Elderly woman laughingYou may think you’ve heard (and perhaps even tried) them all – the trendy diets that promise you’ll lose 10 pounds in 10 days, or that assign point values to food; ones that allow you to eat all the protein you want, and those that restrict your intake to only raw foods. You may want to turn your attention instead, however, to the latest research on the dietary habits of those living in what’s known as the “Blue Zone” – areas known for their unusually high life expectancy. Here’s what’s helping increase the longevity for residents of these areas:
  • Ikaria, Greece: Known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” Ikaria’s dietary staples include feta cheese, wild greens, potatoes, goats’ milk, legumes, honey, lemons, herbs, and small amounts of fish.
  • Okinawa, Japan: With the highest ratio of centenarians worldwide, their longevity-promoting diets include tofu, brown rice, bitter melons, mushrooms, green tea and garlic.
  • Sardinia, Italy: Boasting an unusually high percentage of centenarian men, this area’s longevity may be a result of a shepherding lifestyle, with a shepherd’s diet to match: goat’s milk, sheep’s cheese, fennel, chickpeas, almonds, tomatoes, wine and milk thistle tea.
  • Loma Linda, California: A particular religious community makes the grade through a “Biblical” diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts, and drinking lots of water. Dietary choices specifically promoting longevity include beans, oatmeal, salmon, soy milk, and whole wheat bread.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Corn, squash and beans, along with bananas, peach palms, papayas and yams top the list of staples for this Meso-American culture.
To learn more, check out The Blue Zones, authored by Dan Buettner of National Geographic, and listen to a recording  of an interview with the author. And for help with planning and preparing healthy meals for your senior loved one, contact the senior care experts at Cascade Companion Care. Serving Snohomish and Skagit Counties, Camano Island and areas of King County, our goal is to help Washington seniors live long, healthy, and independent lives where they feel most comfortable – at home.