Beans, greens, wholegrains and nuts


By: Content adapted by Judy Davie The Food Coach, from TODAY by Jake Whitman and Bianca Seidman

While scouring the internet today to find something interesting to write about, I came across a review of a new book by The Blue Zone of Happiness author Dan Buettner. Buettner travelled to countries where people live long, happy and healthy lives to find out what the secret sauce to their longevity was. His discovery led to his latest book called The Blue Zones Kitchen which is full of recipes featuring, you've guessed it, beans, greens, wholegrains and nuts.

Of course, it's not just a diet fuelled by these plant foods which stands you in good stead to become a centenarian but nor is it living a completely stress free life, which is good news for all of us suffering through 2020. The communities renowned for longevity which Buettner studied have all lived through their fair share of hardship. The main factor, other than eating beans, greens, wholegrains and nuts, was human connection. According to Buettner, if you don't have at least two friends you can count on a bad day, it shaves about eight years off of your life expectancy.

Buettner's travels took him to the remote island Ikaria, Greece where people outlive the average American by over 10 years. There, 97 percent of the population are over 70 and he could only find 3 recorded cases of dementia. Good friends and a diet rich in wild dandelion and chickpeas seems to be their secret.

Travel to the Nicoya Pennisula, Costa Rica where on average 1 in 250 people live to 100, Buettner found the local diet to consist of rice, beans and tortillas; mostly plant-based and in moderation. A commonality in centenarians across the world is that none of them are overweight.

In Loma Linda, California home to one of the highest concentrations of Seventh Day Adventists most of the church members eat a completely plant-based diet and never touch alcohol or cigarettes. Diet is part of their religion and includes, beans, nuts, slow-cooked oats, whole wheat bread and real soy milk. The diet seems to work as compared to the rest of Americans they live about seven to 10 years longer.

Having friends to turn to, social interaction and a good diet full of beans, greens, grains and nuts are the key elements to a long and happy life.

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