The Foods to Eat Daily to Live a Super Long Life
At age 44, cardiologist John Day, MD was overworked and dreaming of retirement. That is until he heard of a region in remote China where people regularly lived to be over 100 with no signs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or cancer. So, he and his family packed up their lives and moved to the village of Bapan in China to see, first-hand, the secret to their healthy lives.
In The Longevity Plan, written with his wife, Jane, Dr. Day shares seven key habits he observed the villagers living out every day during the year he spent with them. The great news is is that it’s 100 percent possible for you to incorporate these habits into your own life. It’s time to make your new healthy living guide, as told by the oldest people in the world.
The first three things to add to your checklist for a superhuman lifespan are to know your life’s purpose, surround yourself with positive people, and move your body as much as you can. These are your long term goals to live by. These are your intentions.
Now, let’s move on to the diet necessary to live long lives like the people of Bapan. The first thing to take note of is this advice from Dr. Day: “Processed foods and added sugar have never shown to have a health benefit. Cutting them out is 90 percent of a healthy diet right there,” he says. Not a huge secret and it can’t be reiterated enough: cut out the crap in your diet.
Here is the list of things to add more of in order to live longer:
Fill your plate with plants
Dr. Day found that veggies made up the bulk of the villagers’ foods to eat daily. He observed that they picked their own produce and ate what they picked that same day. Due to the remoteness of the village, they were basically cut off from sugars and processed foods. Day explains, “If you wanted any, it was an eight-day round trip by foot.” That would be some serious dedication to get some ice cream.
It came as a surprise to us to find that meat actually comes second in the Bapan villager’s diets. “They didn’t have livestock or even chickens for eggs because armies would invade the village and steal them in times of extreme poverty,” Dr. Day explains. “But they do eat fish about twice a week.” You may have also noticed as well that dairy is missing in this list. Dairy doesn’t exist at all in their diet.
Dr. Day noticed one vegetable showing up on his plate more than others: sweet potatoes. The villagers eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, according to Dr. Day.
For breakfast, the villagers ate a cornmeal porridge made fresh that morning, with cooked chunks of sweet potatoes. For lunch and dinner, it was used in stir-fries and soups. Dr. Day says sweet potatoes were served up several times a week.
Eat fruit for dessert
Once Dr. Day started eating what the villagers ate, his cravings for desserts completely went away. “If you change your environment so that you’re not tempted, that longing for sugary treats goes away,” he says. “It’s not even about having strong willpower because you won’t even be craving it.”
The villagers only had access to natural sugar, (fruit) so that’s what they craved. Fresh lychees, mangoes, and papayas are their sweet dessert of choice. Not to mention the added bonus of being packed with vitamins and minerals. All good things.
Curl up with “longevity soup”
According to Dr. Day, several times a week villagers in Bapan ate a milky gray soup that goes by the name of “longevity soup.” The broth is made with hemp seeds, which are packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. And there are only two other ingredients in this staple dish: pumpkin greens (the leaves and stalks) and salt.
While the pumpkin stalks and leaves aren’t as easy to come by here in the States—unless you grow your own—adding another green, such as spinach, won’t hurt the nutritional value of the dish one bit.
Living a long life expands outside of your diet. Being active and creating strong relationships makes for a longer life as well. However, making these changes to your diet is sure to add years to your lovely life, so make it happen!