I was struck this week with a realization of how much you can learn by examining someone’s hands. They’re amazing part of our body used for grasping and holding objects or to another hand of someone you love. They provide much insight into the health of their owners through clues such as muscle tone or the health of skin and nails. If you’re so inclined, they also may be used to read your fortune!
Today I found myself becoming frustrated observing the snacks, drinks and food that was served at the local hospital and nursing homes. We all know what we should eat but it is rarely reflected in what we actually do eat and serve to others. What we eat, makes a difference. Evidence from the “Blue Zones” proves this point.
The Blue Zones are home to the happiest and healthiest populations in the world. Every day activities such as gardening, walking, and climbing hills and mountains, in conjunction with a healthy diet are the key to exceptional longevity of people living in these regions. Many of these places have high concentrations of individuals over 100 years old as well as clusters of people who had grown old without health problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes.
Some of the healthy eating habits include a Mediterranean diet which is heavy in vegetables and healthy fats and contains small amounts of dairy and meat products. In Japan, healthy food staples include sweet potatoes, soy beans, turmeric and bitter melon. One Blue Zone here in United States in Loma Linda California has a diet of primarily grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Inspired by these findings, a Blue Zones project was created to change the way people experience the world around them. This includes community-wide, well-being improvement initiatives to help making healthy choices easier for everyone in the community.
To be successful however, the entire community needs to participate. This includes healthy food and work environments at work as well as schools and healthy food options in markets and grocery stores. Everyone needs to believe that they can make a difference.
Stay well !