What should you be eating right now to live a long and happy life? The average human lifespan is currently 71 years. In this blog we look at foods packed with vitality that are eaten by those who live the longest, and happiest lives according to the World Happiness Report.
Sticky rice and fermented cabbage
The group of people who live longest on the planet are the South Koreans who eat ‘kimchi’ (a fermented cabbage, garlic and pepper dish) with almost every meal. The life expectancy for South Koreans is soon to be over 90 years! Fermented foods have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer and lower cholesterol as has their daily practice of meditation and mindfulness. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut may be easier to include in your diet as a South African.
Tofu, sweet potato and a little bit of fish
A small group of southern Japanese islands known as Okinawa or ‘the land of immortals’ is home to more than 400 centenarians. The elderly community that lives here are socially and physically active which may also explain their high quality of life.
Olive oil, vegetables and wine
In Spain this healthy Mediterranean diet combined with the way it is eaten means that residents live well into their 80s. What appears to be so powerful is their cultural practice of stopping work at 2pm to walk home and eat a big meal slowly, together, followed by a delicious nap known as a ‘siesta’.
Noodles, rice and seafood
Those living in Singapore base their diet around these three food pillars. Although heavy in carbohydrates, the locals easily use up these calories as they exercise in parks and gyms across the city.
As you can see, how the food is eaten is as important as what the food is. Shoveling these foods in as fast you can in your lunch break is not going to help you live longer. However, finding a way to feed your body the nutrients, social interaction, physical activity and rest that it needs will ultimately help you live a longer, healthier life.
What diet appeals to you most and which cultural practice would you love to take on board?