People who live in the longevity sustaining paradise of Nicoya, Costa Rica eat mainly a plant-based diet. Diet staples include corn tortillas, beans, and rice, all from locally-grown organic produce. Residents there typically have their own vegetable gardens. They grow onions, garlic, green vegetables, bell peppers, yams, plantains, cabbage, and tomatoes. Their meals are frequently flavored with wild ginger, known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Nicoya’s also growing an abundance of fruit in their gardens and eat plentiful amounts of fresh, ripe papaya, mango, chico zapote, pineapples, oranges, bananas, and lemons. Maranon (cashew apple) is a local red-colored orange with five times more vitamin C than normal oranges, and annona (sugar apple) is a type of pear containing anti-cancer compounds. It is thought that the high fruit content of the Nicoyan diet is likely to be the reason they have very low incidence of stomach cancer.
Nicoya’s soak their corn in water with ash and lime before turning it into a dough called nixtamal. The soaking process makes the corn more digestible and the lime infuses it with calcium. This liberates the corn’s amino acids greatly increasing its nutritional value. Cooked maize has been found to lower cholesterol. Both cooked corn and maize are high in anti-oxidants. The Nicoya’s eat plentiful amounts of black beans and other beans on a daily basis.
For protein, the Nicoya’s keep their own free range chickens and eat meat including pork and beef only about once a week. Fried eggs are eaten regularly. A type of milk curd called “Cua Jada” and cheese is fermented from organic livestock.
Nicoyan water is exceptionally high in calcium due to permeated limestone (calcium carbonate) found in the bedrock. It also contains magnesium. Magnesium is required in order for calcium to be assimilated into the bones. This has resulted in Nicoyans having excellent bone health.
As a general rule, Nicoya’s tend to eat more in the day time and less in the evening.
Another secret of the of Nicoyans’ long lifespan is the fact that their water, sourced from volcanic hills, contains nutrient-rich minerals.
Dr. Oz, visited Nicoya, Costa Rica in 2008, Costa Rica and remarked,
“Calcium, magnesium and water—it relaxes your arteries, it builds bone strength and it has a huge benefit across the board in how your body functions,”
Many Baby Boomers are moving to Costa Rica because they can live in an ecological wonderland and take advantage of excellent and affordable health care.
What’s your favorite Central American/Caribbean Meal? Please leave a comment and share.