I am here to help you with some easy steps that you can take today to achieve optimal health and longevity. We all want to live vital and happy lives, sharing memories with our loved ones for as long as possible.

How do I know that this stuff really works?….. easy. Just take a look at the studies conducted on the “Blue Zones”. I can hear you saying what the hell?

In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer. In these “Blue Zones” they found that people reach the age of 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. (Buettner, 2014)

The longest living populations, not only have social support and engagement, daily exercise, but nutritionally they all center their diets around plant foods, reserving meat mostly for special occasions and have a population with perhaps the highest life-expectancy (Greger, 2015). So what is it that we can do to be more like these “Blue Zones”?

Here is a checklist of all the things you should be aiming to fit into your daily routine to make your home a Blue Zone of health and longevity.

I found these one day while doing some research on NutrionFacts.org and I loved the idea that they were super simple. Dr Greger has also created an easy to use app to track your daily progress.

  1. Gorgeous Greens

Recommendation: 2 Servings a day

Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound, and are packed with nutrients. Leafy greens contain substances that protect blood vessels, and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes. Greens are an excellent tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods. The majority of calories in green vegetables, including leafy greens, come from protein, and this plant protein is packaged with beneficial phytochemicals: green vegetables are rich in folate, calcium, and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (Fuhrman, 2014-2016).

Top tip: Try to add greens to every meal.

Breakfast: Add grated zucchini to your morning porridge. Make a green smoothie that you can sip on during your morning commute or save it for when the 3.30pm munchies kicks in.

Lunch: Add greens to your lunch by incorporating salad to your routine. Mix up your greens, but if you want bang for your buck choose the darkest colours as they have the most antioxidants.

Dinner: Always have a salad with your meal or add baby spinach to your curries, pasta sauces.

  1. Cruciferous Crusaders

Recommendation: 1 Serving a day

All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition.  When their cell walls are broken by blending, chopping or chewing, a chemical reaction converts compounds within the vegetables into a variety of potent anti-cancer fighting substances. They can also have combined additive effects, working synergistically to remove carcinogens, reduce inflammation, neutralise oxidative stress and kill cancer cells (Fuhrman, 2014-2016).

Breakfast: Have you ever tried roast cauliflower with a sprinkle of cumin and hummus on sourdough toast. It is absolutely delicious!

Lunch: I like to roast a whole bunch of vegies and add them to lunch time salads. You can do a big batch on the weekend to get you through the week.

Dinner: Broccoli can be steamed or roasted but you can also crumble it raw into salads.

  1. Beautiful Berries

Recommendation: 1 Serving a day

Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients. They are among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colours mean that they are full of antioxidants, berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Berry consumption has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline (Fuhrman, 2014-2016).

Breakfast: Add them to your cereal, porridge or smoothie. My favourite is almond butter and strawberries on toast. Yum, yum!

  1. Bountiful Beans

Recommendation: 3 Servings a day

Beans are a powerhouse of superior nutrition, and the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source. They act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, having a stabilising effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol levels (Fuhrman, 2014-2016).

Breakfast: Good old fashioned beans on toast

Lunch: Hummus and vegie sticks

Dinner: Vegie burgers, falafels, lentil Bolognese and any Mexican dish is perfectly paired with beans.

  1. Fruit frenzy

Recommendation: 3 Servings a day

Most guidelines recommend eating a diet with a high intake of fibre-rich food including fruit, because they’re so healthy full of antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory, improve artery function and reduce cancer risk.

What about fruit for diabetics?
Emerging literature has shown that low-dose fructose may actually benefit blood sugar control. So having a piece of fruit with each meal would be expected to lower, not raise the blood sugar response (Greger, 2015).

Breakfast: Porridge with grilled bananas, pancakes topped with nectarines the sky is the limit.

Snack: Chop some fresh fruit and enjoy with your choice of yoghurt

Dessert: Try some frozen bananas blended with a medjool date and raw cacao powder. It makes a delicious choc banana “nice cream”

  1. Various Vegies

Recommendation: 2 Servings a day

Eat a rainbow of different colours. The colour in fruit and vegetables is due to their different phytochemical makeup. According to information from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances. And while research has not yet determined exactly how these substances work together or which combination offers specific benefits, including a rainbow of coloured foods in a diet plan ensures a variety of those nutrients and phytochemicals (Schaeffer, 2008)

  1. Get funky with Flax

Recommendation: 1 serving a day

Another randomised placebo-controlled trial found that a few tablespoons a day of ground flaxseeds induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention, two to three times more powerful than instituting an endurance exercise program (though, of course, there’s no reason you can’t do both).

Breakfast: Add a tablespoon to your porridge in the morning

Snack: Add to healthy muffins as a quick snack idea

  1. Nutty for Nuts

Recommendation: 1 serving a day

The Harvard Nurse’s Health Study, involving more than 100,000 women, was started in 1976 and so as you can imagine, it is now the most definitive long-term study ever on older women’s health. The one specific food most tied to longevity was nuts. You appear to get four hours of weekly jogging benefit eating just two handfuls of nuts a week (Greger, 2012)

Breakfast: Nut butter on toast…. need I say more?

Snack: Small handful

Dessert: Bliss balls with any kind of nut that you enjoy.

  1. Spice Up Your Life

Recommendation: ¼ tsp Turmeric along with any other herbs and spices that are salt free.

Did you know that ounce per ounce, herbs and spices have some of the greatest antioxidant activities known (Greger, 2014).

Breakfast: Add a small piece of fresh turmeric to your green smoothie, cinnamon to your cereal

Lunch: Use fresh or dried herbs on roast vegetables or in salads

Snack: Try a turmeric golden latte (recipe in post: Girly Stuff)

  1. Make Yourself Whole with Whole grains

Recommendation: 3 servings a day

In 2007 a study revealed that whole grains were linked to a healthier body weight in people both young and old (Greger, 2007).

Breakfast: Try steel cut oats, rolled oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, wholegrain or sprouted toast

Lunch/Dinner: add some brown rice, quinoa, teff, barley, amaranth

  1. Wonderful Water

Recommendation: 5 Servings a day

Increases energy & relieves fatigue, promotes weight loss, flushes out toxins, improves skin complexion, maintains regularity, boosts immune system, natural headache remedy, prevents cramps and sprains, puts you in a good mood and saves you money.

Breakfast: Drink 1 glass

Lunch Drink 1 glass

Dinner: Drink 1 glass

Snack: before you snack drink 1 glass, this can also stop food cravings which are sometimes actually your body wanting water.

  1. Exercise for Energy

Recommendation: 90mins moderate intensity activity or 40mins vigorous activity

Try something new: bushwalking, indoor cycling, weights, running, aqua aerobics. I just started powerlifting which sounds crazy for a petite 5ft 2inch female but I love the challenge. Get your friends and loved ones involved.

 

Enjoy a long and healthful life by incorporating these twelve daily deeds for optimum health.

xoxo Hollie

Check out the app and track your progress: http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/12/31/free-app-for-android-and-iphone-and-top-10-videos-of-2015/