What is the Blue Zones Diet?
The Blue Zones Diet is an eating plan that emulates the dietary habits of the people living in the world’s 5 “blue zones” – geographic regions where the inhabitants are 10 times more likely than Americans to live to age 100. The diet’s name comes from the blue circles researchers drew around these locations on a map when they first identified them. Unlike many diets, which are often intended only for a temporary period of time, the Blue Zones Diet defines a way of eating for life. It focuses on how you eat as well as what you eat. This includes healthy dietary habits as follows:
- The 80% rule – people in the blue zones tend to stop eating when they feel 80% full. They stop before they’re stuffed! They also eat bigger meals earlier in the day and smaller meals in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Plant slant – the diet includes mostly whole, plant-based foods – with very limited meat and animal products.
- Drink mostly water – with very few exceptions, people in blue zones drink just water, coffee, tea, and wine. (Soft drinks, which account for about half of Americans’ sugar intake, are unknown to most blue zones centenarians.) Although people in most blue zones do enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, this doesn’t mean you should start drinking if you don’t drink now.
It’s part of a positive lifestyle.
Along with healthy dietary habits, people in the blue zones share other commonalities that may contribute to their longevity:
- Movement – people in the blue zones have active lives that include walking, gardening and regular exercise.
- Purpose – they live intentionally – with reasons to get out of bed every morning.
- Downshift – they find ways to manage and reduce stress. This could include praying, meditating or napping.
- Right tribe – they have positive social connections and people in their lives who support healthy behaviors.
- Belonging – most of them are involved in a faith-based community.
- Loved ones first – they place a high priority on family and close friends. They live with or near parents and grandparents, commit to a life partner, and spend quality time with their children and loved ones.
Blue Zones food guidelines
- Retreat from meat – Blue zones centenarians eat about 2 oz or less about 5x per month
- Reduce dairy
- Slash sugar – Consume only 28 grams (7 teaspoons) of added sugar daily
- Eliminate eggs – No more than 3 per week
- Go easy on fish – Fewer than 3 oz, up to 3 times weekly
- Snack on nuts – About 1-2 handsful a day
- Drink mostly water – About 7 glasses/day; coffee, tea, and wine in moderation
- Daily dose of beans – Half-cup to one cup/day
- Go wholly whole – Single-ingredient, raw, cooked, ground, or fermented, and not highly processed
- 95-100% plant-based
Check out these delicious recipes
Welia Health has picked our 3 favorite Blue Zones recipes to get you started!