How to Eat to Live to 100 and Beyond

The ‘Blue Zones’ are regions of the world with high percentages of centenarians (people who live to be 100 or more) — as much as ten times as the United States does. There are currently five identified Blue Zone regions in which the inhabitants seem to have discovered the key factors linked to living a long life:
  • The province of Ogliastra in Sardinia: A tiny island off the coast of Italy.
  • Okinawa, Japan: A set of islands off the southern end of Japan.
  • Loma Linda, California: A religious community of Seventh-Day Adventists in Southern California.
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica: An 80-mile peninsula in Central America.
  • Ikaria, Greece: A small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
Although these Blue Zones all have a different cultural basis for their diets, some underlying themes run through them:
  • Mostly Plant-Based: These populations eat many plant-based foods and limit their meat consumption; in most cases, meat is only consumed once per week. The primary protein sources are beans, legumes, lentils, dairy, and seafood. Plus, they consume lots of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, which contribute to longer and healthier lives.
  • Low to Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Four out of the five Blue Zones enjoy a moderate alcohol intake (excluding the Seventy-Day Adventists). The antioxidant-rich red wine of the Mediterranean areas is especially beneficial, and consuming it at the end of the day with friends and family is encouraged.
  • Constant Daily Movement: Movement is worked into the daily lives and routines of the people in the Blue Zones, like walking instead of driving on errands, gardening, and doing physical chores.
  • Purpose and Community: The Blue Zone inhabitants place a high value on community, whether it’s through neighbors, a church, or multiple generations of family living under one roof. Having a sense of purpose is another important value, which is linked to longer lifespans.

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