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Full of Beans

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The expression “full of beans” refers to someone having lots of energy and enthusiasm. In the case of Helena Pereira dos Santos, the expression holds true in more than one way. Not only is Helena an active member of her family and community, she also attributes her longevity to eating a diet rich in beans. By the way, she’s 115 years old.

Born in Brazil four years before the Titanic sank and six years before WW1 began, Helena credits beans, good sleep, exercise, and joy as her secrets to longevity.

This great grandmother is active and independent, and mentally sharp. She loves to walk and her regular trips to the market. She also makes an annual 170-mile-long pilgrimage to the world’s largest cathedral, the National Sanctuary of Aparecida, in Aparecida, Brazil. 

Helena’s husband passed away in 2004 at age 103. She has also outlived most of her children. Actually, Helena isn’t the world’s oldest living person. That is currently Maria Branyas Morera of Spain who is more than a year older. 

However, it is interesting to note the role of beans in the diet of both cultures. In fact, each Blue Zone features one type of bean or another as a major component of their diets. Beans are full of nutrients, protein, and fiber. They keep your gut healthy which leads to lower inflammation and better immune function. 

Perhaps we should all consider the benefits of being “full of beans.” Read the rest of Helena’s amazing story here.

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