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What is the “Blue Zones” diet?

Updated: Aug 15, 2023



The Blue Zones Diet is a dietary pattern that is based on the eating habits of people who live in the “blue zones,” or areas of the world where people are known to have exceptionally long and healthy lives. They are areas that have a disproportionate share of centenarians (people over age 100).

Blue zone communities

  1. Ikaria, Greece

  2. Okinawa, Japan

  3. Sardinia, Italy

  4. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

  5. Loma Linda, California

The Blue Zones diet

According to the principles of the Blue Zones Diet, people who live in the blue zones tend to eat a diet that is rich in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits. They also consume small amounts of animal protein, such as seafood, poultry, and dairy, and they limit their intake of red meat. In addition, they prioritize the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods and avoid highly processed and refined foods.

The Blue Zones Diet recommends that people:

  1. Eat a mostly plant-based diet that is rich in vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits

  2. Consume small amounts of animal protein, such as seafood, poultry, and dairy

  3. Limit their intake of red meat and avoid processed meats

  4. Eat whole, unprocessed foods and avoid highly processed and refined foods

  5. Drink moderate amounts of alcohol (particularly wine) in social settings

The Blue Zones Diet is not a strict or rigid dietary plan, but rather a set of guidelines that can be used to help people make healthier food choices and adopt a dietary pattern that is similar to that of people who live in the blue zones.

Blue zones diet potential controversies

The Blue Zones Diet is not especially controversial, as it is based on the eating habits of people who live in areas of the world where people are known to have exceptionally long and healthy lives. However, there are some aspects of the Blue Zones Diet that may be controversial or open to debate, including:

  1. The role of animal protein: The Blue Zones Diet recommends that people consume small amounts of animal protein, such as seafood, poultry, and dairy, and limit their intake of red meat. Some people may argue that animal-based foods are an important source of nutrients and that they should not be limited in the diet.

  2. The role of alcohol: The Blue Zones Diet recommends that people drink moderate amounts of alcohol (particularly wine) in social settings. Some people may argue that alcohol consumption, even in moderation, can increase the risk of certain health problems, such as liver disease and certain types of cancer.

In many ways, the Blue Zones diet is the Mediterranean Diet. It contrasts with the Weston A Price (WAP) diet in that its proponents tend to push people away from consuming animal fats, whereas animal fats such as lard and butter are a staple of the WAP diet.

 

Photo by Emanuel Haas on Unsplash

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