The quest for youthfulness and longevity is as long as the history of civilization.
SOME OF THE LONGEST-LIVED CULTURES INCLUDE
1. Abkhasia (ancients of Caucasus, ancient USSR),
2. Vilcabambans (Andes, South America)
3. Hunza (Pakistan)
4. Centenarians of Okinawa (Japan): Okinawa is home to the world’s healthiest elders with longest recorded life expectancies.
5. Crete (Greece)
Low calorie healthy diets and high physical activity of these extraordinarily healthy societies are the secrets for their extended lifespans with virtually no reported incidence of diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other degenerative diseases such as rheumatism, osteoporosis, alzheimer's and vision problems.
WHAT ARE THE SECRETS TO LONGEVITY THROUGH A GOOD DIET?
High intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, soy, fish and eating less fat along with healthy lifestyle seems to explain protection from diseases and increased lifespan.
Okinawan Cenetarian study reported that elder Okinawan's who have attained the most phenomenal health and longevity daily eat an average of:
1. 7 servings of vegetables
2. 7 servings of whole grains
3. 2 servings of soy products
4. Fish twice or thrice a week and
5. Very little sugar and added fats.
Their diets include little meat and no margarines, hydrogenated fats or trans fat.
THE DIETS OF THE WORLD'S SUPER-CENTENARIANS HAD A LOT IN COMMON:
1. Low in calories-ate less
2. High on nutrients-ate well
3. Particularly rich in phyto-chemicals (antioxidants), vitamin B6, B12, folic acid, zinc, calcium, iron, chromium, vitamin D & E and omega-3 fats.
4. Ate good carbohydrates, good fat, high quality proteins and fiber.
5. Whole Food diets: They included plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
6. Largely depended on fresh, seasonal and locally grown organic foods.
7. Protein sources included fish, soy, legumes- peas and beans, seeds, nuts, fermented milk products, buttermilk & fermented foods.
8. High on natural sources of fats like seeds, nuts, olives, fish and cold pressed oils.
9. Included functional foods like barley, oats, soy, garlic, onion, mushrooms, berries, yogurt, olives, flax, nuts, herbs and spices.
10.Included some form of probiotic foods (good bacteria) like kefir (fermented milk), yogurt.
11.Included prebiotic foods (which promote growth of good bacteria) like whole grains, soy, vegetables, fruits and seeds,.
12.They had little, (if any) processed or refined foods, sugars, hydrogenated fats, preservatives, chemicals etc.
THESE PEOPLE ALSO SEEMED TO HAVE SIMPLE LIFESTYLES. Some common features:
1. Ensured good sleep
2. Ate in the company of others
3. Occasionally indulged in celebration food- confectionary, desserts, sweets and candies.
4. Ate regular meals, did not skip breakfast and ate dinners early
5. Ate smaller frequent meals
6. Did not smoke and indulge in substance abuse
7. Maintained physical activity throughout life.
Clearly, living long is not a coincidence. It is a result of many factors and when it comes to health & longevity, the sum of the dietary components is greater than its individual elements.