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  • Writer's pictureYimin Xu

The remarkable secrets of living to 100 - the healthy ways of Sardinians

With the right lifestyle choices, the human body is more than capable of living past 100 years old. We could take many useful notes by visiting the world’s longest-living populations from the Blue Zones. One of these places is Sardinia, which has twice the number of centenarians as the rest of the world. In the town of Perdasdefogu, the number of centenarians is 13 times the national average of Italy[1]. More remarkably, the ratio of men and women reaching 100 is nearly 1:1 in certain parts of Sardinia such as Ogliastra, compared with the normal range of 1:4 or more[2].


The Sardinian lifestyle


The Blue Zones study shows that in terms of diet, the Sardinian centenarians eat a primarily whole-food plant-based diet. Only 5% of their diet comes from meat, fish or poultry[3]. Meat is not considered an everyday part of the meal and is enjoyed on occasions. Sardinians eat much less fish than a traditional Mediterranean diet[4]. 47% of the diet consists of whole grains too. This dispels the myth that “eating carbs is bad”. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and come with plenty of protein, minerals, and fibre.


Indeed, longevity is beyond just eating the right food. It is driven by one’s overall lifestyle. Sardinians have strong family values and vibrant communities. They also enjoy plenty of physical activities such as long walks or gardening. These are all key to a healthy, happy life.


What is the difference between the Sardinian diet and whole-food plant-based?


The biggest difference between the Sardinian diet and a whole-food plant-based diet is dairy. Sardinians consume grass-fed sheep and goat’s milk and cheese. On a whole-food plant-based diet, we do avoid dairy. We will dive into the specific reasons for this in a future article, but generally dairy contains a lot of unsaturated fats and cholesterol, while nearly 70% of the world’s population are also lactose intolerant[5].


The whole-food plant-based lifestyle


At Plantwise, we see the whole-food plant-based diet as a healthy lifestyle choice, that goes alongside meaningful connections, regular exercises, stress management, and good sleep. While making overnight changes can be difficult, you could start enjoying the immense benefits of this healthy choice by making incremental changes. For example, embrace a whole-food plant-based lunch that is both light and nutritious. Designate a weekday with your partner or family for whole-food plant-based dinners. This will help you look forward to the occasion, with creative ideas about cooking something different to the usual.


Finally, if you need help on delicious food pairing ideas or keeping up with nutrition, the Plantwise app is here to help. Sign up for our Apple App Store launch at the bottom of this page or on our homepage today for free!

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