• Haneena Sherin

The Secrets of long life in Sardinia, the beautiful Italian island

Sardinia is an Italian Island in the Mediterranian sea. The island is blessed with the beauty of untouched landscapes, picturesque mountains, woods, streams, and beaches. Apart from the magnificent natural views and diverse ecosystem, Sardinia is known for the oldest people living in the world. This island is the first discovered blue zone in the world with a large concentration of centenarians. The proportion of centenarians in the population is twice the rate considered normal for the rest of the world.

There other four blue zones in the world are Okinawa in Japan, Icaria in Greece, Loma Linda, Nicoya in Costa Rica where more residents live over the age of 90.

It is not an unusual sight in Sardinia if you see men and women of age above 90 steadily walking through the roads and involved in feeding sheep or making wine. The people of Sardinia go to work or do their business even after the age of 90! Different from all over the world Sardinian men live long as women and they are known to have the least number of major illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular disorders, etc. This leads scientists and researchers to study the long and healthy life of people. There are different findings and explanations to this freaking phenomenon including diet, genetic factors, quality of life, environmental factors, etc.

Sardinian people grow whatever they want to eat. If they want to prepare a salad or soup, they collect the ingredients from there garden. Sardinians eat a plant-based diet. Sardinians consume less sugar. The wine made of fresh grapes is an important drink for every Sardinian. studies show 93% of male centenarians drink wine. Dairy products are also an integral part of their diets.

(A traditional Sardinian dinner)

According to Dan Buettner, the author of Newyork Times's best-seller, The Blue Zones, every blue zone diet in the world includes plenty of beans. He says "If you are eating a cup of beans a day it will probably add 2 years to your life expectancy".

An active life is a trait of Sardinian people. They work hard. Most of them are shepherds or farmers. They walk long distances with their cattle through the hillsides and rocky paths. They keep them active by doing works one after another. The residents live a stress-free and simple life. The centenarians enjoy engaged community life with children, grandchildren, grand grand children, and other family members.

( Gathering of centenarians in Sardinia )

There are some genetic facts that strengthens the reasons for the longevity of Sardinian people. The island has a history of isolation. There has been very little immigration over the years and hence the population continues to have a small gene pool. But how these genes contribute to longevity is still under investigation.

The local people claim that the secret of their long life is their active life, mountain air, pure water, organically grown vegetables fresh milk, homemade cheese, and little wine.