getting enough vitamin D is rarely a problem in Okinawa. Just one degree north of the tropics, the Yaeyama group is especially blessed with sun. They eat tofu very often, and also a lot of seaweed compared to the rest of Japan. There’s a bigger variety in Okinawa. For example, they believe one type called mozuku helps them to live longer.’ This type of seaweed is farmed in huge beds just offshore from the islands and is harvested by divers holding what are essentially giant vacuum cleaners.

Healthy and delicious. Shutterstock.

18. Turmeric Latte ‘Foamy Golden Milk’

Foamy Golden Milk
Serves 2

2 cups coconut, cashew, or almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground black pepper
Honey or Agave to taste

In a small soup pot, heat all ingredients except for sweetener over low-medium heat. Stir as needed. Use an electric frother or whisk to create a foamy consistency. Remove from heat and divide it into two mugs. Sweeten with honey or agave, if using.

Buckwheat pasta with squash. Shutterstock.

19. Kabocha Squash Soba Noodle Bowl

Kabocha Squash Soba Noodle Bowl
Serves 3-4

1 small kabocha squash
1 green bell pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp salt

4 ounces of buckwheat noodles, cooked according to package
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small head of bok choy

Sesame dressing:
¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp low-sodium tamari
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp raw honey

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Clean the squash and slice into thin strips. Slice the pepper and toss them on the baking tray with the coconut oil, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and salt. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Toss together the noodles, scallions, and bok choy and dress with about half of the dressing. Serve the noodles in bowls topped with the squash, spinach, sesame seeds, and the remaining dressing.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Shutterstock.

20. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Nicoyans spend just 15% of what America does on health care and are more than twice as likely as Americans to reach a healthy age of 90 years. Faith and family play a strong role in Nicoyan culture. So does plan de vida, or reason to live, which helps Nicoyan elders maintain a positive outlook and active lifestyle. Nicoyans eat little to no processed foods but plenty of antioxidant-rich tropical fruit. But they also have 1 unique secret: calcium- and magnesium-rich water, which wards off heart disease and promotes strong bones.

These Centenarians seem to have enjoyed physical work of all their lives. They find joy in everyday physical chores. Modern Nicoyan’s roots to the indigenous Chorotega and their traditions have enabled them to remain relatively free of stress. Their traditional diet of fortified corn and beans may be the best nutritional combination for longevity the world has ever known.

‘plan de vida’. Shytterstock.

21. Nicoya Peninsula Lifestyle

What is unique about the Nicoya Peninsula? One thing is the “plan de vida,” or reason to live, which propels a positive outlook among elders and helps keep them active. Another is a focus on family and a special ability to listen and laugh. Nicoyan centenarians frequently visit with neighbors, and they tend to live with families and children or grandchildren who provide support, as well as a sense of purpose. Another is that drink hard water. Nicoyan water has the country’s highest calcium content, perhaps explaining the lower rates of heart disease, as well as stronger bones and fewer hip fractures.

They also eat a light dinner. Eating fewer calories appears to be one of the surest ways to add years to your life. Nicoyans eat a light dinner early in the evening. For most of their lives, Nicoyan centenarians ate a traditional Mesoamerica diet highlighted with the “three sisters” of agriculture: squash, corn, and beans. Nicoyans regularly take in the sunshine, which helps their bodies produce vitamin D for strong bones and healthy body function. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a host of problems, such as osteoporosis and heart disease, but regular, “smart” sun exposure (about 15 minutes on the legs and arms) can help supplement your diet and make sure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient.

Sweet pineapple and rice drink. Shutterstock.

22. Pineapple Horchata

Pineapple Horchata
Serves 4

1 pineapple
5 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cinnamon stick

Peel and core the pineapple; reserve the flesh for garnish. Place rice, cinnamon stick, pineapple peels and core with water in a pot; bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, peel, and core.
Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. Strain if you want a smooth texture. Add water if needed, for consistency. Garnish with sliced pineapple pieces.

Gallo Pinto. Shutterstock.

23. Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto
Serves 4

1 cup cooked black beans (best if cooked from scratch, but you can use canned).
1 cup cooked rice (long grain is best).
A tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
dash of salt and pepper
3 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cilantro (plus extra for garnishing)

Optional – fresh tomato salsa for a topping (Just chop a little extra onion, cilantro, and a couple of tomatoes and squeeze in half a lime)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the onion until translucent, then add garlic and red pepper and cook until garlic is browned slightly. Add beans (all liquid removed), salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add rice and chopped cilantro and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve with fresh tomato salsa if desired.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
A map of southern California. Shutterstock.

24. Loma Linda, California, USA

Loma Linda, Spanish for “beautiful” or “lovely” hill” is 100km east of Los Angeles. It has been known as a mecca for healthy living for decades. The town was adopted at the turn of the 20th century, by the health-focused founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who purchased a property in the area. The Adventist’s way of life involves a mostly plant-based diet, regular exercise, and a commitment to celebrate the Sabbath as the day of rest.

“When we look at just mortality, Adventists appear to die of approximately the same diseases but the age at which they die is much later,” says Dr. Larry Beeson, a professor in epidemiology at Loma Linda University. A long-term study, which started in 1976, involving 34,000 members of the church, concluded that their lifestyle added a significant number of years to the average lifespan. Researchers identified “striking” protective effects of a vegetarian diet. Adventists believe that their longevity is linked to their respect of the human body as a temple of the holy spirit

Spanish for ‘beautiful hill’. Shutterstock.

25. Loma Linda Lifestyle

This Adventist community in California outlives the average American by a decade. Taking their diet directly from the Bible they consume a vegan diet of leafy greens, nuts, and legumes. They recognize the Sabbath and downshift for 24 hours each week. Many of the Adventists are still very active into their late 90s. For example, Dr Ellsworth Wareham, who is 95 years old, was told that a contractor wanted $6000 to build a privacy fence in his yard. Instead of paying the contractor, he decided to do it himself.

After 3 days of work he ended up in the hospital, but Ellsworth was not on the table, he was the surgeon performing the open-heart surgery, one of 20 surgeries performed that month. Similarly, Marge Jetton age 105 woke up every morning at 5:30 am read her Bible, had a breakfast of slow cook oatmeal, nuts, and dates with soymilk and a prune juice shooter. She would then ride her stationary bike for 30 minutes and get in her Cadillac and drive to her volunteer jobs for 7 different organizations.

Brown Rice Salad. Shutterstock.

26. Adventist Brown Rice Salad

Adventist Brown Rice Salad
Serves 2

⅛ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cucumbers, sliced or diced
½ red bell pepper, cored and sliced or diced
3 black pitted olives, diced
2 teaspoons pine nuts (can substitute other chopped nuts)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice, chilled

In a small bowl, whisk together turmeric, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. In a large bowl, mix dressing with all other ingredients except for rice. Add rice and toss to combine well.

Tomato Avocado Soup. Shutterstock.

27. Chilled Tomato Avocado Soup

Chilled Tomato Avocado Soup
Serves 3-4

6 tomatoes, chopped or 4 cups canned tomatoes
6 green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp salt
1 cup of water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 avocado, diced
Lemon wedges

Chopped chives or scallions, optional garnish

In a soup pot, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and one cup of water. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 15 minutes longer. Strain through sieve or cloth. Chill thoroughly. Spoon into bowls and add avocado. Serve with lemon wedges and chives or scallions for optional garnish.

Anti-aging recipes from the 'Blue Zones' for a longer, healthier life.
Anti-aging recipes from the ‘Blue Zones’ for a longer, healthier life. Shutterstock.

28. In Summary

Blue Zones started as a way of discovering the healthiest lifestyles that lead to vitality and longevity. Now, 12 years after the start of this massive project, Blue Zones is a way to design the healthiest lifestyles possible for individuals and for entire communities. The goal for Blue Zones is to not only make the healthy choice the easy choice, but also the unavoidable choice. In association with the University of Minnesota Public Health Department, this research team created the Vitality Compass, named the Best Online Tool for Retirement and Longevity by the Wall Street Journal.

This tool has users answer lifestyle and background questions based on the Power 9 teachings of Right Outlook, Move Naturally, Eat Wisely, and Belong; it then calculates their biological age, overall life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and the years they are gaining/losing because of their habits. It then gives the users 12 customized recommendations to help them live longer and better. This is a useful tool to take initiative as a baseline test, then try out some of the specific lifestyle recommendations, and 3 to 6 months later, take the quiz again. Recommendations include reducing salt intake, joining a faith-based community, quitting smoking, improving attitude, and many more.


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