Blue Zone Strategies to Adopt Now
Most of us strive to live as long a life as we can, and our lifestyle choices truly play a huge role. The better we eat, the more we exercise, and how resilient we are when it comes to stress, all make an impact.
After National Geographic’s explorer and author Dan Buettner set out to find the secrets to longevity, he wrote a book called The Blue Zone Solution which aims to make people aware of what those who live to 100 or more in the Blue Zones (consisting of 5 regions in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and parts of the US) are doing to live such long lives.
More recently Valter Longo, PhD published his book, The Longevity Diet, featuring his many years of research and Blue Zone cultures. Not surprisingly, much of it boils down to what you’re eating and when you are eating.
In addition, my recently published book, Mastering the Health Continuum, promotes 8 Daily Practices that are in alignment with Blue Zone diet and lifestyle habits. We all age; the goal is to age gracefully and live fully in the process.
Here’s a quick rundown on common Blue Zones habits and how you can incorporate these tips for longevity into your lifestyle.
Make plants the star of your meals.
One thing we seem to be doing wrong is eating more animal protein than plant-based ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to simply let your fruits, vegetables, and other natural plant products take center stage on your plate. Most of your days should revolve around meatless meals.
Choose non-industrial meats.
When you do buy meat, buy free-range, grass-fed and locally raised. Anything that is industrially produced is not part of the Blue Zone.
Eat more fish.
On the other hand, eating more fish is encouraged. You can eat fish regularly, Blue Zone inhabitants choose fish like snapper, trout, grouper, anchovies, or sardines. Avoid any fish that is farmed, opting for wild-caught for the healthiest choice.
Cut down on your dairy intake.
We consume far too much dairy under the notion that we need it for the calcium. You can get calcium through plants such as seaweed, kale, beans, and nuts, to name a few.
Eat free-range eggs sparingly.
Those living in the Blue Zones only eat eggs on the side. Limit your consumption to 3 eggs or less per week and choose eggs that are organic and free-range to avoid exposure to hormones and antibiotics.
Fill up on legumes.
Like fish, you should eat more legumes. A half-cup of cooked beans is the perfect serving amount!
Leave sugar behind.
While you do get natural sources of sugar through fruits, those living to the age of 100 and beyond seldom consume sugar from refined sources. Make those cookies, cakes, and other goodies the rare treat in your life for special occasions rather than a daily occurrence.
Choose nuts for snack time.
Eat two handfuls of nuts every day. Whether you have them as a snack to kick you out of a work slump or you sprinkle them atop your salad, they add perfect protein to your daily intake.
Coffee and tea in moderate amounts are also encouraged. Make water your main beverage of choice.