To live like a Sardinian, try the following practices.
Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat.
The classic Sardinian diet consists of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and, in some parts of the island, mastic oil. Sardinians also traditionally eat pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep, whose cheese is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Meat is largely reserved for Sundays and special occasions.
Put family first.
Sardinia’s strong family values help assure that every member of the family is cared for. People who live in strong, healthy families suffer lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress.
Drink goat’s milk.
A glass of goats milk contains components that might help protect against inflammatory diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Grandparents can provide love, childcare, financial help, wisdom, and expectations/motivation to perpetuate traditions and push children to succeed in their lives. This may all add up to a healthier, better adjusted, and longer-lived children. It may give the overall population a life expectancy bump.
Take a walk.
Walking five miles a day or more as Sardinian shepherds do provides all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, and also has a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism without the joint-pounding of running marathons or triathlons.
Drink a glass or two of red wine daily.
Sardinians drink wine moderately. Cannonau wine has two or three times the level of artery-scrubbing flavonoids as other wines. Moderate wine consumption may help explain the lower levels of stress among men.
Laugh with friends.
Men in this Blue Zone are famous for their sardonic sense of humor. They gather in the street each afternoon to laugh with and at each other. Laughter reduces stress, which can lower one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
This is an excerpt from Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest by Dan Buettner, copyright 2008, all rights reserved.
February 2, 2012