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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Can diet help you live longer?

    How would you like to have dinner with a longevity expert?  What questions would you ask about how to live a longer life?   Well, a New York Times reporter did have dinner with the longevity expert, Dan Buettner.  So what advice does a longevity expert offer?   
      1.  Coffee according to Buettner, coffee is “one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the American diet”,  He notes Greeks living on the Greek island, Icaria, drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day.  These are people who often live to 100.    
      2.  Focus on veggies and herbs – to prepare an evening meal, Buettner purchase fennel, broccoli, celery, carrots, chickpeas   
      3.  Add Honey – local honey, and Tofu, coconut milk, frozen berries 
      4.  Walk – exercise is important to a long life and walking is one of Buettner’s approved ways to exercise as those living in the “Blue Zones” walk a lot.  
       5.   Is butter back?  Although some are saying butter is fine, Buettner notes a dollop or two a week may be fine but he is not yet on the butter is good for you bandwagon.   
       6.  Meat and fish – not a true vegetarian but those in the Blue Zones eat meat and fish sparingly.  This would be hard for me as I love cheese and like most Americans, I enjoy some meat in my diet.    
    7. “Icarian stew” made by Buettner consisted of black-eyed peas, fennel, onions, garlic, carrots, canned tomatoes, other veggies and some olive oil.  Sounds healthy but I would need to add some ham or other meat for a real stew.   
       8.  Bread – he doesn’t shun carbs, gluten or bread.  Good news for me as I love bread and it isn’t a meal if it doesn’t have bread. 

So how does Buettnner fair health wise?  To get an accurate assessment he went to the renowned Mayo Clinic to get an executive physical.  His arteries were clear.  What does Buettner have to say about the popular Paleo Diet?  “He joked the paleo diet is fine if all you want is the life expectancy of a cave man.”  And cave men didn’t lead long lives.  

Buettner authored a book about longevity, The Blue Zones.  It focuses on 5 communities with lessons from those who have lived the longest.  You can go to his website, and take your Vitality Compass, to calculate how long you might live and also get information from the Vitality Coach.  

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