Blue Zones

The Blue Zones Diet was invented by National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner. He traveled the world in search of the regions where people live the longest, healthiest lives. He believes he has identified the key dietary factors that lead to greater health and increased longevity, and he has outlined them in his book, Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Here’s what you should know about Buettner’s Blue Zones Diet.

The Premise

The Blue Zones Diet is based on the idea that, in some parts of the world, people not only live significantly longer than do their counterparts in other regions, but they stay healthy for longer as well. Buettner identifies these regions as:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California USA

Buettner believes that everyone in the world can live longer, healthier lives if they apply certain principles to their diets and to other areas of their lives.

The Diet

In Okinawa, Japan, people eat a diet based mainly on soy, rice, vegetables, sweet potatoes and fish. Okinawan people don’t eat until they’re full; they stop when they’re almost full, which leads to a moderate calorie restriction that can help enhance longevity and life long health. 

Sardinians eat the Mediterranean diet, which has long been noted for its health benefits. Their diet is based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, goat and sheep milk. They drink red wine daily and rarely eat meat.

Loma Linda, California is mostly populated by Seventh Day Adventists whose religion urges them to eat a vegetarian diet. Scientists believe that the longevity of Loma Linda’s population may be due to their high consumption of oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables and water.

The world’s oldest and healthiest people have been found living in a rural part of Costa Rice. These people eat a diet based on rice, squash, beans, eggs, corn, and local fruits like mangoes, oranges and papayas. The water in their region is high in trace minerals like magnesium and calcium.

The people in all of these regions enjoy strong social and family ties. They typically express deep spiritual and religious beliefs, and maintain a high level of physical activity. Buettner feels that these social factors are just as important to your health and longevity as diet and exercise.

What to Get Excited Over

Following the Blue Zone Diet may well help you live longer, as well as increase your quality of life longer into your golden years. The Blue Zones Diet goes beyond diet and exercise to tackle the psychosocial factors that contribute to optimum health. The Blue Zones Diet offers online support for dieters, and helps dieters analyze ways to increase their own longevity and enhance overall health.

Things to Consider

The Blue Zones Diet doesn’t give any meal plans or recipes, so you’ll be forced to come up with these on your own. Many of its recommendations are nonspecific and hard to implement.

The Verdict

The principles of the Blue Zones Diet are sound, but this book doesn’t give you any help with integrating those principles into your life.

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