One big commonality of all these places where centenarians rule? They all eat diets that rely heavily on plant foods. In his book, The Blue Zones Solution, Dan Buettner identifies the places in the world where people live the longest, or what he has termed "Blue Zones".
Emulate what some of the oldest living people actually eat, and you might just boost your longevity.
If one indicator of health is that you're having sex, well, it's no surprise that Ikarians are living longer than most - preliminary studies actually show that roughly 80 percent of Ikarian males between 65 and 85 are still knocking boots. Where does that energy come from? Likely their "extreme and unique" version of the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, wild greens, potatoes, feta cheese, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lemons, Mediterranean herbs, coffee and honey.
Okinawans who are over age 65 (that is, those who grew up eating a more traditional diet without the fast food that's infiltrated the eating habits of younger Japanese) have the world's highest life expectancy: Eighty for men and 88 for women. Their top longevity foods include bitter melon (which is actually a gourd), tofu, a purple variety of sweet potato, garlic, turmeric, brown rice, green tea, shiitake mushrooms and seaweeds (kombu and wakame).
In most parts of the world, for every man who makes it to 100, there are five women who do, too. But here, the ratio is 1:1, and that's not because women die young, but because men elude heart disease longer. Sardinians' top longevity foods are whole-grain breads including pan carasau, carta da musica, orgiathu, and moddizzosu, fennel, fava beans and chickpeas, tomatoes, pecorino cheese, almonds, milk thistle, barley and cannonau wine.
Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula
People of Nicoya reach the ripe old age of 90 at rates up to two and a half times greater than the average American by dodging heart disease, many types of cancer and diabetes. The real kicker: they spend about 1/15th of what we do on healthcare. Their top longevity foods include corn tortillas, various squashes, papaya, yams, black beans, bananas and plantains and pejivalles, small orange fruits local to Central America.
Loma Linda, California
Loma Linda has the highest concentration of Seventh Day Adventists in the U.S., most of whom follow a plant-based diet with small amounts of dairy and fish. Their top longevity foods include avocados, salmon, nuts, beans, lots of water (six to eight glasses daily), porridge, whole wheat bread and unsweetened soy milk.