The Blue Zones diet is based on research conducted by author Dan Buettner. Buettner traveled the world to determine the most important lessons to help people live an active and healthy life into their 90s or even 100s. One of the nine lessons that Buettner presents on this lifestyle diet is for individuals to eat 20% fewer calories a day than they normally would. This is based on the Confucian-inspired saying that people should stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. Furthermore, Buettner discovered that in most parts of the world, where individuals lived well into their 90s, people ate a diet that was limited to little or no meat and did not include process foods, soda or salty snacks. To help dieters understand the Blue Zones diet, below is a list of recommended foods.
Recommended Food #1: Beans
Diets that are rich in beans and other legumes have shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and lower the occurrence of heart attacks. The beans provide the body with healthy flavonoids and fiber. Furthermore, beans are an excellent non-animal source of protein. On the Blue Zones Diet, beans should be the centerpiece of lunch or dinner.
Recommended Food #2: Whole Grains
Whole grains, such as ground corn tortillas and semolina flatbread, are an important part of the Blue Zones diet. Whole grains provide the body with fiber, minerals and a host of nutrients that promote overall health. Whole grains include antioxidants and insoluble fiber, which has shown to reduce certain forms of cancers and may help to reduce cholesterol in some people.
Recommended Food #3: Tofu
Tofu, or bean curd, is a daily feature in the diet of many Eastern cultures, much like bread is for Western cultures. Unlike processed bread, tofu provides the body with protein, minerals, amino acids and is low in calories. Furthermore, tofu includes phytoestrogen, which may help prevent heart disease and heart attacks in women. Phytoestrogen also has been shown to lower cholesterol and promote healthy blood vessels. On the Blue Zones Diet, tofu should be a centerpiece of lunch or dinner.
Recommended Food #4: Nuts
The Harvard University’s School of Public Health conducted a research study that showed people who ate nuts often had a lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who rarely or never ate nuts. Nuts have shown to protect the heart by lowering total blood cholesterol level. While on the Blue Zones diet, individuals are advised to eat ½ to 1 oz of nuts a day.
Recommended Food #5: Fruits and Vegetables
Buettner’s research shows that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is essential for a healthy life. The Blue Zones diet states that dieters should eat at least two vegetables at each meal. Fruit should be eaten with meals and as snacks.
Recommended Food #6: Wine
While not exactly a food, few diets promote the daily consumption of wine. The research conducted behind the Blue Zones diet shows that a daily drink of one or two glasses of wine can help lower heart disease, reduce stress and lower the effects of chronic inflammation. Red wine provides additional benefits due to its polyphenols, which can help clean arteries and help prevent arteriosclerosis.
The Blue Zones diet provides individuals with a lifestyle diet that promotes eating whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and including a glass of wine and a handful of nuts in their daily diet.