The woman who researched the nutritional secrets of people living over the age of 100 is reader-supported and the following article contain affiliate links, When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

As in many other cases, Liv Azaria began her professional path, researching nutrition for longevity and coaching women careers for weight loss and behavioral change, following her personal story. For 15 years, Azaria suffered from eating disorders, including severe bulimia. “It is said that work comes from pain and mission. Our relationship with food in the age of abundance is complex.

It is not only what we eat, but also how we eat – it is our behavior towards food and our automatic patterns,” she explains what led her to pursue a valuable diet. Therapeutic. “You could say that in the 21st century we all have an eating disorder – even those who do not suffer from eating disorders by definition. The farther we went from ourselves, the more we lost the connection between physiological and mental hunger.”

Beyond the weight, Azaria also felt that she was constantly tired, and she was then only 30. She also noticed that she was not really alone in this matter. “Many women I meet as part of my occupation testify that they suffer from chronic fatigue as early as their 20s and 30s, but most accept this lack of vitality as a natural fact, as if ‘it’s part of age.”

After being exposed a few years ago to a lecture on the Blue Zones, population pockets around the world that found high concentrations of people living over the age of 100 in optimal health, she decided to embark on an independent research journey. During this time she visited Sardinia (Italy), Ikaria (Greece) and the Nagano region (Japan), met the locals, cooked with them and lived their guests in order to trace the secrets of their youth. As part of her journey, Azaria identified common characteristics of the foods consumed by the people living in these areas despite the great difference in geographical location and cultural traditions.

Natural, local and seasonal food

Their diet is based on local and seasonal raw materials from local produce only and not on imports or out-of-season produce as in most of the modern world. For example, in Greece the diet is Mediterranean and includes fresh vegetables and fruits, grains and olive oil, and in Japan it is based on raw materials such as fish, seaweed, purple sweet potatoes and soy. The Japanese also eat fermented vegetables and miso, which are considered nature’s probiotics. The cattle and low-consumption poultry are raised under optimal growing conditions in nature and free grazing.

The foods in all the blue areas are natural and based on few components whose origin and the raw materials from which they are made can be identified, i.e. they are not industrialized or processed.

Foods rich in antioxidants

Oxidation processes occur in our body on an ongoing basis and cause cell destruction and aging processes. A diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce these processes. In the daily menu of the people of the blue regions you can find foods rich in antioxidants, such as vegetables and fruits, herbs, grains, legumes, nuts, almonds and seeds. In Sardinia and Ikaria, the menu also includes quality fats such as olive oil and fish.
But Azaria also found that what affects the delay in aging is not only “what” people living in the blue areas eat (the same foods that have longevity properties that appear in the recipes below), but also “how” they do it, i.e. how they manage their eating patterns and behave In front of the food.

How they eat: According to their biological clock (more at noon, less at night)

Even if the inhabitants of the blue areas are not aware of it, they tend to eat according to the rhythm dictated by the biological clock. What does this actually mean? They eat 2-3 meals a day, do not eat any snacks in between (which is also not a concept that exists at all), their main meal is usually at noon, and as darkness falls they eat a small dinner.

The secret: The biological clock is the one that rhythms the time in day and night cycles, and it is also the one that is responsible for the sleep and wake cycles, the hunger and satiety mechanism and our immune system. The more you cling to it, you maintain the normal functioning of the body.

Limit meal times (night is for rest only)

In most blue areas it is not customary to eat during the hours of darkness at all, and eating is limited to a range of 12 hours of being awake. Since there is also no artificial lighting, the darkness marks the rest to the body and the cessation of eating.

The secret: Limiting eating hours allows the body to free up for the recovery and regeneration of cells in the body instead of engaging in energy-consuming processes of food breakdown. The way in which this habit is translated in the body can be learned from a study conducted at the Weizmann Institute by Prof. Gad Asher and colleagues in 2012 that examined the relationship between the biological clock and body functions in health and obesity indices. It was found that rodents who received the meal at rest suffered from fatty liver and exhaustion, compared to the group of rodents who ate the same type of food and in exactly the same amount but during waking hours.
How can we apply this eating time limit even in disruptive modern conditions (light, screens, noise, etc.)? Try to create your own “blue zone” within the conditions that exist in your routine. Instead of saying “but on Thursday night I have a restaurant”, try to exceed the eating limit only in routine-breaking situations, but the rest of the days continue with the normal eating routine.

Eat only up to 80% of satiety

In Japan it is customary to greet before the meal “Har Hachi Bo”, which means: Eat only up to 80% of the feeling of satiety. Logic says that if you are already sitting in front of a plate, you seem to have an appetite, and this blessing should remind you how to behave in front of the food each time, how to train yourself to resist temptation and learn to manage eating out of listening to the body. Enjoy but do not explode.

The secret: When you finish your meal satisfied but not full, the digestive enzymes can work better and digest the food well. On the other hand, even if you eat a whole pot of healthy food like quinoa – the absorption of the food may be impaired due to the excessive amount. It is important to remember that food is energy, and every meal should give us energy for the rest of the day. For example, if you finish lunch and immediately run to catch a nap, probably something in the composition of the meal or in its quantity was inaccurate.

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