A couple of centuries ago, we see that humans lived a healthy life and life expectancy was higher than what we see in the present. In today’s world, to expect to live over 100 years would be building a castle in the air. In India, the average life expectancy of a male is 67.4 years and for a female is 70.3 years and we rank at 125 in the world. With this survey conducted by WHO, it is questionable as to how Indians had a life expectancy of over 100 years a few centuries back.
Nevertheless, India has 11000 to 20000 centenarians alive, as per an article in a leading daily. With these numbers, the desire to live as a centenarian may not be ambitious. However, if they can do it, so can we! We cannot say how conscious these centenarians would have been to their lifestyle and health. While we do understand that the seniors of the 100 club might have believed in walking more, as centuries back automobile were not common, the question still is unanswered how life expectancy was more than present. To solve this mystery, we had to look for the secrecy in their diet and nutrition. How were they able to have a complete meal and how it helped them to be in the 100’s club?
With respect to life expectancy around the world, there are countries who fall into the blue zone category. Blue zones are the places in the world where people live for 100 years and follow a healthy lifestyle. There are five blue zones:
- The Italian island of Sardinia
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula
- Ikaria, an isolated Greek island
There are few active Indian centenarians like Coluthar Gopalan who is a nutritionist, Man Kaur, who is an athelete and V Nanammal who is a yoga teacher.
With all the conundrum about a healthy and balanced diet, let’s look for the secret dietary habits which most of the centenarians may have followed to live longer.
It is observed that people who live longer have a strict routine about the time, they also believed in eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Most of the nutritionist also suggest to have a heavy breakfast and restrict the meal to three in a day. Gradually reducing the portion of meals by the end of the makes the digestion and intestinal system good.
Another secret mantra of a healthy balanced diet which most of the centenarians do follow is fasting. Fasting in such a way so as to schedule the time of eating to 8 hours of the day and allowing the body to absorb and digest a meal for 6 to 12 hours. Recent studies show that scheduling your meal may help to recalibrate insulin release, allowing a break to the pancreas.
Home Cooked Food
It was observed in people of the blue zone that they rely on food cooked in their home rather than visiting a restaurant. They believe, by cooking at home they can alter the ingredients and can have a variety of food in one meal. Also, cooking which includes an activity like standing, stirring, kneading, etc. may burn 100 to 300 calories which is another bonus to cook at home.
Share the Table
People in the blue zone tend to celebrate every meal, they often spend hours with multiple courses of a meal. Also, having food with your loved ones make the time enjoyable and tend to free the mind giving mental peace. Also, studies show that eating fast may lead to overeating, which causes obesity.
In the end, we cannot ignore the benefit of sleeping peacefully for the right amount of time. Our body functions more than it does while we are awake and hence it important for everyone to have a sleep of at least 6-7 hours a day.
At last, it doesn’t look like there is any secret recipe to live longer, it is just awareness and patience to understand the balance in your day to day life. Giving more time to enjoy a meal and celebrating frequently with friends and family is the key to a happy meal. Although, it is the long term process of eating what is right and continuing it for decades which will show a better result.
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