During my time with the Blue Zones/National Geographic team, I had the highly satisfying experience of having something that I do instinctively, passionately and naturally confirmed as A Good Thing.
I learned that eating pork can make you live longer. Or, more scientifically, one of the dietary staples that the various communities in the Blue Zones around the world had in common is pork – read more on that here.
Pork is a protein-rich substance that clears the skin, protects the liver, detoxifies the lungs, even cleanses the system of cholesterol. Okinawans – lauded as the longest lived people on the planet – are the only Japanese to eat pork. The Japanese as a whole do not rate high on the life expectancy stakes. Only the pork eaters.
Dan Buettner and I talked a lot about meat consumption. He’s a reticent meat fan. But I think we agree: meat is great. But eat more… and less (see below), is my mantra.
“Pork is interesting. It’s an anomaly and I would not have guessed it, but I can’t deny it. One Okinawan scientist studied this. His theory, and I’m not sure I agree with it completely, is that because pig is the most genetically similar to humans, there’s something in the pork protein that helps repair arterial damage. What he cites is that in America we die of heart disease and the Japanese tend to die of strokes, but in Okinawa they have fewer strokes. This is part of the reason they live longer. The doctor theorizes that it’s because they eat more pork than any other prefecture of Japan, and pork protein serves almost as caulking.”
This trip I’ve celebrated pork everywhere. I’ve craved it, my body has benefited almost immediately from it, I’ve been thoroughly grateful for it. In Spain it was Iberian pork – roasted, as a prosciutto type tapas, as salami, in