Why do some cultures live longer and healthier with lower rates of diseases like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's? The answer may simply be the foods they eat every day, so why not give them a try?
1. Sweet Potato
The women of Okinawa, Japan (who also happen to be the world's longest living ladies) enjoy a purple sweet potato they call Imo every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rich in beta-carotene and boasting 150% more antioxidants than blueberries, this easy-to-make treat can be simply incorporated into an American diet. And, if you can't find Imo specifically, our orange sweet potatoes pack a similarly healthful wallop.
2. Turmeric Tea
You usually see the yellow spice turmeric in Indian curries, giving them their characteristic color. But those long-lived ladies of Okinawa slurp this spice in tea daily (and they have one-fifth the rate of breast cancer than their American counterparts). Studies have shown that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can help fight cancer.
This sweet, tropical fruit originally from Indonesia has made its way onto supermarket shelves in the United States. Hidden inside a thick purple rind that you cut open, is a white, creamy flesh full of vitamins A and C as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. If you can't find the fruit, the juice of the mangosteen, which is more widely available, is the next best thing. This is also available in tea form.
4. Mustard Greens
In Icaria, Greece, 1 in 3 people lives to the age of 90, making the Greek island one of the areas designated as a "blue zone," where people enjoy superior longevity. There are also no cases Alzheimer's disease reported there despite many people living to a ripe old age. One of the nourishing foods they enjoy are mustard greens. High in vitamin K (most Americans are deficient in this nutrient), the spicy greens are good for your blood and bone strength. Try them as the Icarians do: boil and then toss with a little virgin olive oil and lemon.
5. Barramundi Fish
If the Barramundi fish were a human, he would be a tree-hugging, salad-loving vegetarian. The Barramundi, hailing from the coast of Australia, eschews his fellow fish, dining on plankton instead. That means he doesn't load up on mercury-packed smaller fish and has extremely low levels of the toxin, which is especially important for pregnant women. Free of mercury, but full of heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s, the Barramundi, which is becoming more popular in the US, is a shoe-in for one of the top 5 superfoods. Bonus: the white meat is light, flaky and delicious.