4 recipes from around that world that could help you live longer

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The secret of a long and healthy life can be hidden in the regional diet. Dan Buettner has traveled all over the world looking for places where people live the longest, and he calls these areas "blue zones". He joined TODAY to share the secrets of these special areas and to extend the longevity and recipes from his cookbook, The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes To Live By, to 100. He showed us how to make healthy recipes for Steamed Purple Sweet Potato and Vegetable Champuru from Okinawa, Japan, Minestrone Soup from Sardinia, Italy, and Black Beans and Rice from Costa Rica.
See also: The author Dan Buettner shares what we can learn from the residents of the "Blue Zones" about thriving in difficult times.
Steamed purple sweet potatoes
Steamed purple sweet potatoes from Dan Buettner
One of the pillars of the Okinawan diet, Okinawan imo is a charged purple sweet potato, a cousin of the popular yellow-orange varieties that has been a staple on the island since the 17th century. Despite its saccharine taste, it doesn't raise blood sugar as much as a normal white potato. Like other sweet potatoes, it contains antioxidants called sporamine, which have a host of powerful antiaging properties. The purple version contains higher levels than its orange and yellow cousins. This superfood is high in complex carbohydrates, has a surprisingly low glycemic load, and packages the antioxidant punch with anthocyanins (the compound that makes blueberries blue). Okinawans usually serve steamed sweet potatoes, which perfectly reflect their creamy texture and sweet taste.
10 minutes of veggie stir fry
10 minutes of veggie stir fry by Dan Buettner
Champuru means "something mixed" in the Okinawan language and can refer to this dish or sometimes Okinawan culture: a mix of Ryuku, Japanese and Southeast Asian cultures and cuisines. This fried dish consists of tofu with vegetables, meat or fish.
Costa Rican black beans and rice (Gallo Pinto)
Costa Rican Black Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto) from The Blue Zones Solution
I last visited Jose Guevara in Costa Rica in 2015 when he was 105 and gave me this recipe, his version of Costa Rican rice and beans. The genius of Costa Rican cuisine is its ability to make a humble bean dish so tasty that you can eat it every day (in fact, many ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). It is often topped with eggs and salsa lizano (a slightly sweet and sour condiment in bottles that you can find on every table in the restaurant).
Melis Family Minestrone
Melis Family Minestrone from The Melis Family
Traditionally, this soup is made with anything that grows in the garden, but it always contains beans and fregula, a pebble-sized toasted semolina noodle popular in Sardinia. Fregula can be bought in Italian markets or online. If you can't find a fregula, tiny noodles like Israeli couscous or acini di pepe will do. This version also takes some time to cook; A longer cooking time melts the flavors together and improves the bioavailability of more nutrients like lycopene in tomatoes, carotenoids, and other antioxidants. A shorter cooking time also makes a delicious dish, but nutritionally inferior. Traditionally, the minestrone is accompanied by slices of Carasau or Sardinian flatbread.
If you like these longer-lasting recipes, make sure to try these too:
Greek Potato Salad from The Blue Zones Solution
Ikarian Stew from The Blue Zones Solution
In this article:
Dan Buettner

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