Have you ever heard of the blue zones? This is a concept for demographics of the world where people live measurably longer and healthier.
Gianni Pres and Michel Poulain identified Sardinia’s Nuoro province (Italy) as having the highest concentration of male centenarians. Other regions in the blue zones include Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and the Seventh day Adventist population of Loma Linda (California).
What makes the difference between these demographics and the rest of us?
They have long standing traditions of plant based diets which is never complete without nuts, seeds and legumes. And as one would have thought, evidence proving that plant based diets reduce the risks of mid-life and old age health concerns, which include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, etc., has increased over the years.
So, all it takes to have better health and longer life is a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, just one meal for today. You will build your recipes over time.
One plant based meal today and the rule is evolution not revolution. Start introducing foods of plant source that you like into your meal and blend it with your existing diet. Days later, take it a notch higher by replacing unhealthy red meat and other animal produce with plant alternatives.
It is a journey, and you could hope to have healthy plant based recipes that you find enjoyable in the future.
Do not forget the nuts, seeds and legumes. Can you tell them apart? It is a bit tricky and most people cannot, because while walnuts and hazelnuts are true tree nuts with seeds surrounded by dry fruit and encased in a hard shell, peanut is not.
In fact, peanuts are legumes, which are edible seeds from pods that you can split in half. So, you cannot necessarily tell by the name.
Almond is another example of nuts, while beans in all its varieties (soybeans, lima, black, chickenpea etc.) are legumes.
What do you think of a handful of nuts on yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast? You could use legumes as meal enhancers, for instance, a handful of cooked beans on salad. That can be very filling. However, portioning is important in these meals, because nuts are rich in vegetable oil, so you could end up with overload of calories when you take too much of them.
Legumes have a higher level of carbohydrates than nuts, but both have similar protein content.
Start improving your diets today with plant based diets, nuts, seeds and legumes, and you will be making an investment towards long life and better health.
You do not have to make the change overnight, as included in the post, take it one step at a time till you find what works best for you and you can stick to it. After all, we are talking about longevity, who needs to worry about making a huge diet change 😉