Is the Blue Zone Diet Really the Best for Living Longer?

We see the headlines all the time about “100-year-old woman says secret to long life is…” We know that good relationships, exercise, eating well and having a purpose help people live longer, healthier lives. But, some nutritionists claim the secret is following specific diets.

The Blue Zone diet is based on people who live in the five spots on Earth with the highest percent of people aged 100 or older. The five places are Loma Linda in California, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Ikaria in Greece, Sardinia in Italy and Okinawa, Japan. As these spots are all over the world, the foods they eat are very different, but the people behind the project say they found some similarities.

To follow the Blue Zone diet, you should eat 90 percent plant-based foods. According to the blue diet, you eat less than two ounces of meat five times a month and eat only three ounces of five up to three times a week. You stick to water with some coffee, tea and red wine. You eat whole grain or sourdough bread. You eat unprocessed foods and virtually no added sugar — less than seven teaspoons. You snack on nuts and half a cup of beans daily. You eat a single egg two to four times a week. Stop eating before you’re full to prevent overeating. Eat early in the day. These things were found to be broadly similar across all five areas.

People in the blue zones also have parallel lives. They are physically active, involved in their communities, don’t spend much time on electronics and work with their hands. They have busy physical and social lives, making the diet’s role in their longevity less clear. It’s evident that a mix of the two is at play. It’s interesting to see that people from all different countries have so much in common when you get beyond the surface!

The Blue Zone diet isn’t necessarily built for weight loss, but they are all healthy foods, creating a very balanced diet. However, it is quite restrictive. And its meager allowance for sugar means you will have to cook everything at home. If you enjoy committing to a diet and loves home cooking, this isn’t an unhealthy diet, and it could aid healthy aging. But, for many people, it might be hard to follow.  

Banner image: Francesco Ungaro via Pexels

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