Have you ever wondered why some people live to be 100 years old or more? A team of anthropologists, epidemiologists and researchers were involved in a study to identify the five Blue Zones with the highest percentage of centenarians living there.
"The way of eating and living in the Blue Zones has lower risks for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer," Laura Yu, a nutritionist in New York, tells Good Housekeeping.
It is important for people to understand that the Blue Zones diet is not a specific diet, but a lifestyle characterized by strong social connections, physical activity and stress reduction.
How to turn the Blue Zones diet into a lifestyle:
Move a lot: Let's face it, seniors don't run marathons, but they stay active all day. They walk a lot, take care of the house, the garden, cook, etc.
Purpose : Those who belong to the Blue Zone have a strong and daily motive in their lives and this translates into the expression "why I wake up in the morning".
Small changes: Stress is inevitable wherever you live, but centenarians need time each day to de-stress, so a nap or a glass of wine is a super find.
The 80% Rule : Those who live long stop eating when they are 80% full and this is a rule. This plays a big role in weight management.
Fresh vegetables : Citrus fruits, vegetables and beans are the mainstays of the Blue Zones diet. Meat is eaten only five times a month.
Wine: One to two glasses of alcohol a day with friends or at a meal is fine.
Faith : Most Blue Zone individuals belong to a faith community and regularly attend religious services.
Family: Centenarians put family first and strive to have a lifelong partner.
Social networks: Friendship and close social ties feed into healthy behaviors in Blue Zone regions.
Where are the "blue areas"?
Sardinia, Italy: Locals walk at least five miles every day and follow a plant-based diet.
Okinawa, Japan: Longevity is influenced by close social ties, as well as an old Confucian mantra spoken before meals that reminds people to avoid overeating.
Loma Linda, California: The community follows a mostly vegan diet.
Nicoya, Costa Rica : Their diet is abundant with antioxidant-packed tropical fruits, while their water is rich in calcium and magnesium.
Ikaria, Greece: This island in Greece is known for long-lived locals who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Source: Good Housekeeping