Tag Archives: longevity diets

Okinawan Sweet Potato Boosts Your Anti-Aging Defenses

Okinawan Sweet Potato Boosts Your Anti-Aging DefensesIn the village of Ogimi, famous for its high ratio of Centenarians, as much as three times higher than most Western Nations, Michael and I found the richly colored deep purple Okinawan sweet potato to be a staple of their daily diet. This vibrant potato, rich in flavor and packed with nutritional benefits has long been thought to be one of the reasons the Okinawans are among the world’s longest-living people and suffer far less from common diseases associated with the aging process, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

The Okinawan sweet potato, not related to the potato, is actually part of the morning-glory family, a vine coveted for its beautiful deep purple flower. Native to the Americas, the “Okinawan” sweet potato was brought to Japan sometime between 1492 and 1605 and after World War II, became a staple of the native survivors left on the island of Okinawa because it was such a hardy crop.

Not only high in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese, they are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron and have been shown to improve blood sugar regulation and insulin production. More recent studies have discovered significant antibacterial and anti fungal properties, yet another indicator of why the Okinawan Centenarians maintain remarkably vibrant health.

The primary nutritional benefit, and the one for which Okinawan sweet potatoes are especially prized, is their high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants help to guard against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh, is the same anthocyanin pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage their color. The Okinawan sweet potato actually has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries.

These little purple powerhouses are also a rich source of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone.) This is a precursor hormone – a substance that remains latent until it converts into a hormone that the body needs. DHEA can become estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, all essential for your body’s anti-aging defenses to work. As we age, the body’s level of precursor hormones like DHEA drop dramatically in Western cultures, but drop at a much slower rate among the long-lived Okinawans, a phenomenon attributed by many to their diet rich with Okinawan sweet potatoes.

Enjoy these potatoes baked, roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed, scalloped (with almond milk), or mashed with coconut water and sea salt. They are also great mashed with a little applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg and grated orange zest. They make a great substitute in a sweet potato pie, or any other recipes you would normally use yams or bright orange sweet potatoes. So begin today adding the Okinawan Sweet Potato to your diet … and remember, “By birthright, we are all entitled to live A Longer Healthy Life!”

Diane Haworth and Michael Varbaek, Longevity Researchers www.ALongerHealthyLife.com

 

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The Long Lived People Eat Nutrient Dense Foods

Longevity foods on ANDI chartIn order to live a longer healthy life, the long lived people consume nutrient dense diets, consisting of foods that their bodies are able to absorb and utilize the most nutrients from. Dr. Joel Furhman in his book Eat for Health created the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) which is a score assigned to whole foods that contain the highest nutrients per calorie.

The ANDI Score goes from 1 to 1000 with 1 being a soda pop. The top ten foods that our bodies will get the most nutrients from per calorie are Kale, Collard Greens, Watercress, Bok Choy, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Mustard Greens, and Parsley.

Unfortunately, those are the foods that Americans, and Western Culture in general consume the least of … yet by no small coincidence, they are the very foods we see the long lived people consuming again and again in our travels to the longevity villages.

So, what can you do? Start adding greens in your morning fruit smoothie, if you only add in a small amount to begin with you will not taste the greens and within a week you will find yourself craving more greens, reaching for more salads over processed foods and noticing a change in how you look, how you feel, and you will find the extra weight melting off your frame. Watch for our favorite longevity recipes, including green smoothies beginning next week.

Beginning now, ask to substitute greens as a side with your dinner or lunch at a restaurant instead of fries or coleslaw. At a buffet, fill your plate with dark leafy greens and top with raw fruits and vegetables, tofu, beans or rice. Skip the processed foods and foods smothered in sauces.

By making this small change in your daily diet, looking for the low calorie, nutrient dense whole plant foods to fill your plate instead, you will be headed down the path to longevity like the long lived people … remember “By birthright we are all entitled to live A Longer Healthy Life!”

Diane Haworth and Michael Varbaek, Longevity Researchers www.ALongerHealthyLife.com

 

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