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The Health Benefits and Potential Dangers of Vegetarianism – Part 4

by Tony Isaacs
author of
Cancer's Natural Enemy

In this our concluding article of the four-part series we will look at “Common Traits of the World's Longest-Lived and Healthiest Peoples”, and present our “Conclusion” - which may pleasantly surprise those who avoid meat and/or other animal products.

Common Traits of the World's Longest-Lived and Healthiest Peoples

Scientists and others who have researched the healthiest and longest-lived peoples on earth have noted many commonalities in their diets, but they have found several other key common traits of long-lived and healthy peoples: simple, easy-going lifestyles, lack of stress, laughter and regular physical activity. In other words, no stressed-out couch potatoes!

Researchers who researched the "blue zones" of the world's longest-lived and healthiest peoples found that many of the cultures' diets consisted mostly (although not entirely) of vegan, and/or vegetarian and organic food. Other common traits among these cultures included:

• They typically ate only 1,700-1,800 calories a day at most, even with physical activity filling
their daily lives.
• That caloric intake was between 69-73% carbohydrates, 15-18% from fat and 10-13% from protein.
• Food was grown and harvested local, without any chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, additives,
• GMOs, coloring or preservatives.
• A good portion of food was eaten raw.
• Vegetables, legumes, and fruits made up a large portion of their diet.
• They ate little or no sweets, no processed sugars, and no salt except possibly sea salts.
• The fats they did eat were extremely healthy, coming from fish, eggs, olive oil, etc.
• They stayed lean and physically fit by walking, working, and staying active. No one had an
• exercise routine per se, but the activity in their lives dictated that there was zero obesity
in their cultures.
• People in all of their cultures had low levels of stress in their daily lives.
• They used natural remedies and plants and herbs to heal ailments, not synthetic or chemical
pharmaceuticals.
• They all laughed, interacted with family and friends, and enjoyed a sense of community with all
of those around them.
• They believe in something greater than themselves; a purpose to their daily lives whether that
be religion, spirituality, or just community.
• As they grew older they still had a sense of purpose, as elderly people are all greatly revered
and respected in their cultures.

serrapeptase

Here is a look at some of the world's longest-lived and most healthy people:

The islanders of Okinawa in Japan

Known as the “land of immortals,” this small south Pacific island in Japan holds the honor of having the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. Okinawa has the highest number of centenarians in the world despite having only 1.385 million people - an incredible 900 people over 100 years old. Researchers noticed that Okinawans eat most of their food lightly steamed. The also consume more tofu and soya than anyone in the world, drink green tea, and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables. Unlike some of their vegetarian counterparts in other “blue zones”, Okinawans do eat meat, though ithey usually only eat fish and often the eat it raw. In addition, they are always physically active even in advanced years, their elders are greatly respected, and they enjoy a a largely stress-free and communal life thanks to their “island attitude”.

Southern Italian and other Mediterranean cultures

The island of Sardinia Is located in southern Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. It holds the highest rate of the world's male centenarians. It has been estimated that the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, which is also common in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, parts of Spain, etc. help account for their long and healthy lives. Their diet includes daily consumption of olive oil – referred to as “liquid gold” for its health benefits. They also consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and they have a low consumption of meat and dairy. They also typically have a glass of red wine with every meal, which is a great source of flavonoids. Elderly people in the region get plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, and they stay active in their homes, families, and communities.

The Abkhasia of Southern Russia

The Abkhasia region is an unforgiving environment in the Caucasus Mountains, located between Europe and Asia. It was once known as the “longevity capital of the world.” In fact, the longest-living man the world has recorded, Shirali Muslimov, lived to the ripe old age of 168 was from Azerbaijan in the Abkhasia region. People there mostly eat freshly picked nuts and whole grains along with locally grown fruits and vegetables. They eat meat only rarely, with the fat removed. However, for vitality they drink a special fermented beverage called matzoni which is made from goat’s milk. They walk up and doing hilly paths and mountainous terrain constantly. As a result, every person is trim and fit no matter their age. Their elders are revered and respected in their society, just like in Okinawa.

The Hunza of North Pakistan

The Hunza tribes have lived for many centuries high up in the inhospitable mountains of Pakistan, isolated from the rest of the world and enjoying very long and healthy lives. The Hunza have to walk almost everywhere due to the mountainous conditions, and they keep physically fit from their full time jobs of farming the soil. Eating meat or dairy is extremely rare because the mountains don’t allow for the grazing of animals. Instead, the Hunza subsist on a diet of fresh fruit for most of the year and they keep dried fruit to get them through the winters. Their diet also includes beans, corn, roots, tubers, squash, and sprouts In the summer months, all of which are extremely healthy. Most of the time they eat their food raw since even cooking fires can be hard to come by in the high and harsh environment. Incredibly, despite the harsh terrain and their hard lives, the Hunza are virtually disease free during their lives,

The Vicalbamba Indians of the Andes Mountains

The Vicabamba Indians are another people who live at a high altitude – in this instande, the high-altitude valley in the peaks of southern Ecuador. The Vicalbamba people often live to 110 years old or beyond. They stay active and physically fit by walking, hiking and cultivating the land. Like many of the people with extraordinary long lives, they also enjoy a stress-free life full of laughter and the warmth of extended family, a strong sense of community, and a sense of purpose long into life because their elders are highly esteemed. The Vicalbamba eat an almost-vegan diet, including cooked whole grains and lots of vegetables, nuts, and fruits which they harvest with their own hands from their lands, with very little animal products.

The Greek island of Ikaria

And then there is the Greek island of Ikaria, where there are an alarming number of centenarians and chronic disease and dementia are almost non-existent. Ikaria is still an isolated island, without tourists. Especially in the villages in the north, where the highest longevity rates have been recorded, life is largely unaffected by the westernized way of life. What's more, preliminary studies have found that 80% of Ikarian males between the ages of 65 and 100 were still having sex. And, of those, a quarter did so with "good duration" and "achievement".

The Ikarian diet features lots of beans and very little meat or refined sugar. The Ikarians also feast on locally grown and wild greens, some of which contain 10 times more antioxidants than red wine, as well as potatoes and goat's milk. The Ikarians also drink small quantities of coffee and a lot of herbal tea. Their daily calorie consumption is not high. Research suggests that the Ikarian's habit of taking afternoon naps may help extend their lives.

Seventh Day Adventists

There is an unusually high concentration of centenarians in the Seventh Day Adventist community of Loma Linda, California. It's one of only five "blue zones" worldwide. Most people's health problems are said to be the result of three things: bad food choices, inactivity, and unmanaged stress. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to find that Seventh Day Adventists live an average of 10 years longer than most Americans – because they don't do any of that. They are also very spiritual. According to the Seventh-day Adventist website, “we believe God calls us to care for our bodies, treating them with the respect a divine creation deserves.”

Seventh-day Adventists are encouraged to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet. Most, though not all, avoid meat and eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. Many Seventh-day Adventists are lactovegetarians and consume dairy products, especially milk. For example, 20% of Adventist adults report that they consume 3 or more glasses of milk per day compared with 3% of non-Adventists of similar socioeconomic status.

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Conclusion

You can indeed live very healthily with a vegetarian or vegan diet – provided that you 1) plan carefully and supplement as needed to make sure that you do not miss out on any vital nutrients you may otherwise be deficient in and 2) Live a lifestyle which has much in common with the above listed traits of the world's longest-lived and healthiest peoples. In the final analysis, only you can decide whether a vegetarian or vegan diet is right for you.
 

See also:

The Health Benefits and Potential Dangers of Vegetarianism – Part 1

The Health Benefits and Potential Dangers of Vegetarianism – Part 2

The Health Benefits and Potential Dangers of Vegetarianism – Part 3

Sources for this article series included:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/9-health-benefits-of-a-vegetarian-diet
http://www.normschriever.com/blog/want-to-live-to-120-years-old-take-these-health-lessons-
from-the-longest-living-cultures-on-earth
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/31/ikaria-greece-longevity-secrets-age
http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2015/February/Secrets-to-Longevity-Revealed-in-Denominations-Lifestyle
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/539S.full
https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/the-china-study-myth/
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/02/23/why-the-china-study-is-
flawed.aspx
https://chriskresser.com/rest-in-peace-china-study/
http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html
http://www.aicr.org/about/advocacy/the-china-study.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
https://deniseminger.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/
http://silverbulletin.utopiasilver.com/story-of-a-recovering-vegan/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3515293/Vegetarian-diet-raises-risk-heart-disease-
cancer.html
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160329184939.htm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/29/why-are-vegetarians-at-risk-of-
heart-disease.aspx
http://www.prevention.com/health/vegetarian-nutrition-needs
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/reasonable-ways-rda-potassium-9372.html
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-11-biggest-lies-about-vegan-diets/
http://www.medicaldaily.com/3-benefits-eating-meat-234798
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0088278&type=printable
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22333737
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23213935
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19377768
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19386029
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21430115
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20845212
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22586505
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21912895
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439376
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

About the author

Tony Isaacs is a member of the National Health Federation and the American Botanical Council. He is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy." Mr. Isaacs articles are featured at The Truth About Cancer, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador, Health Secrets, the Cancer Tutor, the Silver Bulletin, the New Zealand Journal of Natural Health, and several other venues. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 3500 members and the CureZone Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum. He is also the local moderator of the CureZone Cancer Alternatives forum. Tony and his partner Luella May host The Best Years in Life natural health website where their motto is "It's never too late or too early to begin living longer, healthier and happier lives."

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