5 of the World’s Healthiest Foods

Diana J. Smith

Jenelle Croatto APD
 
Among all of the incredibly nutritious foods out there, is it possible to pick a top 5?
 
Where would we even begin?
 
Well, across the globe there are pockets of people who quietly go about their day, living longer and more healthful lives than anywhere else on the planet.
 
These pockets have come to be known as the world’s Blue Zones – a termed coined by Natural Geographic Fellow and journalist Dan Buettner.
 
Blue Zones are home to the people of the world who live longer than anyone else.
 
What leads the inhabitants of Blue Zones to reach triple digits is not only what they eat – but how they keep active, find purpose, have a sense of belonging and remain purposely engaged throughout their entire life.  
 
Interestingly, while dietary patterns vary between each Blue Zone, they all share one commonality – a diet based on plants.
 
Let’s take a look at some of the exceptionally potent foods from each of the Blue Zone regions.
 
Purple Sweet Potato – Okinawa (Japan)
 
Not only does this cousin of the orange sweet potato feature in a traditional Okinawan diet – it accounts for whopping 67% of it! Rich in fibre, low GI carbohydrates, carotenoids and vitamin C – the sweet potato has been Okinawan staple since the 17th century. To make full use of the sweet potato plant, the leaves are also eaten in miso soup
 
Cannonau Di Sardegna – Sardinia (Italy)
 
This robust, ruby elixir is a type of red wine that Sardinians enjoy each and every day. Not only are the health benefits thought to be due to the flavonoids present in the wine, but also how it is enjoyed – alongside a meal and in jovial company.
 
Black Beans – Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica)
 
Typically paired with rice and corn tortillas, black beans are eaten everyday – if not at every meal. As with all legumes, black beans are a terrific source of protein, resistant starch (fuel for healthy gut bacteria) and contain impressive amounts of iron. The vivid dark purple colour is thanks to anthocyanins, a powerful phytonutrient which helps protect against free radical damage. 
 
Lemon – Ikaria (Greece)

In what may strike a sour note in those who happen not to like them, lemons are foundational components of the Ikarian diet. A critical ingredient for their daily tea, the people of this tiny Greek Island do not underestimate the rich nutritive value of a fruit which is easy to overlook.
Lemons, for the record, are incredibly rich in a wide array of phytochemical compounds including terpenes, tannins and polyphenols.

ArtichokeLoma Linda (California, US)
In a region of the world where they follow what is sometimes referred to as the “Garden Of Eden” diet, it should come as no surprise that a leafy plant would round off this list.
California grows an astonishing 99% of America’s artichoke, so this very much a home-grown food for the people of Loma Linda. So many things could be said about this generally under-appreciated vegetable, but I will leave you with the fact that a 100 gram serving of artichoke has more dietary fibre than 100 gram serving of broccoli AND 100 gram serving of Brussels sprouts combined. Never cooked or prepared artichoke before? Take a look at this useful step-by-step guide.

So, there you have it, five foods with tremendous nutritional value!

Whether it be one of these Blue Zones standouts or simply eating more of the plant foods you already consume (but do cap the red wine,) I guarantee your body will love the extra nourishment. 

Want to live a long and healthy life?

Eat more plants.  It’s that simple.

Article developed in conjunction with Andy De Santis – Kaleigraphy – https://andytherd.com/Kaleigraphy/

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