Is there such a thing as a longevity diet? Increasingly, studies suggest the answer is yes.
Around the world, certain groups of people enjoy exceptionally long lives. Consider the lucky people of Okinawa. These Pacific Islanders have an average life expectancy of more than 81 years, compared to 78 in the United States and a worldwide average of just 67. Closer to home, members of the Seventh Day Adventists, who typically eat vegetarian diets, outlive their neighbors by four to seven years on average.
Hannah Kalil is 83 years old, and lives by herself in upstate New York. She has aides who help with her caregiving throughout the day. But the responsibility of managing her finances, health care -- both mental and physical -- and long-term living situation falls to one person: her daughter -- and my mother -- Eleanor.
It's almost a full-time job. Making sure my grandmother is happy and not feeling lonely means daily visits. Her never-ending stream of medical issues means weekly -- if not more frequent...
The residents of the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama very rarely suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease. Indeed, research shows that their rate of heart disease is only nine per 100,000 people, compared to 83 per 100,000 among nearby Panamanians on the mainland.
What makes these groups so fortunate? A growing body of evidence suggests that diet is one of the important contributors to longevity and healthy living. Here’s what’s on the menu of people who enjoy long and healthy lives.
Whole grains: Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains pack a lot of nutrition into a low-calorie package. Grains like oats and barley are also rich in a long list of disease-fighting compounds.
In 2009, researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston reported that study participants whose diets included plenty of whole grains and fruit cut their heart disease risk by almost half compared to those whose diets favored meat and fatty foods. Findings from more than 161,000 nurses enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study also show that whole grains protect against type 2 diabetes, a disease that increases the danger of heart disease.