There are countless theories out there about how to live longer — practicing yoga, going on frequent vacations, holding off on marriage — we’ve pretty much heard it all at this point. But thanks to an ongoing study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Rome La Sapienza, we are now one step closer to knowing what it really takes.
Researchers are currently studying the tiny Italian village Acciaroli, home to more than 300 people who are at least 100 years old and account for approximately 45 percent of the town’s total population. (To put that into perspective, the average life expectancy in this country is 78.8 years old.) While there are several factors that researchers believe contribute to the very impressive number of centenarians in the area (such as its remote location, plentiful hiking and walking opportunities, and access to fresh air), many suspect that the amount of rosemary used in the region’s cooking might just be reason number one. And when considering the area’s largely Mediterranean diet, it makes total sense why the study authors think the herb is so important.
“Rosemary is ubiquitous in the Mediterranean diet, used to cook everything from veggies to fish to meat and as a garnish on tons of soups, salads, and even desserts,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, the Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “There is lots of research that the plant-based, whole-foods approach is optimal for weight loss, chronic disease prevention, and longevity.”
It’s also super easy to cook with, says London. You can add rosemary to just about everything — olive oil, white fish, you name it.
“Herbs and spices in general can also help enhance flavor without adding extra salt, so they’re ideal for anyone at risk for cardiovascular disease,” adds London.
Well, we know what we’ll be sprinkling on our dinner tonight.
[h/t: Daily Mail]