Have you seen the Today show’s series this week on Living to 100? They’re following Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,” across the globe to the places his research has found people just plain live longer.
We were especially charmed by the coverage of Sardinia, a mountainous Italian island, which is Buettner’s to p “blue zone.” It’s a pretty isolated spot, where many work as shepherds, walking between 6 and 10 miles a day routinely. In a community of 3,000 people, there are 6 centenarians. (Compare that to 1 in 5,000 in the U.S.). One family in town holds a Guinness World Record; the nine Melis siblings have a total combined age of 818 years.
So what exactly do the people of Sardinia do?
They drink antioxidant-rich red wine, and they eat a plant-based diet, which leans heavily on beans. In fact, Buettner calls beans the cornerstone of every “blue zone” diet. “Eating a cup of beans a day is probably adding about two years to your life,” he told Today.
Cheers to that! As an affordable source of protein, fiber, iron, complex carbs and other nutrients, beans are easy to love. Here are a few ideas for incorporating beans into your meal plan today—and every day.
Mexican Eggs with Beans
Roasted Shrimp, Avocado and White Bean Salad
Grilled Chicken and Two-Bean Salad
Rice and Bean Bowl
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
And Sardinia’s Melis family was nice enough to share their recipe for minestrone soup with Today. Filing that one away under “dinners to try ASAP.”