This is an incredibly inspiring book that outlines various cultural, nutritional, and lifestyle strategies employed by some of the world’s centenarians (these are people who are at least one hundred years old!). The author travels the world and visits the five regions that host the greatest concentration of centenarians: Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Ikaria, Greece.
There are some truly fascinating insights in this book: The Sardinians tout a lean, plan-based diet with only accents of meat, and lots of red wine (!), while Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California adopt a vegetarian diet, are heavily reliant on nuts, and “eat lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper (interestingly, this is something I encourage most of my health coaching clients to do!). The Nicoyans of Costa Rice focus on family and eating together (imagine that!), as well as lots of physical labor and exercise, while the longevity of Okinawans is in part attributable to a high consumption of soy and fermented soy, a mostly plant based diet (notice a theme here?), and the reliance on medicinal gardens–most Okinawans consume things like ginger and turmeric daily (both contain high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants). Lastly, the Ikarians of Greece seem to stay healthy, in part, due to their consumption of goat’s milk (it seems to promote healthy intestinal flora and is high in tryptophan (a stress relieving hormone). Their heavy consumption of fresh olive oil and herbal teas, reverence for afternoon napping, and occasional fasting (caloric restriction is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals-fascinating!) also help bolster their overall health.
This is just a truly remarkable book, and one from which I think anyone could glean a nugget of wisdom (if not a boulder!). If you’re wanting to start the new year on a high note and get inspired to make some changes in your family’s life and routine, do yourself a favor and read this book!