The island of Sardinia, Italy, one of the five Blue Zones


Longevity Eats from the World's Blue Zones

"If you want to live to a healthy 100, eat like healthy people who've lived to 100."
Powerful first lines for a cookbook, right? They're from The Blue Zones Kitchen by journalist, author and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner, who discovered the five places in the world where people live the longest, healthiest and happiest lives. These communities are far-flung—from Italy to Japan to Costa Rica—but they all follow a common formula. They move naturally every 20 minutes, whether walking, gardening or chores. They're social—and we're talking #IRL face to face here. They have a sense of purpose and responsibility, for their families and future generations.
And then, of course, there's the food factor. Diets in these areas, which Buettner has dubbed the Blue Zones, tend to use fewer ingredients and are heavy on beans, fiber, nuts and cruciferous vegetables. Below are some of our favorite recipes from the book, which includes an index of longevity ingredients, like papaya, kohlrabi, yuca and turmeric. And good news: red wine (Sardinia's Cannonau) is on the list, too.
Sardinia, Italy
Mini Sweet Potato Tarts
Serves 6
4 large sweet potatoes (red, white, yellow or orange)
1 large ready-made pie crust or 12 mini phyllo shells
2 tbsp oatmeal
2 tbsp pecans, crushed
2 tbsp maple sugar or brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Bake potatoes with skin on for 45 minutes. You can do this in advance.
When done and cool enough to handle, slip potatoes out of skins. Potatoes will be soft; mash in a bowl.
Cut pie crust into six 3- to 4-inch rounds. Press rounds into a muffin tin and freeze for at least 10 minutes.
Bake the crusts for 12 minutes at 375°.
Meanwhile, combine oats, crushed pecans and maple sugar together in a small bowl.
Remove crusts from oven and fill with mashed sweet potatoes. Bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and top with nut and oat crumble.
Bake mini pies for another 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Ikaria, Greece
Ikarian Longevity Stew
Serves 4
1 c dried black-eyed peas (or 8-ounce can, drained)
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 large, firm ripe tomato, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato paste, diluted in 1/4 c water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
Salt (optional)
If using dried black-eyed peas: Cover with water and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for an hour. Drain and rinse. (If using canned black-eyed peas, skip this step.)
In a large pot, heat half the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic and fennel, stirring occasionally, until soft, for about 12 minutes.
Add the black-eyed peas and toss to coat with oil. Add the tomato, tomato paste and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the bay leaves.
Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the black-eyed peas are about halfway cooked (if using dried peas). Check after 40 minutes, but it may take over an hour. If using canned, skip to next step after 10 minutes.
Add the chopped dill and season with salt to taste. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and pick out and discard the bay leaves. Pour in remaining olive oil, stir and serve.
Okinawa, Japan
Foamy Golden Milk
Serves 2
2 c coconut, cashew or almond milk (unsweetened and unflavored)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch ground pepper
Honey or agave (optional)
In a small soup pot, heat all ingredients except for sweetener over low-medium heat. Stir as needed.
Use an electric frother or whisk to create a foamy consistency.
Remove from heat and divide into two mugs. Sweet with honey or agave, if using.
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