The blue zones, or "hot spots of human health and vitality," include Sardinia, Italy, the islands of Okinawa, Japan, Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, California and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. The foods eaten by people living in these regions can be emulated by anyone seeking better health and a longer life. Here's a list of what Buettner calls "the best of the best" food choices. He recommends eating three of these on a daily basis.
3. Sweet Potatoes
6. Herbal and Green Teas
9. Olive Oil
10. Red wine
Buettner writes that centenarians also have a diet that limits the intake of eggs, dairy products and meats. Additionally, he says there are foods that should be avoided completely by anyone seeking a longer life. These include all packaged and processed food, which contain chemicals like aspartame, GMO sugar and also have an 80% chance of being made with genetically modified ingredients. In the U.S., death and disease seems to increase in step with our chemically induced American appetite for processed, packaged and fast food As Buettner points out in his Ted Talk, people who live to be over 100 completely avoid these products.
Individuals who lived to be 100 years-old stopped eating when they were 80% full. They also had a diet that was 95% plant based. Breakfast was always the biggest meal and most of their meals were cooked in their homes, much unlike our fast food culture. When the old folks need a snack, they choose fruits and nuts, never candy bars or chips.
While Buettner considers food to be the number one reason for longevity, he also targets some key lifestyle choices; exercise, proper sleep patterns, knowing ones purpose and maintaining strong and intimate relationships. For all you budding centenarians, Buettner sums it up like this:
“Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more.”