We all know that living a long and healthy life is dependent on many things, with a combination of good genes and healthy lifestyle choices being at the top of the list. Sardinians have been blessed with amazing genes, and have also adopted one of the healthiest lifestyles on earth, which makes it one of the few places in the world considered a Blue Zone.
A small cluster of villages in the Barbagia region of Sardinia make up the first Blue Zone ever discovered. For every 100,000 people living in Sardinia there are about 24 centenarians, but in the Blue Zone there are three to five times as many. Many research teams have studied this area, investigating a rare genetic trait that is carried by its inhabitants. This gene is linked to exceptional longevity, and due to the region’s geographic isolation, the genes of the residents have remained mostly undiluted, plus they have maintained a very traditional and healthy lifestyle. Many Sardinians live relatively stress-free and still hunt, fish and grow the food they consume.
Want to live a long, happy, and healthy life like the Sardinians? Sardinia’s 5 secrets to longevity should give you a basic foundation to get you started!
1) Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat
The classic Sardinian diet consists of a largely plant-based diet, with an emphasis on whole-grains, beans (in particular fava beans), legumes such as chickpeas, and garden produce. Sardinians also traditionally eat pecorino cheese which is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Meat is largely reserved for Sundays and special occasions, and Sardinians consume a variety of lean meats, including organ meats.
2) Drink goat’s milk
Goat’s milk and goat’s milk products such as pecorino cheese are consumed regularly. A glass of goat’s milk contains components that might help protect against inflammatory diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Goat’s milk is also rich in zinc and selenium, which are essential for optimal immune system activity and to promote healthy aging.
3) Put family first
Sardinians have incredibly strong family values, which helps assure that every member of the family is cared for, regardless of the situation or their physical ailment. Most elderly people are cared for at home, as opposed to being sent to retirement or old age homes. People who live in strong, healthy families suffer lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress.
4) Daily activity
As in many rural areas around the world, Sardinians partake in daily physical activity, whether it be walking to the local supermarket or tending to their gardens. Walking daily or moderate daily activity has all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, plus a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism.
5) Drink a glass (or two) of red wine daily
Sardinians drink wine moderately, which in Italian terms means at least once a day, usually at dinner. Homemade wine is what you’ll most often find on dinner tables however, Cannonau wine, one of Sardinian’s most distinctive wines, is always a favourite too. It has two or three times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines.