Suckling pig, sipping beautiful wine and Mirto (a liqueur sure to delight!) are 3 things you will enjoy in Sardinia.
But it is also a place known for blue zones – a location where some of the longest living people live – there are only 5, and Europe has only two…so this place is special!
So why do these Sardinians have such longevity? Some suggestions include the wine that contains the highest amount of polyphenols (linked to heart health) the World over, or the diet, which is rich in vegetables and fruit.
Or maybe the reason is the Omega-3-rich pecorino cheese, or the local bread known as ‘Pane Carasau’, which is high in fibre and complex carbs (rumoured to lower type 2 diabetes).
Either way, scientists are falling over themselves to discover the secret..a secret you would dearly love to know too!
So, let’s have a look at some of the locals, and see if we can discover their secret..
Francesco, still going at 104
One of the best examples of the ‘hundred club’, according to Metro, is Francesco. See what Francesco had to say about their life:
I reached 100 half out of luck..I worked until I was 95 years old. But my favourite thing to do was to dance. I started dancing when I was 14 years old. Sometimes I’d walk 10km to go to a dance hall…The waltz, the mazurka, side-by-side…I was always among the first to start and the girls that danced with me would say, ‘you’re really good.’..I even danced in Spain. After the war ended, I stayed there for a while longer and we’d go dancing with the Spanish women. I had a little friend who’d come out with me – but she was only a friend!…The dances have changed with time, as they have here. Here, they no longer dance like I used to…I have always lived in the countryside. I was born in near Aglientu. And then I went to Vignola Mare for 20 years. Basically, always in that area… And then, after the war…I got married here. My wife and I have been together for over 70 years….I used to eat everything, but now I have to be picky. Sardinian sausage is the most delicious, but meat has changed, it’s not like it used to be. Even fish….We have an advantage: in Sardinia, there’s salt everywhere…and that’s what makes the difference. I’ve been to Spain and it’s the same there, as it is here, because there’s the sea…The salt helps in all the plant life, in the grasses, in the water. We have some excellent water sources, like in Nardus. In Tempio it’s even better. In Aglientu, better still….When you turn 100 in Sardinia, the mayor presents you with a certificate and a plaque. We celebrated well…with nearly 100 guests….But I think I reached a hundred years of age half out of luck and taking the right steps.
And, if we are going to include Francesco, we should have a Francesca too!
Francesca, Now Aged 100
What did Francesca have to say? Here is her take:
We eat simple, healthy things, things that aren’t harmful… but I think our secret to living to 100 is God..When I was growing up, we ate goat, lamb, pig…all sorts. Vegetables from our veg patch. We wanted for nothing…I still eat everything but it was simpler then, more wholesome. But my favourite thing to eat is fish. It’s the tastiest thing there is. I think that now it may taste better. Now there’s always fish [available] that we like…During the World War… we suffered. The soldiers were all emaciated. My grandmother, who was a very good woman, used to make bread at home and give some to those poor souls…I’ve always lived in Sardinia. I was born, baptised, and married in Oschiri. Then I lived in Aggius with my husband for 38 years. When he passed, I moved to Santa Teresa to live with my daughter…When I was young, I liked to dance. At the village festivals, in the countryside! There’d be singing, card games… My husband always had his harmonica…Now, I get up, give myself a good clean, have breakfast, and then I wait for lunch. My daughter is a great cook…Then I listen to some harmonica music, I’ll put on the TV…then I’ll rest a while. And lots of friends come and visit…When I turned 100, there was so much love, we celebrated well. My family really loves me…In Sardinia, we eat simple, healthy things. Things that aren’t harmful…but I think our secret to living to 100 is God…My youth may have passed me, but I’m still young at heart! At 100 years of age, there are many that are worse off than me.
Your TakeAway…Or Not
However, in the UK, we love processed foods, and ‘takeaway’ foods. However, maybe our takeaway foods should be those that we take away from the Sardinians…a diet that lacks no major ingredients..be they fat, protein or carbohydrates…However, by and large, they are mostly natural foods, not the traditional takeaway diet of chips and burgers that we enjoy.
If living to a better age, and healthier too, appeals to you..schedule a trip to Sardinia, and learn from those who set the lead..a lead we would do well to follow.