Recently I have been doing some reading up on Blue Zones which are the spots of the world which contain the highest population of centenarians. In this series we will have a look into the secrets of these centenarians long and healthy lives. Starting with Sardinia in Italy.
What impressed me is that Sardinia is indeed a zone filled with centenarians, what is also intriguing is how Sardinians are very different to most Italians and are definitely not your typical Mediterranean’s….. Some of their secrets of longevity are unconventional whereas others are pretty straight forward but together it makes for a pretty intriguing lifestyle.
Drink and Eat Dairy - I know this goes against some of the stuff we read today, but their is no doubt the sardinians enjoyed their dairy products. We are talking real dairy here though stuff like raw milk and cheese. Pecorino being a favourite as the Ewe’s which produce the milk graze on lush parts of Italy’s hills making their produce even more nourishing and rich in Omega 3’s. Many Sardinian centenarians would start the day with some Pecorino cheese and goats milk.
Drink a Glass of Wine Daily – Preferably red wine. The men and women of Sardinia would drink wine daily not only in the evening but in the afternoon with some cheese and olives. Wine is filled with anti-oxidants like flavnoids which keep your arteries squeeky clean, as well as this wine can help you relax and unwind after a long day. I personally like sticking to higher quality and on occasion organic wine, buying quality pays off. Just don’t over do it, one glass is a perfect amount…..
Laugh With Friends - Hanging out with friends and family is so important, especially if we can maintain a good sense of humour. Arrange dinners and drinks with a wide variety of friends as often as you can this will help keep you in good spirits. Alternatively rent a funny movie or watch one of your favourite comedians on YouTube anything to trigger a good laugh will give your health a real boost.
Walk, Walk and Walk some more - Sardinian shepards would walk daily up until old age, tending to their cattle and livestock. They would never part take in any conventional exercise but they definitely got their fair share in everyday tasks. The beauty of walking is that it gives all the cardiovascular and bone building benefits plus boosting your metabolism without any of the negatives of long distance running.
Aim for a few miles per day
Work walking into your everyday routine
Two or Three 5 minute walks throughout the day is better than nothing
Eat A Plant Based Diet - Sardinians based their diet on plant based foods think: Well prepared grains, legumes, Fruits, Vegetables and Olive Oil. Meat was eaten once a day at most and in some families saved for special occasions like birthdays or a weekly meal. Contrary to popular belief you can get plenty of protein without eating meat at every meal. they put an emphasis on lamb and pork that is high quality, avoiding any modern day processed meats.
Appreciate Elders - Grandparents and elders in Sardinia are greatly appreciated and respected. They are seen as a source of great wisdom. This helps in various ways firstly it inspired the younger generation and makes them learn very important lessons naturally. It also gives older people something to live for and work towards as they know they will still be appreciated in old age. So make sure you make the best of your time left with your grandparents or even parents and be sure to ask them for some words of wisdom….
So there you have it. Nothing ground breaking but some cool sources of wisdom no doubt. After researching the topic I have gotten into buying Goats Yoghurt and some good quality Pecorino and I can say it is really good stuff and will definitely be a staple in my diet over the next few months. Last Nights Dinner was some Grass Fed Beef Burgers with Pecorino cheese and sweet potato fries along with a big salad and some vegetables. A classic meal with a Sardinian Twist…..