Secret to Longevity: 9 Foods the World’s Longest-Lived People Eat Every Day

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things about the way we eat in the United States that could be a lot healthier. In fact, the standard American diet, which is full of processed foods, added sugar, and saturated fats, contributes to many health problems in our country.

Fortunately, we can take inspiration from other places in the world. The Blue Zones, for example, are five regions of the world with the highest concentrations of centenarians, and we can learn a lot about their daily lifestyle and diet.

These regions include Sardinia in Itay, Okinawa in Japan, Ikaria in Greece, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California. And although each region consumes different foods, unique to it and its lifestyle, it is useful to learn about the foods it consumes to see what we can incorporate into our lives to be a little healthier.

Here are some of the foods that the world’s longest-lived people eat regularly.

Avocados, which have a long list of health benefits, are a staple food for the Loma Linda community. According to a National Geographic article on the Blue Zones of the World, avocados help lower cholesterol levels and contain 30% more potassium than bananas.

Avocados have also been found to help manage weight and reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Beans are a staple in most blue zones and provide helpful amounts of fiber and other nutrients that help fight disease. For example, black-eyed peas are part of the daily diet in Ikaria, Greece, and these beans have been shown to have anti-cancer, heart-healthy, and anti-diabetic properties.

The Nicoya community in Costa Rica eat black beans daily, often accompanied by rice and corn tortillas. Black beans contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants and are known to help manage diabetes, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The community of Okinawa, Japan eats garlic regularly. National Geographic claims that garlic is one of “nature’s most powerful medicines” and has been linked to reducing the risk of certain diseases that typically occur with age.

Specifically, a report from Antioxidants indicates that garlic has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help prevent certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

White potatoes are a staple food for people in Ikaria, Greece, and purple sweet potatoes (called imo) are eaten regularly in Okinawa, Japan.

Purple sweet potatoes contain a phytochemical called anthocyanin, which is known to help prevent disease. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium and fiber.

While some people think white potatoes are unhealthy due to their high carb content, they actually help Ikarians manage and prevent diabetes, as well as help maintain low blood pressure.

Ikarians like to use olive oil on a daily basis. A report published in Nutrients found that extra virgin olive oil has a long list of proven health benefits, which is why many people in the Mediterranean, where extra virgin olive oil is widely used, are among the healthiest people in the world.

For example, olive oil has been found to help manage weight, reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of certain cancers, and help your overall health through its anti-inflammatory properties.

Salmon and other fatty fish are commonly eaten by Loma Linda Adventists, even those in the community who are plant-based.

Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as reduce chronic levels of inflammation.

Sardinia, Italy is another region known as the blue zone. Its inhabitants consume foods such as goat’s milk, flatbread, chickpeas and sourdough bread.

Their sourdough bread is made with whole wheat and live lactobacilli. According to the National Geographic article, the process of baking Sardinian sourdough bread converts sugar and glucose into lactic acid. This process lowers the glycemic index, which means you’ll be full longer and your blood sugar levels won’t skyrocket.

The Sardinians also love their tomatoes and use them in many of their dishes. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and stroke, and improve heart health.

Specifically, cherry tomatoes contain higher levels of beta-carotene, which research has shown may help reduce the risk of developing tumors linked to prostate cancer.

This might be the best news you’ve heard all day. Yes, many Blue Zone regions consume glasses of red wine daily as part of their healthy diet.

Some studies support this claim by finding that red wine may benefit your heart health due to its antioxidant and polyphenol content.

Of course, as with all alcohol, moderation is key and you should always speak to a doctor with any questions you may have.


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