Lessons in healthy eating from the world’s oldest person

Maria Lucimar Pereira, via Survival International

Meet Maria Lucimer Pereira, native to the Brazilian Amazon and lover of organic foods.  Oh, and possibly the oldest person in the world, as last Saturday she celebrated her 121st birthday.

Ms. Pereira has never lived in a city and eats no processed foods, added sugars or salt.  She credits her longevity to her natural diet; the indigenous Brazilian eats as close to the forest as possible: grilled meat, manioc (a root vegetable), fish, and banana porridge.

Diets containing a high variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy have been linked to longevity by multiple scientific studies.  One recent study followed a group of 59,038 Swedish women with a variety of diets.  Those with “healthy” diets (fruit/vegetable-based) had significantly lower mortality than those following any other diet.

The rest of us could learn a few things from Ms. Pereira’s diet.  Lucky for us, resources like the Fulton Street Farmers Market make it easy to add a wide variety of natural fruits and vegetables to our own diets.  Check out a recent post from our Watershed Moment program for an interview with Christine Helms-Maletic of the Midtown Neighborhood Association, the group that oversees the market.  The Fulton Street Farmers Market also has an informative website where you can find days, hours, and directions; be sure to check the “In Season” page for produce currently on sale.

If you’re interested in doing your own organic vegetable gardening, check out this blog post for some information and links on low-impact vegetable gardening.  Remember to stay active, too; participating in initiatives like Bike to Work Week is beneficial to you and the environment, and may help you live longer!  If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, check out the Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition’s website, for resources, events and maps that will inspire you to give your car a break and start biking.

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