Updated: Mar 5
The island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy is one of five places (zones) around the world where people consistently live over 100 years old. Where a plant-based diet accented with meat, whole-grain breads, beans, garden vegetables, cheese, fruits and olive oil combined with the natural activity of daily walking has proven to be a positive benefit to the cardiovascular system, muscle and bone metabolism and overall well-being.
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic writer and Emmy award-winning documentarian who travels the globe to examine and unlock the secrets of longevity has written a book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. According to Buettner there is a special seasonality in both food and culture that influences the quality of their lives.
For the Sardinian people, this way of living has resulted in nearly10 times more centenarians per capita than the United States and the secret may be as simple as a Fennel and Orange Salad. Well not just a salad alone. Sardinians also eat a diet of fiber rich fava beans (high in folate) and a type of nutritive wafer-thin bread know as Carta da musica.
A bread so thin that a sheet of music can be read through it. Sardinian breads are made with live yeast cultures that creates a mixture of substances with positive effects that may counteract harmful bacteria found in the digestive tract. They wash this all down with goat or sheep's milk and divided amounts of Cannanou, a dark red wine said to contain the world’s highest levels of antioxidants.
Fennel grows wild in Sardinia and flavors several Sardinian dishes. You can find it cooking in soups, stews, and salads. Rich in fiber and soluble vitamins such as A, B, and C. It’s also a good diuretic to keep the blood pressure low.
Arrange sliced fennel on a serving plate. Section oranges and place on top of fennel. Whisk together the oil, juice, salt. Drizzle over fennel and orange. Sprinkle with freshly grated pepper. If you like you can add a few Italian black olives if desired.
1 large fennel bub trimmed and thinly sliced 2-3 oranges peeled 1-2 tbsp Capezzana extra vrigin olive 1 lemon coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Arrange sliced fennel on a serving plate. Section oranges and place on top of fennel. Whisk together the oil, juice, salt. Drizzle over fennel and orange. Sprinkle with freshly grated pepper. If you like yo can add a few Italian black olives if desired.