It’s a proven fact: Certain areas of the world produce more centenarians than others. A new book, The Blue Zones Solution, looks into this phenomenon, with author Dan Buettner specifically focusing on the role of diet.
According to NPR, the book—a follow-up to Buettner’s original book on the topic, called The Blue Zones—provides four key points when it comes to eating: Stop eating when you’re 80 percent full; make your late afternoon or evening meal your smallest of the day; stick to mostly plants (including a healthy helping of beans) while limiting your meat consumption; and, good news, you can drink alcohol on a regular basis as long as you do it in moderation (one to two glasses a day).
Five places fit all the Blue Zone criteria: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra region, Sardinia; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. In speaking about Ikaria, Buettner said, “What set it apart from other places in the region was its emphasis on potatoes, goat's milk, honey, legumes (especially garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas and lentils), wild greens, some fruit and relatively small amounts of fish.” He continued the list, also speaking to the health benefits of feta cheese, lemons and herbs. Similar trends can be found in the other four regions, all of which are broken down over on NPR’s The Salt blog.
A lot of science and research have gone into searching for the healthiest diets, but when it comes down to the Blue Zones, the proof is in the pudding: These people actually are living longer, healthier lives. One of the tricks? Lay off the pudding.
For more suggestions and recipes from the Blue Zones, check out Buettner’s website.
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