Superfoods of the Longest-Living People

A supercentenarian is someone who has lived to be 110 years old or more (France’s Jeanne Calment still holds the record for having the longest confirmed human life expectancy, at 122 years, 164 days). Surprisingly, almost all people who live this long are free of major age-related diseases such as dementia, type 2 diabetes, or autoimmune diseases. When they finally pass away, they often go away peacefully, during a nap, for example. Is it luck? Genes? Or do they have habits that we can adopt that could lead us to this kind of grace? aging? As a holistic nutritionist and anti-inflammatory expert, I have spent my life searching for answers to this question, and the answer is a resounding yes.

Lifestyles of the oldest people

Contrary to gene theory, it is our lifestyle choices that have the greatest impact on longevity. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer and author of “The Blue Zones,” has reported on different lifestyle practices that are common to many people living over 100 years of vitality. The oldest people live in the following regions: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra Region, Sardinia; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Before we look at his diet, let’s review some of the lifestyle habits that are common among the world’s oldest:

Authentic Movement: All long-lived people get plenty of exercise from physical labor in gardens, on farms, and around the house. Dog walking, bicycling and gardening also contribute to the “healthy style” of longevity.

Purpose: Instead of retiring, many centenarians take up jobs they love, like running community gardens or taking care of their grandchildren.

Love: A cornerstone of longevity is expressing gratitude and sharing love with one’s tribe. Stress reduction dramatically reduces inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory foods: The menus of the elderly are full of anti-aging nutrients that have the power to improve and prolong life. A focus on plants, fiber, and omega-3s is key, and every menu has tasty fats that make meals taste great!

Food for centenarians

Let’s take a tour of the world to learn about some of the powerful foods eaten in the longevity zones.

Costa Rica

Coconut: This fruit has different parts and uses: The liquid water portion contains high levels of B vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamin C; the dried grain (copra) is mainly fat and is used for oil extraction. Coconut’s fatty acid profile makes it one of today’s most popular superfoods. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs are quickly absorbed and used by the body as a source of energy, or converted into ketone bodies beneficial to brain health. Coconuts and coconut oil also contain flavonoids and other polyphenols that act as antioxidants, protecting against free radicals, LDL cholesterol oxidation, and cancer.

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Cocoa: Cocoa is not only delicious to eat, but it contains approximately 380 bioactive compounds such as polyphenols (catechins) and methylxanthines. In fact, cocoa has a higher level of phenols than green tea and red wine, making it a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that regular consumption of polyphenol-rich cocoa is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. The high polyphenol profile raises HDL, lowers LDL, and improves blood sugar and blood pressure.

sardinia

Lion teeth: These have a high overall nutritional value among green leafy vegetables and are packed with antioxidants such as polyphenols, as well as vitamins A and C. Their antioxidant potential is important for longevity because it decreases oxidative stress (which is the basis of the process of disease) and slows cell aging Dandelion leaves are also wonderful for protecting the liver and supporting its role as the body’s main detoxification organ, removing toxins that can age us and increase our risk of disease.

Fennel: In Indian and Greek mythology, fennel symbolizes longevity and immortality. Part of the parsley family, fennel is used as both a vegetable and a spice. It is well known as a natural remedy for digestive disorders and also acts as an anti-inflammatory food, reducing the risk of disease and increasing antioxidant activity in the body. It also affects cholesterol levels by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and inhibiting the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). Between that and its high potassium content, fennel may support the cardiovascular system.

Sardines: They may be small in size and environmental footprint, but sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, and vitamin B12. The health benefits of omega-3s come from their anti-inflammatory action, which helps prevent medical conditions like cardiovascular disease. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids can keep LDL cholesterol in check, while increasing HDL cholesterol levels and nourishing the cardiovascular system.

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Japan

Seaweed: This multicellular seaweed contains many bioactive compounds and polysaccharides not found in any land plant. Studies comparing Japanese and Western diets have linked seaweed consumption to a decrease in chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Many species of seaweed contain healthy fatty acids such as long-chain omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that protect the cardiovascular system. In addition, seaweed has anti-cancer properties, as shown by studies linking seaweed to a reduced risk of cancer, especially breast cancer in premenopausal women through estrogen metabolism.

Ginger: Rich in phytonutrients, ginger is frequently used as a spice and condiment to add flavor to foods. But the flavor and aroma is not the only reason to use ginger; Its medicinal properties help lower inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Regular consumption of this herb can also lower the risk of several types of cancer, including colorectal, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancer. Gingerols, shogaols, and paradols are the main components of this plant that work to promote health and alleviate many ailments, including slowing down the aging process of cells.

Greece

Garlic: This is a truly wonderful herb with strong healing powers. It can kill microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses), lower blood pressure and cholesterol, thin the blood to prevent clots, and even prevent cancer. What makes it so powerful is its high content of sulfur compounds, which are responsible for its taste, smell, and medicinal benefits. Another important component is allicin, which is what makes garlic a great natural antibiotic that can kill or inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms like salmonella, E. coli, Staph aureus, and H. pylori, to name a few.

Olives: Olives and olive oil are staples in the diet of those who populate the countries bordering the Mediterranean. These people tend to have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and enjoy greater longevity and life expectancy. Olives are rich in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and phenols, which are beneficial for normalizing cholesterol levels.

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Olive oil contains more squalene (a plant-based fat) than other seasoning oils. This compound has chemoprotective attributes that help cancer patients cope with the damaging effects of chemotherapy. It is also linked to a lower incidence of cancers. The components of olive oil are anti-inflammatory and play a role in reducing the inflammation involved in bone resorption in postmenopausal women, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

California

Avocados: Avocados provide significant amounts of vitamin K, E, potassium and magnesium. Avocados are also high in B vitamins, choline, phytosterols, and healthy fats that support a wide range of health benefits. Eating avocados every day can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and body weight. Avocados contain vitamins C and E, as well as xanthophylls (a class of carotenoids), which act as antioxidants to protect against DNA damage. Avocados are not only great for supporting longevity internally, but when applied topically, they also inhibit skin aging, due to highly bioavailable lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against UV damage.

Spirulina: This microalgae is rich in carotenoids and antioxidant compounds. Spirulina has been reported to decrease oxidative stress and lower cholesterol levels. The exact compound in spirulina responsible for lowering cholesterol levels is still unknown, but it is suspected to be phycocyanin, a protein. Phycocyanin is also important for cancer prevention, along with beta-carotenoids, which can potentially help protect against cancer due to their antioxidant action and immune-modulating characteristics. Spirulina is low in calories but high in nutrients, iodine, folate, and magnesium.

Nutritionist and television personality Julie Daniluk is the award-winning, best-selling author of three books, including “Meals That Heal Inflammation” and “Hot Detox.” Her fourth book, “Becoming Sugar-Free,” will be released in September 2021 by Penguin/Random House. Julie is in her eleventh season as a nutrition expert on “The Marilyn Denis Show.” For more information, see julieDaniluk.comFacebook and Instagram @juliedaniluk.

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