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What is the simplest rule to follow if you want to upgrade your health? To figure that out, let’s turn to the Blue Zones of the world, which include Okinawa, Japan and Loma Linda, California. These are communities with the highest concentrations of centenarians, people living over 100 years of age. Although the dietary patterns of those residing in the Blue Zones vary, what they have in common is a high percentage of plant-based, whole foods that provide optimal nutrition.
In Okinawa, on average, only 6 percent of the diet consisted of fat. About 9 percent of calories were from protein, while 85 percent of calories came from complex plant carbohydrates like grains and legumes, with a strong preference for sweet potatoes. The results? Okinawans had significantly lower disease-related mortality rates. According to a study, the numbers of deaths caused by heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer were all lower in Okinawa than they were in the United States. Residents of Okinawa were also less likely to develop dementia.
So, what can we learn from this? To live a longer and healthier life, increase your calories from plants and decrease calories from animals. In other words, increase your plant to animal ratio, or P/A ratio. It’s a simple strategy that has no title to incite argument or confusion.
How do you process all the dietary recommendations from “experts”, some real and some self-appointed? If the first, second, or third thing coming out of an expert’s mouth is not “eat more fruits and vegetables – raw when you can”, run for the hills. Michael Pollan summarized it best on the cover of his book In Defense of Food: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Consuming a high plant to animal ratio during your meals is a solid strategy to optimize the years to your life.
What is the simplest way to increase your plant to animal ratio? Have a smoothie every day! You can pack three, four, five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in one single NutriBullet recipe. How easy! How healthy! How tasty!
We know that food is medicine that provides direct information for our genes for either health and longevity or disease and sickness. It’s a decision based mainly on the P/A ratio in your diet and the quality of the whole plant foods you choose (sorry, but potato chips do not cut it). Live longer and better with the highest plant to animal ratio diet you can muster, and rev up your NutriBullet right now!
Dr. Kahn is the founder of the award-winning Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity, the most advanced integrative heart clinic for the detection and prevention of heart disease in the Midwest (www.kahnlongevitycenter.com), and the co-founder and medical director of the largest plant-based support group in the world (www.pbnsg.org). He’s also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Associate Professor at Oakland University-Beaumont School of Medicine and lectures internationally on heart attack prevention and heart disease reversal.
Kahn is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. In addition to being a Fox TV commentator, he has a national public TV show, The Whole Heart Solution. He has authored three #1 bestselling in books with two more on the way, one titled Vegan Sex. He’s the owner of the largest bar and cafe in the Midwest, GreenSpace Cafe. Dr. Kahn also has a passion for music and has produced a Broadway musical.
Dr. Joel Kahn is very proud of his wife and elementary school sweetheart, Karen, and his 3 children and their mates. He adores his two rescue dogs, Jake and Eva. He's a practitioner of mindfulness, intermittent fasting, yoga, and laughter. His goal is to help you live to 100 with health and vitality by combining integrative, lifestyle and plant-based training.