Blue Zones are longevity hotspots where the local populations live longer and healthier lives. While you may not be living in a Blue Zone, there is definitely a replica of the diet that you can follow.
It is believed that the environment and the lifestyle of the five regions, identified as Blue Zones, are responsible for local populations living longer, healthier lives. The researchers have found that not only do the communities in the Blue Zones live longer; they are largely free of the common modern maladies like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. The Blue Zones are Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nikoya (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece) and Loma Linda, California (USA).
After obtaining data on the eating patterns of the locals, researchers have distilled the findings to figure out what they share when it comes to their diet. The dietary survey of these regions revealed certain common guidelines that reflect the diet pattern of the local populations and this is now known as the Blue Zone Diet.
The dos and the don’ts of the Blue Zone Diet
- Be plant friendly: Stay vegetarian at least 95% of the time. Eat mostly plant products like vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and greens. Eat at least one cup of whole grains every day.
- Eat more protein and fiber: Eat high quality protein and fiber in all your meals. These can be found in foods like beans and tofu.
- Include more nuts: Include a variety of nuts in your diet. Try peanuts, cashewnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, but avoid fried and sugar-coated nuts.
- Drink more water: Drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day. Other than water, drink wine and unsweetened teas and coffee. Avoid sugary drinks and diet sodas.
- Reduce intake of meat and eggs: Minimize meat in your diet and try to eat meat just twice or three times a week. Fish is a healthy alternative to meat. Don’t eat more than three eggs per week.
- Go easy on the whites: Eat only 100% whole grain breads and avoid white breads. Minimize eating dairy products as much as possible.
- Reduce fats and oils: Minimize fats in your diet and, as much as possible, use olive oil for cooking food and sautéing vegetables.
- Reduce intake of processed food: Avoid processed meats like sausages, hot dogs and bacon. Minimize canned foods which contain high amounts of salt, sugar, preservatives and chemicals.
- Minimize sugar intake: Curtail sugar consumption and have no more than seven teaspoons of sugar daily. Avoid cakes, cookies and other sugary foods except on special occasions.
- Be portion conscious: Cut the size of the portions of food at each meal. Limit portion sizes to the size of your palm.
By incorporating some of the healthy eating principles of the Blue Zone Diet into your daily life, you too can live a longer and better life.