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Eating This Food May Be A Reason Why Some People Live To 100

Reason Why Some People Live To 100

By evansPublished 12 months ago 3 min read
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Eating This Food May Be A Reason Why Some People Live To 100
Photo by Glen Hodson on Unsplash

Beans: The Secret to Longevity?

Beans may seem small and unassuming, but they have a surprising impact on our health and longevity. These legumes, including beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas, play a significant role in the diets of people living in "blue zones" — regions where individuals live exceptionally long and healthy lives. Renowned author and entrepreneur Dan Buettner has extensively studied these blue zones and found that legumes are a major component of their daily diet.

One such blue zone is Sardinia, where the legumes of choice are garbanzo and fava beans. The Melis family, known as the "longest living family in the world," consumes a traditional minestrone soup made with these beans at least twice a day, along with sourdough bread and a small glass of red wine. The legumes in their diet contribute to their remarkable health and longevity.

Legumes are nutritional powerhouses, packed with essential nutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, zinc, lysine (an essential amino acid), protein, and fiber. Fiber, in particular, plays a crucial role in promoting a healthy gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, and improving immune function. Unfortunately, most Americans do not meet their daily fiber needs, making legumes an excellent addition to the diet.

Each type of bean has a unique nutritional profile, so incorporating a variety of legumes is beneficial. For example, aduki beans are high in fiber, while fava beans contain lutein, a potent antioxidant. Black and dark red kidney beans are rich in potassium, and chickpeas are a great source of magnesium. Moreover, beans provide plant-based protein, which is healthier and more nutrient-dense than animal protein. Combining beans with whole grains ensures a nutritionally complete protein source, similar to what is found in meat.

In blue zones like Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Okinawa, Japan, legumes are a staple in traditional dishes. Costa Ricans start their day with Gallo Pinto, a combination of beans cooked down to a gravy and mixed with yesterday's white rice, which undergoes a beneficial starch transformation overnight. Okinawans consume tofu with almost every meal, often in chunky miso soup, where tofu absorbs flavors beautifully when broken into smaller pieces.

Scientific studies support the health benefits of consuming legumes, validating the wisdom of those living in blue zones. Regular bean consumption has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, stabilized blood sugar, reduced risk of heart disease, and increased lifespan. Beans can also aid in weight loss, with studies showing that individuals who eat up to 9 ounces of beans per day lose more weight compared to those who don't.

In addition to their health benefits, beans are affordable and can be grown at home in various soils. This accessibility makes them an excellent food source for economically disadvantaged populations, offering an opportunity to improve longevity.

To overcome the potential gas issue associated with beans, Buettner suggests gradually introducing them into the diet. Start with a small amount, such as a couple of tablespoons per day, and gradually increase the quantity over two weeks. This allows the gut microbiome to adjust, minimizing gas production.

If you're looking to incorporate beans into your diet, here's a recipe for Sardinian Minestrone Soup:

Ingredients:

⅓ pound dried garbanzo beans (¾ cup)

⅓ pound dried white beans (¾ cup)

⅓ cup dried pinto or red beans

4 to 6 stalks of celery

1 ½ cups potatoes

4 to 6 carrots, preferably organic

1 medium onion (white or yellow)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 to 8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper

Low-sodium vegetable stock (optional)

1 14-ounce can chopped or stewed tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

Salt to taste

Freshly sliced avocado (for serving)

Freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)

Instructions:

Soak the dried beans overnight. Drain them and microwave in a separate bowl of water for 10 minutes while preparing the vegetables.

In a large pot over low heat, sauté the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and pepper flakes in olive oil until the onion pieces become translucent.

Rinse and drain the beans, then add them to the pot along with 6 to 8 cups of water (or vegetable stock). Add the tomatoes, potatoes, oregano, and bay leaf. Slow cook over low heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours until the beans are tender. Season with salt.

When ready to serve, top the soup with sliced avocado and/or grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy the flavors of this Sardinian Minestrone Soup, and explore the countless possibilities of incorporating legumes into your meals for a longer, healthier life!

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About the Creator

evans

I am a dedicated content writer, fuelled by a fervor for crafting captivating and informative articles that leave a lasting impact.

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