The Blue Zones are 5 different locations around the world where people live the longest.
Sardinia holds the longest living man. Ikaria, Greece has the world’s lowest rate of dementia. Individuals in Costa Rica reach a healthy age of 90 years old and in Loma Linda, California there’s a group of seventh-day Adventists who live up to a decade longer than other Americans.
What is it about these five different locations that has people living longer and with less chronic conditions and illness?
1. They move naturally every 20 minutes or so. Going to a friends house, out to eat or to church is an opportunity to move/walk.
2. Loneliness is not an option – if you don’t show up at a town festival or in the village, people will show up at your door to check on you.
3. The people have a sense of purpose, from childhood to old age. Their sense of purpose is embedded in their community, family and / or the next generation.
4. Food – 90-100% of their diet consists of whole, plant-based fare. Not because it’s a fad, but because fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, beans and whole grains are cheap and accessible.
5. They lead healthy, energetic lives.
6. They consume meats or treats as celebratory foods.
Let’s take a deeper dive into tips from the The Blue Zones in regards to our nutrition:
- Use fewer ingredients – less variety may help keep people from overeating and keep the immune system strong.
- Add cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage have been known to protect the heart, stave off cancer and lower oxidative stress.
- Beans, beans, beans. – Add them to your diet, they’re a great source of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Plus, they’re cheap and versatile.
- Finish dinners with olive oil.
- Supplement with fresh herbs and spices – rosemary, oregano, sage, mint, garlic, turmeric and mugwort all possess medicinal values AND add flavor.
- Fiber – Grains, greens, nuts and beans feed the eight pounds of bacteria living in our gut. Some of that bacteria produces toxins like choline; others produce compounds that reduce inflammation, regulate our metabolism, and fuel our immune system. The toxin-producing bacteria tend to feed off meat and eggs, while the healthy bacteria favor fiber.
The cookbook is called The Blue Zones Kitchen by Dan Buettner.