Eating for LongevityMarch 18, 2019
In modern day societies, nutrition has become a complicated subject. We have big food companies with the goal of making money and not so much of a goal to provide the public with nutritious, wholesome food. Nowadays navigating the grocery store requires skill, knowledge and discipline. As we focus on Nutrition throughout the month of March, think about this – keep your diet simple and eat foods that don’t come with nutrition labels.
Eat Foods in their Original Form
Think about it. Foods at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and other tailgate markets in town that do not have a packaging are considered the optimal choice for health. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and dairy products. These types of foods are what our bodies are meant to live off of; not factory made, prepackaged, artificially flavored, chemical heavy “foods.”
One of the Blue Zones located in the Nicoya Peninsula where many centenarians live quality lives has a typical diet that consists of beans, rice, tortillas, eggs and various fruits. The diet in the area has been this way for many decades dating back to the 1950’s. Here in the United States, the food and regular diet of our citizens has changed and evolved over time to become not so much food but as author Michael Pollan would say, “edible food-like substances.”
This month try to focus on eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. In other words, eat foods that look like they have been picked from the ground or off of a tree. If you eat meat, eat a specific cut of humanely raised, non-GMO meat and not a chicken nugget or processed hot dog. Choose real butter over margarine and taste the difference in “real” food rather than “edible food-like substances.”
Whole Foods are best for Longevity and the Environment
If we can stray away from packaged products and focus on whole foods we can provide our bodies with top quality health as well as the environment. Your body, mind and soul will feel the difference in eating from the Earth rather than from factory and chemically made food.
Some of the benefits to eating this way are fewer rates of cancer, obesity, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Eating whole foods also helps us mentally and emotionally. In the Nicoya Peninsula the rates of stomach cancer are lower compared to the rest of the country due to the diet. In this area, gardening is a major part of life. The people eat from the Earth and mainly from what they grow in their personal gardens. They are in control of what goes into the soil to grow their food and in control of how the plants are harvested and then cooked. It may create more work but the payoff is huge in relation to longevity, food costs and overall health with time. You too can be like the Nicoyans if you put some simple practices into place. Try shopping the perimeter of the grocery store where the whole foods are, shop from farmer’s markets every week when they are operating in season, grow a garden and stay away from extremely processed foods as realistically as possible, and keep quality of life and our environment (Mother Earth) in mind as your main motivators to eat for longevity.