Whenever I meet inspirational people, I can't help but reflect on them for days.
Over the years I've met some truly amazing people while traveling and it got me thinking that the ability to seek inspiration is so easy with technology, but it doesn't have quite the same impact as face-to-face encounters.
Just this past week, I've been reflecting back to some of the precious elderly I met in Italy, those whom I believe have aged with such admirable grace.
Did you know that Italy is recognized as a "blue zone" region or a "longevity hot spot" where residents not only live longer but they also experience fewer degenerative diseases and live more healthier years.
Italy has the second highest life expectancy in the world and over 19,000 centenarians that have lived to or beyond 100 years old. Woah!
This phenomenon has drawn the attention of the global scientific community and these residents are now being studied to uncover the secrets to this viva Italia longevity.
So what's the secret?
Rosemary for remembrance
Researchers have been studying a group of 300 centenarians in a population of 2000 residents in Acciaroli (Southern Italy) and they believe the starting point is the wild, cultivated, and aromatic rosemary herb.
In Italy, rosemary is infused into oils, pastas, pizzas, vegetables, breads, salads and even cakes.
Rosemary is one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti inflammatory herbs known. It neutralizes free radicals which damage cell membranes, alter DNA, and cause cellular death.
Rosemary is being further studied for it's protection against cognitive decline, heart disease and cancer, and it's ability to block age degeneration.
I tasted this piney aromatic herb in abundance on my trip and even witnessed how well it flourishes in the gardens of a 17th century monastery that I stayed at for a week.
My taste buds have never quite appreciated it more knowing the remarkable benefits it brings to the table.
Anchovies in abundance
Some people rave about how amazingly delicious anchovies are while others, uhh, not so much.
Anchovies might be small, but these little sea water fish pack a powerful and savoury punch.
They are eaten with even more enthusiasm along the coastal Mediterranean, including the hot spot Acciaroli which is a thriving Italian fishing village.
Anchovies are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and minerals like selenium. These nutrients support detoxification pathways, promote healthy skin, and reduce premature aging.
The rich source of calcium and vitamin A that are found in anchovies support bone growth and prevent eye/macular degeneration and cataracts.
A well known danger of eating too much fish is the high level of mercury and environmental toxins. Smaller fish like anchovies have far fewer toxins due to their short life span and yet still provide many of the same nutritional benefits.
Anchovies are more than "a food for thought" according to the international research team in Acciaroli currently studying the centenarians who eat anchovies in abundance.
So challenge your taste buds and give them a go in your diet.
The time is now to hold your nose, not the anchovies.
During Riposo, or midday siesta in Italy, one of the most memorable experiences for me was walking through the tiny cobble streets of old town Bari, seeing the linen curtains draped on every doorway and hearing the hum of families gathered around their kitchen tables.
Italians place a great deal of importance on eating meals in the presence of family.
It didn't matter that there were tourists like myself outside their homes looking for ways to spend their money.
Meal time is sacred and not to be disturbed.
While this isn't a main contributor to the centenarian longevity, I strongly believe this mentality or the ability to downshift is, without a doubt, what supports their blue zone wisdom.
Much love and lady flow care,
Elaine Clark, nutritionist, writer, women's health pioneer, and founder of LADYFLOW. Elaine is creating a movement of women living in sync with their hormonal wisdom and creativity. Elaine works with health conscious women to feel at home in their body and awaken to their creative potential. She offers a variety of tools to support women with her workshop offerings, retreats, and wellness products.