Health

These cusines could help you live longer

Published 5:26 AM ET, Wed September 28, 2016
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It's no secret that certain populations around the world live longer and produce a greater number of centenarians than many others. But just how do they do it? Recent research has some of the answers. Shutterstock
The island of Okinawa in Japan has become synonymous with longevity, due in large part to the diet and lifestyles of the people living there. Meals are heavily plant-based with small portions of fish or meat, often stir-fried together to produce dishes that are rich in protein, but low in calories. Shutterstock
Okinawan diets commonly have fish as the source protein in meals, obtained fresh from the market. John S Lander/LightRocket/Getty Images
With turquoise blue seas and fresh fish at their fingertips, it's not hard to see why people in Okinawa live such long, healthy lives. Shutterstock
The Blue Zones is the name given to the five world regions celebrated for the health and longevity of their populations. Second on the list is Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica, where this 101-year-old woman hails from. Gianluca Colla/National Geographic/Getty Images
Lush jungle-covered mountains stretch out into the Gulf of Nicoya next to the rocky and sandy beach of Ballena Bay in Costa Rica. Shutterstock
The Nicoyan diet consists of lye-fortified corn tortillas and beans. This diet, sometimes combined with a small portion of meat, gives the locals the energy to do whatever they want -- or at least to feel that way. Gianluca Colla/National Geographic/Getty Images
Native tubors, such as yams, are a common ingredient. Pictured, a traditional Costa Rican casado meal with rice, beans and plantain. Shutterstock
The third Blue Zone is another island community: Ikaria, Greece. Gianluca Colla/National Geographic/Getty Images
The Ikarian diet includes fruits, vegetables, beans, fish and olive oil. Gianluca Colla/National Geographic/Getty Images
Active lifestyles in combination with healthy, balanced meals eaten early are revered as being the key to living a long and healthy life. Pictured, a 99-year-old man on a daily three-mile uphill walk to tend a herd of goats on Ikaria. Gianluca Colla/National Geographic/Getty Images
The fourth of the Blue Zones is Sardinia, Italy, where diets again include fresh fish from the sea surrounding the island region. As with Ikaria, an agrarian lifestyle is also key to the healthy diets consumed by the population. Shutterstock
These traditional breads are part of the regular diet in Sardinia, Italy. DIEGO M. ROSSI/De Agostini/Getty Images
The fifth Blue Zone is in Loma Linda, a small city in San Bernardino, California. The city is populated by a community of Seventh-day Adventists who owe their longevity to a predominantly vegan diet combined with strict rules regarding rest and exercise. Shutterstock
Spices like turmeric and ginger have been lauded as having anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which can reduce risk of mortality, but more evidence to prove their benefits is needed. Frank Bienewald/LightRocket/Getty Images
Tapas-eating cultures are also thought to be beneficial by experts as the small portion sizes help limit the quantity of food people consume, lowering their calorie intake. Jasper Juinen/Getty Images