Some years ago, Dan Buettner wrote a New York Times best-selling book entitled The Blue Zones Solution. No, it’s not a political treatise. Buettner, along with the National Geographic Society, did a decade-long study of the locations on earth with the highest concentration of 100 year olds, as well as the lowest rates for major diseases.
Where the Centenarians Live
The locations were: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
While there were regional variations in diet, the best of the best longevity foods included three items daily from this list: beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, lentils); greens; sweet potatoes, nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds); olive oil, oats, barley, fruits (all kinds); green or herbal teas; turmeric (spice or tea), water, coffee, and red wine (no more than 2 glasses a day).
Foods and Lifestyle in Common
America’s only city to make the cut, Loma Linda, has the largest concentration of Seventh Day Adventists in the country. Those in this Blue Zone hot spot ate a diet, that included avocados, salmon, nuts, fruits, beans, water, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and soy milk.
Those in all 5 cities tended to avoid processed meats, salty or sugary snacks, and sweetened beverages. Their diet was 95% plant based and their snacks a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. Most meals were eaten at home with family and friends.
As to lifestyles, Blue Zone dwellers walked a lot, socialized frequently, especially with family, had a sense of purpose, slept 8 hours a night, and were committed to a faith community and a life partner.
Buettner sums up by noting that Blue Zoners have learned how to. “Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more.” Sadly, there’s no mention of chocolate.