Blue Zones

Live Longer, Better

Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia

 

Geography

Sardinia, a Mediterranean island 120 miles off the coast of Italy hosts the world’s longest-lived men.  This region has traditionally been home to shepherds, who pasture their sheep across the rugged, sun-beaten terrain. In a cluster of 17 white washed villages in island’s highland Nuoro, Province, you find nearly10 times the number of centenarians per 1000 people than you do in America.

Background

This Blue Zone is rich in male centenarians, who primarily work as farmers or shepherds. Historically, Sardinia was repeatedly invaded, conquered and exploited by outsiders discovered the area’s riches and charms. As a result, the native people developed an intense dedication to their families and communities, a language that still has Latin remnants and perhaps, the key to longevity.

Longevity Highlights

Have an Attitude
Sardinians maintain a positive attitude towards their elders and take time out of their days to stop and enjoy the simple beauty of their surroundings. They foster a sarcastic sense of humor, and a unique outlook and perspective on life. This attitude helps them shed stress and diffuse arguments before they start.

Drink Goat’s Milk and Eat Sardinian Longevity Foods
Sardinians consume milk and cheese, not from dairy cows but from goats. The goats in this region have a unique quality. They eat dwarf curry, a plant currently used in the U.S. to make anti-inflammatory drugs. Sardinians also consume large quantities of dark red wine, fava beans, and barley.

Just Walk
You don’t need to run marathons to get and stay healthy! Sardinian centenarians walked long distances their entire lives and suffer from half as many fractures as their Italian counterparts. Men here work typically as shepherds, walking miles a day over the rough terrain with their flocks.

Lessons from Sardinia

  1. Eat a plant-based, bean rich diet accented with pecorino (sheep cheese) and goat’s milk, using meat as an accent, rather than the main dish.
  2. Put family first. People who have strong family ties have lower rates of depression and stress.
  3. Respect and celebrate elders. Grandparents can help raise healthier, better adjusted children by providing love, wisdom and motivation.
  4. Take a walk. Sardinian shepherd walk 5 miles a day. Regular exercise can boost mood and benefits muscle and bone metabolism.
  5. Drink a glass of red wine. Cannanau, a Sardinian red wine, has three times the level of antioxidants and flavonoids compared to other wines. This makes it particularly beneficial for heart health.
  6. Laugh with friends. The word, ‘sardonic,’ or wry sense of humor, originates in Sardinia. Gathering daily to laugh with friends is key to shedding daily stresses.