Sign up FAST! Login

Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones

Stashed in: #health, Best PandaWhale Posts, Good Eats!, Fitspo, Awesome, Longevity!, Nutrition!, Aging, Nutrition, Health Studies, National Geographic, NatGeo, Health, @triketora, Retirement, Healthcare!, Beans!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

There are more carbs in that photo than I would have expected. 

For recipes from the Blue Zones, check out the web site

And for more photos from the Blue Zones, head to National Geographic.

Some Blue Zone rules of thumb:

  • Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full to avoid weight gain.
  • Eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Eat mostly plants, especially beans. And eat meat rarely, in small portions of 3 to 4 ounces. Blue Zoners eat portions this size just five times a month, on average.
  • Drink alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e. 1-2 glasses a day.

Blue Zoners eat meat rarely? They're like anti-Paleos!

Ikaria, Greece Blue Zoners don't eat Greek yogurt?!

And "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."

Ikaria has a few more "top longevity foods:" feta cheese, lemons and herbs like sage and marjoram that Ikarians use in their daily tea. What's missing that we usually associate with Greece? Lamb and fish. The Ikarians do eat some goat meat, but not often.

Okinawa, Japan Blue Zoners don't eat sushi?!

Okinawa happens to have one of the highest centenarian ratios in the world: About 6.5 in 10,000 people live to 100 (compare that with 1.73 in 10,000 in the U.S.)

Okinawans have nurtured the practice of eating something from the land and the sea every day. Among their "top longevity foods" are bitter melons, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea and shitake mushrooms.

Sardinia, Italy Blue Zoners are clearly not lactose intolerant.

So what are those ancient Sardinian shepherds eating? You guessed it: goat's milk and sheep's cheese — some 15 pounds of cheese per year, on average. Also, a moderate amount of carbs to go with it, like flat bread, sourdough bread and barley. And to balance those two food groups out, Sardinian centenarians also eat plenty of fennel, fava beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, almonds, milk thistle tea and wine from Grenache grapes.

Loma Linda, California Blue Zoners avoid sugar, and the ones who eat fish do better than the vegans.

Pesco-vegetarians in the community, who ate a plant-based diet with up to one serving of fish a day, lived longer than vegan Adventists.

Their top foods include avocados, salmon, nuts, beans, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and soy milk.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica Blue Zoners love their eggs, papayas, yams, bananas, and peach palms.

We'd love to be invited for dinner by a centenarian here, where they #putaneggonit all the time. One delicious-sounding meal Buettner was served by a 99-year-old woman (who's now 107) consisted of rice and beans, garnished with cheese and cilantro, on corn tortillas, with an egg on top.

As Buettner writes, "The big secret of the Nicoyan diet was the 'three sisters' of Meso-American agriculture: beans, corn and squash." Those three staples, plus papayas, yams, bananas and peach palms (a small Central American oval fruit high in vitamins A and C), are what fuel the region's elders over the century.

Legumes across the board.

All these foods are so .... earthy.


There's proximity to volcanoes .... and a new theory is born!

Legumes + I + Volcanoes + Earthy = LIVE

Legumes for the win(d)!

Of all the food groups, legumes alone had consistent and statistically significant results.

Among the cultures studied — Japanese, Greeks, Anglo-Celtic Australians, and Swedes — the results showed that for every 20 grams increase in daily legumes intake there was an 8% reduction in the risk of death. That’s less than an ounce increase per day of legumes ranging across cuisines from soy, tofu and miso in Japan, to brown beans and peas in Sweden, to lentils, chickpeas and white beans in the Mediterranean. The authors of this study even made a comparison with Key’s classic Seven Countries Study in the 1960s. There were variations among the different food groups across the different cultures with one exception—legumes. Legumes have for some time been connected with long-lived cultures, and this study shows that no matter what your ethnic background or where you live, eat more legumes to live longer, especially as you age.



You guys... dunno how to tell you this, but most people don't want to grow up to be hungry farty goatherders and yam diggers. Can you imagine having to do that shit for over 100 years!?!?! The tedium would leave me praying for death!


Did you skim over the part about alcohol, HF?

I don't think 1 glass of wine per day would be enough to make up for the tedium, Geege.

Add in-line skating down (erupting) Mt. Aetna to your health regimen? 

The key to longevity is diet. But also sex, naps, wine, and good friends.

Found through a triketora retweet:

Check, check, check, double check.

You May Also Like: