Eating your way to a long life
Ever met anyone who literally lived to a hundred? Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal’s mother-in-law, Rosita “Rosing” Gamboa, just turned 102.
She has now survived two pandemics. She was born on June 2, 1918, at the height of the Spanish influenza pandemic and now, at 102, lives to see the world battle the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Belated happy birthday, Lola Rosing!
The best part is that she can still walk, albeit with a cane; does not need maintenance meds, only vitamins; and she still eats lechon. She gave birth to nine children, has 26 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. Hearing about her blessed long and healthy life made me wonder what her secrets are.
Atty. Macalintal shared that Lola Rosing’s secret to a long life is not a secret. “It is my constant prayers to God Almighty who gives me a longer life to live on this earth,” she said.
I think her secret is that she has a routine. These days, the inclination to just stay in bed all day to watch Netflix is strong.
But Lola Rosing has discipline. She starts and ends each day with a prayer.
She drinks milk every day before her evening prayers. No soft drinks for her.
She also does not eat junk food. Instead, her diet is comprised of fruits and vegetables, which she sources all the way from Baguio.
She does not, however, deprive herself of lechon whenever she would like a bite.
Here are other tips on what to eat to live to a healthy 100:
1. Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who according to the memes is the only living batchmate of Adam and Eve, revealed recently in an interview that given a choice he would drink neither coffee nor tea. Instead, he would drink tsokolate or hot chocolate. So perhaps Filipino hot chocolate (Nana Meng’s Tsokolate?) is the key to long life.
2. In the Nicoya Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica, where one in 250 people live to 100, their diet regularly includes beans, whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables like spinach.
3. Avoid sugar. Various interviews with centenarians reveal that sugar is a big no-no if you want to have a long life, except if the sugar is from natural sources like fruits.
4. Legendary Filipino jazz pianist Romy Posadas is now 85 years old, but he would still go to work every day to play the piano if he were not in quarantine. He also walks without a cane. His secret? A spoonful of virgin coconut oil every day, taken in the morning.
5. In Japan, where people generally live to their late 80s, the traditional diet consists of mineral-rich seaweed and lots of gut-supportive fermented foods such as shoyu and miso.
6. The Mediterranean diet is also said to be one of the healthiest in the world. This diet emphasizes fresh, seasonal produce, fish, and healthy fats such as from olive oil and nuts.
7. Italians, who also generally live to their 80s, add a lot of natural herbs and spices to their meals. Garlic is especially noteworthy as it is also known to be antibacterial and cardio-protective. Rosemary is known to be anti-inflammatory.
8. There is something called the Okinawa Longevity Diet, which describes the eating habits of the indigenous people of the Ryukyu Islands (located off the coast of Japan between East China and the Philippine Seas) who are known for their exceptional long lives. This is a diet that is high in carbs but low in calories, comprised of vegetables, soy products and small or occasional amounts of pork and fish.
The proportions in their diet would be 85-percent carbs, 9-percent protein, 6-percent fat. But even if it’s a high carb diet, the main source of carbs is not rice but sweet potatoes. They also drink a lot of jasmine tea and are very liberal with turmeric.
9. WebMD recommends not only eating the right food but also minding the amount of your intake.
A heart-healthy diet consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products like yogurt and cheese, skinless poultry, lots of fish, nuts and beans, and nontropical vegetable oils like olive oil. Calorie intake, of course, depends on your age and weight.
10. Finally, it is important to also regularly exercise. Even the Okinawa diet works only if paired with regular exercise.
In today’s new normal, there are a few other tips to consider: wear a mask, avoid crowds, disinfect your groceries, and as much as possible, stay home.
Whether you follow the Okinawa, Nicoya or Mediterranean diets, I wish us all wonderful, long and healthy lives so that we can smile like Lola Rosing when we are 102.
Remember: stay home and eat healthy.
More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram.