What to Eat to Live a Long Healthy Life
Many of these most have heard, take this as a recap or summary. The gist is “Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more.”! Let’s all enjoy a happy, carefree and healthy life.
Below was extracted from a recent Pocket article republished based on The Blue Zones Solution, in which New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner reveals the eating and living habits of the world’s longest-lived people.
In his book, Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart eating and lifestyle habits gleaned from new research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he’s identified as “Blue Zones”—those places with the world’s longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people, including locations such as Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.
With the audacious belief that the lifestyles of the world’s Blue Zones could be adapted and replicated in towns across North America, Buettner launched the largest preventive health care project in the United States, The Blue Zones City Makeovers, which has impacted the health of millions of Americans since 2009. In The Blue Zones Solution, readers can be inspired by the specific stories of the people, foods, and routines of our healthy elders; understand the role community, family, and naturally healthy habits can play in improving our diet and health; and learn the exact foods—including the 50 superfoods of longevity and dozens of recipes adapted for Western tastes and markets—that offer delicious ways to eat your way to optimum health. Throughout the book are lifestyle recommendations, checklists, and stories to help you create your own personal Blue Zones solution. Readers will learn and apply the 80/20 rule, the plant slant diet, social aspects of eating that lead to weight loss and great health naturally, cultivating your “tribe” of friends and family, and your greater purpose as part of your daily routine.
Some reviews say that this is the ultimate blueprint for a healthy, happy life.
For over a decade, Buettner (along with the National Geographic Society and a team of researchers) studied the 5 locations around the globe that have the highest concentrations of 100-year-olds, as well as exceptionally low rates of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart problems.
In the book, Buettner lays out the specifics for each of these “Blue Zones” locations, analyzes the trends, and then prescribes a plan for people looking achieve the same level of health and longevity.
A summary of the main takeaways are below.
Note: Most of the book focuses on food, but it also talks about other healthy lifestyle habits commonly found in Blue Zones locations, these are mentioned also towards the end of this post.
According to The Blue Zones Solution:
The best-of-the-best longevity foods are (Include at least 3 of these daily):
- Beans (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils)
- Greens (spinach, kale, chards, beet tops, fennel tops, collards)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews)
- Olive Oil (green, extra-virgin is best)
- Oats (slow-cook or Irish steel-cut are best)
- Fruits (all kinds)
- Green or Herbal teas
- Turmeric (spice or tea)
The 4 best beverages are:
- Green Tea
- Red Wine (no more than 2 glasses daily)
Foods to Minimize include:
- Meat (eat meat only 2 times per week or less; meat servings should be 2 oz. cooked or less; fine to eat up to 3 oz. of fish daily)
- Dairy such as cheese, cream, and butter (limit as much as possible; Goat’s and Sheep’s milk products are ok)
- Eggs (eat no more than 3 eggs per week)
- Sugar (limit as much as possible — opt for honey and fruit instead)
- Bread (OK to eat 100% whole wheat and true sourdough bread; look for sprouted grain bread, whole grain rye, or pumpernickel bread)
Foods to Avoid (other than a special treat):
- Sugary beverages (sodas, boxed juices)
- Salty snacks (chips, crackers)
- Processed Meats (sausages, salami, bacon, lunch meats)
- Packaged sweets (cookies, candy bars)
Food Guidelines to Live By:
- 95% of your food should be plant-based
- Eat your largest meal at breakfast, a mid-sized lunch, and small dinner
- Stop eating when you’re 80% full
- If you need to snack, make it a piece of fruit or handful of nuts
- Cook most of your meals at home and eat with friends and family as much as possible
The top longevity foods eaten in each Blue Zone:
- Olive oil
- Wild Greens
- Legumes (garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils)
- Feta and Goat Cheese
- Sourdough bread
- Herbal Tea
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Green Tea
- Olive oil
- Goat’s Milk and Sheep’s Milk (including sharp pecorino cheese)
- Flat Bread
- Sourdough Bread
- Fava Beans and Chickpeas
Loma Linda, California:
- Water (7 glasses per day)
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Soy Milk
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica:
- Corn Tortillas
- Black Beans
Blue Zones lifestyle lessons to maximize happiness, health, and longevity:
- Move daily (e.g. walking or other moderate-intensity activity).
- Socialize more. Research shows that the happiest people socialize at least 8 hours per day, especially with parents and family- this is also the verdict of another famous 75 year long Harvard research, i.e. meaningful relationship is key to good life.
- Know what gets you up in the morning. Knowing your sense of purpose, or reason for living, has been shown to add up to 7 years of life expectancy.
- Have faith. Attending faith-based services (it doesn’t matter what faith) 4 times per month has been shown to add 4–14 years to your life.
- Committing to a life partner can add up to 3 years of life expectancy.
- Aim to sleep 8 hours per night for maximum health and longevity.
- Have sex. 80% of people in Ikaria ages 65–100 are still having sex, and sex has been shown to enhance longevity.
Sources and Credits
What to Eat to Live to 100 – Andrew Merle – Pocket. (2016). Pocket. Retrieved 24 February 2019, from https://getpocket.com/explore/item/what-to-eat-to-live-to-100
People, & Buettner, D. (2019). The Blue Zones Solution. Goodreads.com. Retrieved 24 February 2019, from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22822903-the-blue-zones-solution
Waldinger, R. (2019). What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness. Ted.com. Retrieved 24 February 2019, from https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness