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Eating for health and longevity.

April 20, 2011

Tomato, broad bean and avocado salad with mung bean sprouts.

In my post about living healthier lives, I spoke of people who live in the Blue Zones of the world. In these areas scientists are studying the habits of the people who are the healthiest and live longer and fuller lives than anyone else on the planet. These people suffer substantially less from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and other diseases which are known to shorten our lives. It is remarkable that all these people have several things in common. One of which is that they all consume large amounts of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains like lentils and beans.

In fact, vegetables, grains and fruit make up over 70% by weight, of the Okinawa diet.  Meat, poultry and eggs only account for 3% of their diet. They also consume Soya, some fish and drink unsweetened green tea. In other Blue Zone areas where people are living longer and healthier lives we see similar patterns.

The diet of the people of Sardinia, Italy also consists mainly of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains especially fava beans and a thin whole wheat bread called Carta de Musica. Once again, meat and fish make up a very small portion of these people’s diet. In Sardinia they eat less fish and a little more dairy in the form of a hard cheese obtained from the milk of grass fed sheep. The cheese called Pecorino Sard is very rich in Omega 3. The people of this region also enjoy a glass or two of a very dark red wine called Cannonau, which is said to contain the largest amount of antioxidants than any other red wine in the world.

On the Greek Island of Ikaria you will also find proof of longevity and health. On this island people eat once again ( do you see a pattern yet?) fresh vegetables, whole grains, fruit, beans and lots of olive oil. They also enjoy drinking cups of  mint and wild camomile tea. Ikarians also consume goats milk daily. The milk contains anti-bacterial compounds and the hormone tryptophan which is a natural anti-depressant and lowers blood pressure.

The important thing about looking at the dietary and living habits of these people is that it provides us with living proof and evidence of a way of life that works. There are no fad diets here. There are no opinions. There is only scientific proof. I believe that we can only understand nutrition if we look at truth and science.

With this in mind, we can only conclude that yes, eating a diet based mainly on vegetables and salads, or rabbit food, as so many people like to call it, is in fact the only way to go should you choose a life free of disease. In fact the traditional food pyramid has changed and the people living in the Blue Zones are living proof that. Our diets should consist mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables. Then whole grains, which includes beans and pulses then protein in the form of meat, fish and eggs and then fats (although olive oil is an exception) followed by the tiniest portion, if at all, of sugar.

In my quest of trying to boost my immune system, thereby giving my body a fighting chance against viral infections and candida, I am including more salads and vegetables into my diet than ever before. Try out these great salads for a boost to your health and digestion…

Tomato, broad bean and avocado salad with mung bean sprouts.

For this salad I  used frozen broad beans. You first have to cook them for a few minutes in boiling water. About 3 to 5 minutes, check the packet instructions. Then pour off the boiling water and run some cold water over them in order to cool them. While they are cooling in a colander, prepare the other ingredients.

Wash and chop a few ripe tomatoes and place them in a salad bowl. For 4 people you probably need about 5 medium tomatoes.

Then cut your avo in half, split it, discard the stone and  peel the skin off . Cut the avo into chunks and sprinkle it with a little lemon juice to prevent it from discolouring. Add it to the bowl along with the tomato.

Add a small handful of mung bean sprouts. I bought a packet in the vegetable section of the supermarket. You can also sprout your own.

Now for the broad beans. You need to pop them out of their hard outer skins. This takes a little time, but it is well worth it. You simply pop them out of the skins and add these beautiful bright green beans to the salad. The boiling would have caused the skins to burst slightly so it is not at all difficult to pop them out.

Lastly add some torn fresh basil leaves which are just perfect with the tomatoes.

For the salad dressing I simply mix olive oil with the juice of a half a lemon or more to taste and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I use lemon juice in all of my salads now, simply because vinegar is not allowed on the candida diet. Lemons are also incredibly cleansing and soothing to the digestive system so you can have as much of them as you like.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2011 4:18 PM

    Hi I like this report and it was so informational and I am gonna bookmark it. One thing to say the Indepth analysis this article has is greatly remarkable. No one goes that extra mile these days? Bravo!! Just one more tip you can get a Translator for your Worldwide Readers !!!

    • April 20, 2011 9:48 PM

      Thank you for your positive comments. I sure will look into the translation thing…

  2. June 25, 2011 1:58 AM

    This is such a pretty salad. Who wouldn’t want to eat healthfully with food prepared so beautifully and mindfully?

    Family Fresh Cooking and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other entrees in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs. We have a fabulous Ile De France Cheese giveaway. You just need to link up on one site.

Love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a comment.

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