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By Beth Kaszuba

Have you heard of “blue zones”?

The color might be cool. But these are actually hot spots — for longevity. And the folks who inhabit these locales, including places as diverse as Loma Linda, California, and Okinawa, Japan, don’t just live longer on average. They often avoid the health problems we might consider inevitable as we age.

Diabetes. Heart disease. Obesity.

Of course, many factors contribute to making a zone blue. But regional cuisine almost certainly plays a role.

A bounty of fruits, nuts, and vegetables surrounds a large cutting board.In Ikaria, Greece, vegetables and fresh fish are diet staples. In Okinawa, plates are full of sweet potatoes, soybeans and melons. And in the Ogliastra region of Sardinia, which has the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians, the traditional diet is low on meat protein and high on vegetables, olives and nuts.

Want to blow out 100 birthday candles — with a deep, strong breath? Consider following the blue zones’ lead. You can start by adding more healthy fats from fish and nuts to your diet and boosting your intake of veggies and plant-based proteins like soybeans.

Best of all, working with clean, simple ingredients makes for clean, simple cooking. After all, who wants to waste precious minutes stirring pots and doing dishes?

Walnut-and-pistachio-crusted ginger salmon

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 salmon filets (6 ounces each)
  • ½ cup each chopped walnuts and pistachios

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400⁰ F and place salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mix first four ingredients together and brush onto salmon. Sprinkle with walnuts and pistachios. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Pair this with the fire & ice cucumber salad from our summer 2021 edition for a complete, healthy meal. Get the recipe: Geisinger.org/FireIceSalad


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A prepared serving of walnut-and-pistachio-crusted ginger salmon.
Get this delicious walnut-and-pistachio-crusted ginger salmon recipe below.