The Hispanic Paradox: Why Do Latinos Live Longer?

Time to spill the beans on why U.S. Hispanics tend to live the longest despite less education on average, a higher poverty rate, and worse access to health care.

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Data like this support my Daily Dozen ( ) recommendation for eating legumes ideally at every meal. We’ve got free apps for both iPhone ( ) and Android ( ). If you want to improve the apps, check out our Open Source Initiative ( ).

More on the wonders of beans, split peas, chickpeas and lentils in:
• Beans and the Second Meal Effect ( )
• Increased Lifespan from Beans ( )
• Beans, Beans, They're Good For Your Heart ( )
• Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses ( )
• Slow Your Beating Heart: Beans vs. Exercise ( )

What’s the best way to eat them? See Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? ( ) and Cooked Beans or Sprouted Beans? ( ).

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Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution!
-Michael Greger, MD FACLM

Image Credit: Robert Judge via flickr.

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Dave McKinnon

  • Manda Reyes says:

    My husband is Mexican and we go to Mexico regularly. I have a theory, they do eat more beans, but not THAT much more than others. But a Hispanic family tends to always have a bowl of fresh fruit on the table, and if you open the fridge you’ll usually find fresh tomatoes, chilies, cilantro, onions, and garlic. They are also much more close family oriented and take good care of their elderly and where my hubby is from nobody puts their elderly in a nursing home because they can’t afford it. They stay with family and get better care.

    • demo last says:

      thats true but when it comes to your elderly you also dont put them in nuirsing homes because you are supposed to take care of them , also if you do put them in nursing homes you will be judge by society.

  • YQuienDijo says:

    My great great grandmother died at 102, her daughter 100 and my grandmother is 95, healthy and active… Yes, our diet is different and that is always a topic of conversation between hispanics: “the same meat, or fruit or vegetables taste different in latin american countries… I believe its because it more “whole food” than the hormone/pesticied filled food we find here… And about the beans… We are obsessed with them, in every hispanic restaurant you will find rice&beans, rice&beans, rice&beans

  • Baked Vegan says:

    I was going to write my thesis on this paradox. I also read that hispanics close relationships with their families another factor too. My family is from el salvador and a lot of the dishes include beans, rice, &corn

  • Plant Based for the Whole Family says:

    I’m from Brazil living here for over 15 years. The staples of the Brazilian diet is rice and beans. since April 2015, I’ve finally adopted a Brazilian diet outside my country. We eat rice and beans every day now. My husband and I lost over 100 pounds and he reversed all his chronic health issues like high blood sugar and pressure. Yes, for sure the American diet is killing not only Americans but all those that eat it once they move here. The real sad thing is you now can get the SAD diet anywhere in the world. In Brazil, we have an all time higher levels of obesity because people are eating Macdonalds and a lot of packaged food instead of rice and beans. My husband eats rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m fortunate that he loves them that much. 😀

    • Plant Based for the Whole Family says:

      +Spartan K whichever ones you like. 🙂 the south part of Brazil people prefer black beans. in the north, beans like pinto, navy beans or black eye peas. at our home, we use pinto beans, black, northern white, chickpeas, lentils… red beans with liquid smoke and everyone thinks they are having red beans with sausage. 😀 try them all… see which ones you like. soaking for 24 hours is best, but if you don’t it’s okay too. you’ll be making more music. 😀

    • Plant Based for the Whole Family says:

      +James D let me explain. .. before McDonald’s, burger king, pizza Hut and other American fast food joints went to Brazil, people would go to a restaurant that served sandwiches or pizza on a special day or occasion. Most people ate at home or home cooked meals in mom and pops restaurants like rice, beans, vegetables, salads, small cheap piece of meat. Now that the fast food joints are everywhere with marketing strategies people believe they are ” better” if they eat like Americans instead of like traditional Brazilians. you should watch a documentary by Michael Pollan where he shows how fast food is taking over in India. Just like American believe that if they drink coke they will be happier, secure and richer, so are people around the world believing similar lies about fast and processed food in general. I believe it’s criminal what these marketing companies are doing. In the North part of Brazil, poor women will stop breastfeeding their babies because they have believed the lie that dry milk from a can from a corporation called Nestlé is better for their babies. :/ It’s our job to educate ourselves and the ones we love about the food we eat, whatever it’s origin.

    • Plant Based for the Whole Family says:

      +James D I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t like Carnaval. But one of the first things people ask me about or associate to me because I’m Brazilian is that I know, like and participate in Carnaval. So yeah… the corporations are American. Not all Americans eat or like fast food but you got to agree with me, just like in the case of Brazil and carnaval, a great majority practices it. So I get lumped in the mess. :/ carnaval is a Brazilian activity although I don’t engage in it. Fast food is an American biz although you might not like or eat it.

    • Plant Based for the Whole Family says:

      +James D 🙂

    • Not Rappaport says:

      What kind of rice?

  • Ivan B says:

    I’m Panamanian-Cuban. Both of my grandparents lived to be 86 and 87 or so I think. Both were not physically active. My grandma used to make beans every time we’d visit. Her famous Cuban black beans were out of sight delicious. My other grandma in Panama is still living and is in her 90’s. Great video, loved the information!

    • javy martinez says:

      Its simple its the food ans how we work. Listen even fat ones in our communities they have more energy and move more than most americans do

    • Insightful By Nature says:

      Ahhh I see Ivan. Great to see and hear about your history. Please keep up the good work ! 🙂

    • Lance Baker says:

      @Ivan, my father smoked heavily all his life, rarely exercised even the slightest, was very overweight, ate a lot of meat, and almost never ate beans of any type. He lived to 85. These anecdotal examples prove nothing.

    • Solomon says:

      Lance, his grandparents contribute to a large pile of evidence. Yours doesn’t, do to the fact that people who live and eat like your example statistically do not live to be 86. However, with Ivan’s examples, this is more the norm (according to a very large pool of evidence). It’s less about provability and more and sensibility.

    • Love,Peace, Happy says:

      @Lance Baker It the same say, my granparents was all smokers they live until 90. But smoke is unhealty!

  • Leafy Vegan says:

    John Steinbeck wrote about the health benefits of beans in his story ” Tortilla Flat” – the local doctor could not figure out why children who ate a lot of beans w/ tomato wrapped in a tortilla were so strong and healthy — concerned people gave the family ridiculous amounts of fish, chicken, steaks, milk, and 50 pound boxes of celery, lettuce, etc….The children developed acne, became constipated… but the story does have a happy and humorous ending.

    • GenX X says:

      It was funny how the woman who cared for all the babies said fruit and vegetables were not good for children.

  • Mimi Griffith says:

    I volunteer at a food pantry whose clients include many Spanish-speaking people. In my experience, these clients highly value dry beans, canned beans, corn and fresh produce — noticeably more so than English-speaking clients.I also notice a difference in older and more Spanish-dominant clients vs. younger and English-proficient clients, in that those who have acculturated more to the U.S. are more likely to prefer SAD foods. Regardless, I push the beans and produce with ALL clients! Many thanks for this research, which I will share with the leaders of our food pantry services!

  • Iluv Merengue says:

    When I read the title of this video I said to myself out loud “It’s the beans!”, and I kept repeating it but I really didn’t fully expect that to hear it so when I did I burst into laughter. I am Hispanic by birth and grew up eating white rice and a type of red pinto bean almost every day, the other days we had chick peas, white beans, and sometimes black-eyed peas, lentils or black beans. We did eat meat and some dairy but not in the excessive amounts consumed in the U.S. where I live now, and “back in the day” I didn’t have any weight problems, those started when I began eating the mostly fake American foods.

    I began transitioning to veganism last December and immediately began losing weight without any effort (I completed the “process” by the end of January) and to date have lost almost 20 lbs. and hope to lose more. I’m now back to my roots eating legumes every single day, I just love them and I feel lucky being Hispanic and a woman because my odds of living a long life are looking pretty good now!

  • Creative Kismet says:

    My Hispanic grandparents, ages 88 and 94, might possibly outlive a few of their very overweight and unhealthy children. My grandmother still makes a pot of beans every other Saturday for her and my grandfather to eat almost daily. She says she will never tire of them. They also eat a ton of fruit and enjoy just about everything in moderation. They drink unfiltered water and never buy organic. It’s pretty amazing to me.

  • Patricia Williamson says:

    As a new person on the starch based plant based plan, this info is mind blowing. I am lucky that I love beans of all forms, can eat them for three meals but then my friends and family would be gone! LOL!

  • Blissed says:

    OMG thank you!!! Now maybe I can convince my mom stop using so much oil in everything she cooks and add more vegetables and fruits. Going vegan will take a lot longer but in the meantime this would be a good step in the right direction! ♡♡♡

  • Fruitopia says:

    love this! I grew up in Mexico on my grandparents farm until I was 5. my steady diet was beans and corn tortillas. I also ate a lot like tons of pomegranates, oranges, avocado, tomatoes and blackberries that grew there. it was amazing picking fruit from the trees for free whenever I was hungry. now I gotta pay $5 at Whole Foods for an organic pomegranate😄💖 but I’m a Hispanic Vegan so I’m grateful. Thank you for all you do Dr. Greger. You’re a blessing. 🍒🍓🍉🍍🍌🍇🎉

  • Valeria Terrones says:

    The foods that native Peruvians ate are now considered superfoods like quinoa, maca, cacao, kiwicha, cañihua, flax and so many others, and their diets were also based in potatoes and corn.

  • Gareth says:

    I like beans in my vegan diet because they make me feel full and satisfied which is particularly important if you are physically active. So to me, beans make it easier to sustain a vegan diet. Beans have a tremendous amount of fiber and i think that is a significant reason of why it would be beneficial.

  • Eric J. Ramos says:

    I may be able to help you understand Dr. Greger; hispanics who are still used to the way they would cook before coming here involve a wide variety of vegetables into many dishes and stews. My ex’s family was from Oaxaca , Mexico and while they ate a lot of meat they made food with tons of bell peppers, herbs, nopales(cactus), chayote, beans, potatoes, celery, onion, rice etc. It seemed as though they used any vegetable they could get their hands on. Once I was very sick and it was relentless. Wasn’t getting any better. They got this bag of tree bark from the trees in Oaxaca and made a tea from it. I’m not superstitious or anything but I started feeling better since I Started drinking it. My point is that they practice a lot of holistic type medicine and believe in medicating with diet. Some of it seems crazy and weird but I believe this statistic has a lot to do with just how much they look to vegetables as a part of every meal and a solution for any ailments.

  • Paula Nicole Lazo says:

    Man, someone needs to go in and translate ALL of Dr. Greger’s videos! So informative 🌱

  • Jared Thibodaux says:

    If eating beans makes you live longer then this Cajun will never die. Black beans and rice for breakfast, pintos for lunch and lintel soup for supper. When you grow up dirt poor you have to learn to cook them right, and even now as I am older and financially well off they are still among my favorite dishes.

  • Tony says:

    I am Cuban, and I can’t remember a day that I went without eating beans as a kid. My mom would always soak them in water the day before, which made them easy to digest.

  • Camila says:

    I’m from Argentina. When I wasn’t vegan I had lentils only a few times in winter, but green peas were really usual, also rice was really really frequent to me. Now I have chickpeas, lentils, soy beans, any colour of bean, you name it, everyday.

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