Sardinia, the second largest island off Italy's coast, is considered one of the world's Blue Zones: AKA, where people live the longest.
The secret to longevity has always been coveted by humanity, and Dan Buettner might just have the answers. The American National Geographic Fellow and New York Times-bestselling author discovered five places around the world where people live the longest and healthiest lives, and they have been dubbed the Blue Zones. These locations are Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California... and Sardinia, Italy.
Image Credit: David McLain
So what makes a Blue Zone a Blue Zone? Dan Buettner goes in depth to answer these questions in his deeply informative cookbooks, but there are nine principles (called the Power 9) that the people in all of these locations practice daily. Of course, a large part of these patterns is the food that they eat, and Sardinia is known for recipes that prioritize health.
Take Minestrone Soup, for example, one of Sardinia's specialties.
"As it happens, minestrone possesses all the characteristics of world-class longevity food. The Sardinian version—a pot of healthy amino acids—delivers all the protein necessary for human sustenance. The beans and vegetables also provide a huge dose of fiber, which feeds healthy gut bacteria, complex (or slow-burning) carbohydrates, and compounds that may regulate metabolism. And, since its ingredients morph with the seasons, so too does the flavor." - Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones American Kitchen
It isn't just the veggie-rich soup doing the trick either, but the local delicacies of Sardinia itself. Fresh cruciferous veggies and organically-grown grains thrive bountifully - it's why fregola is such a cornerstone of their regional cuisine.
Connanau wine might be an important piece of the puzzle, too - it's "made from juice pressed from local Grenache grapes, [and] it ferments for 15 days with flavonoid-rich seeds and skins. The result is a wine with arguably the world’s highest antioxidant content." - Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones American Kitchen
In addition to wine, Sardinia boasts some of the best olive oil in the world. In fact, the olive trees of Sardinia are so important, their oil has been granted with PDO designation (meaning it’s a uniquely special product that can only come from that area). Olive oil in general is rich in healthful polyphenols and antioxidants—and the more flavorful the oil, the more of these compounds it contains. The herbal, artichoke-like character of Sardinian olive oil is a testament to its nutrient-packed goodness.
Get a taste of Sardinia with the recipes here - and shop our award-winning Sardinian olive oil below!