Losing or maintaining weight can be important parts of a healthy diet. But what if a diet did more? What if a few changes to your diet could help you live a longer, healthier life? That’s what the Blue Zones Diet is all about, which is based on research into the habits of some of the world’s longest and healthiest naturally living people.
The diet incorporates many of the eating habits of people who live in these regions. In particular by limiting processed foods, added sugars, meat and dairy products, and by favoring foods of plant origin.
What is the blue zone scheme?
The Blue Zones Diet is an eating plan that mimics the eating habits of people who live in the five “Blue Zones” of the world. That is, regions of North America, Central America, Europe and Asia where people are ten times more likely than Americans to live to be 100 years old. The scheme’s name comes from the blue circles researchers drew around these geographic regions on a map when they first identified them.
According to research published in Nutrients in May 2018, people living in these areas also enjoy lower rates of chronic disease than those living elsewhere, and their diet is believed to be a major part of the reason. Three of the nine traits that experts believe are responsible for the incredible longevity and health of people living in blue zones are diet-related, according to a study published in the September-October 2016 issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
The 80% rule
This rule reminds people living in blue zones to stop eating when they feel 80% full. They also eat larger meals earlier in the day and smaller meals in the late afternoon or early evening.
The inhabitants of the blue zones do not eat a lot of meat and favor fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Small amount of wine
Although research on the health benefits of even moderate alcohol consumption is controversial, most people in the blue zones drink one to two glasses of wine a day.
Incorporating these eating habits into your daily life can help you reap the same health benefits as people who live in blue zones.
How does the blue zone scheme work?
Unlike many weight loss programs, which are often only meant for a temporary period, this diet defines a way of eating for life. It basically mimics the diet of people who live in one of the world’s five blue zones. The Blue Zone diet consists mostly of whole, plant-based foods and a limited amount of meat and animal products. This means fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts. In these categories, you get the main nutrients your body needs: proteins, fats, carbohydrates and all the vitamins and minerals.
The Blue Zones diet focuses on how and what you eat. One of the principles is to eat until you are satisfied rather than completely full. We tend to eat quickly and not be as tuned in to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness. It takes practice and getting used to, but eventually you see that [manger jusqu’à ce que l’on soit rassasié] supplies our body with the right amount of food, allowing us to maintain good digestion and energy balance.
What are the types of blue zones?
There are five blue zones in the world where people tend to live long and healthy lives. Although they share some common lifestyle habits, they are all unique.
1 Okinawa, Japan
Older Okinawans tend (or used to cultivate) gardens, which allow them to exercise, reduce stress, and incorporate fresh produce into their lifestyle.
2 Sardinia, Italy
Sardinians generally eat meat only on Sundays and on special occasions, and favor whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits for most of their meals. They also drink a glass or two of red wine a day.
3 Nicoya, Costa Rica
Nicoyans eat a light dinner, early in the morning, and the diet of many older Nicoyans centers on squash, corn and beans.
4 Icaria, Greece
Ikarians generally follow the Mediterranean diet, and as Greek Orthodox Christians, fasting is an integral part of their religious practices.
5 Loma Linda, California
A community of Seventh-day Adventists lives in Loma Linda. Those who live the longest follow a vegetarian or pescatarian diet (where fish and seafood are the main proteins) and tend to have a diet low in sugar, salt and refined grains.
Potential Health Benefits of a Blue Zones Diet
Several fundamental principles of the Blue Zones diet are validated by research, including:
A diet higher in plant-based foods has been associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease in the general population, according to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in August 2019.Up right arrow
A Mediterranean-style diet, like the Blue Zones, can also alter your microbiome in ways that could make you less frail and improve your cognitive functions as you age.
Eating more nuts, as recommended by the Blue Zones Diet, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, research shows.
A diet centered on plants and whole foods could significantly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in the journal
Nutrients in July 2020. Diets high in processed meat and sugar or artificially sweetened beverages, meanwhile, significantly increase the risk of metabolic disease.
Eating fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help you sleep better and longer, with less insomnia.
Polyphenols, or healthy compounds found in plant foods, may help increase longevity by slowing the onset of age-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to research published in Antioxidants in March 2021. .
Effect of the Blue Zones diet on weight loss
The goal of the Blue Zones diet is not to make you lose weight, but to help you live healthier. But weight loss could be a side effect of this healthy eating pattern. The diet relies on whole foods, which tend to contain fewer calories than processed forms of carbohydrates, protein or fat. Thereby, [ce régime] tends to help people maintain a healthier weight because overall, calorically, they don’t take in as many calories.
The Blue Zones diet is also high in fiber, a nutrient that promotes satiety, and may aid weight loss by keeping you full for fewer calories, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in January 2019. Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods, so it fills you up but ends up passing through your digestive system without being fully absorbed.
Following the 80% rule of the blue zones diet can also cause you to eat less. When you learn to tune in to your hunger and fullness cues, you eat more according to your body’s needs, so you don’t have a calorie surplus over what you need to be. healthy, active and prosperous.
Foods to Eat and Avoid on a Blue Zone Diet
People who live in blue zones do not all have the same diet. But there are many similarities in what they eat. In general, this diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, such as leafy green vegetables, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans, and limits processed foods and added sugars (including sweeteners artificial). Here are some foods to include if you try this diet:
– Fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes should represent 95 to 100% of your diet. You can include meat on special occasions if you wish.
– The plan recommends fish, such as sardines, anchovies or cod, at least three times a week.
– The plan suggests at least ½ cup of cooked beans daily. Black beans, garbanzos, navy beans, and soy beans are good varieties.
– Two handfuls of nuts such as almonds and pistachios per day.
– Whole grains: farro, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur, and cornmeal are the best choices. You can also try whole grain pasta and bread.
– Unsweetened beverages: Water, coffee, tea and red wine in moderate amounts are part of the diet (but if you don’t drink alcohol, that doesn’t mean you should start).
While there are no hard and fast rules to follow with the Blue Zone Diet, there are a few foods you should avoid:
Snacks loaded with salt and preservatives
packaged sweets such as donuts, cookies, and candies
Processed meats like bacon, sausages and deli meats.
The Blue Zone Diet is based on the food choices of people who live in Blue Zones, areas of the world where people tend to live long, healthy lives. It focuses on unprocessed plant foods and eating habits that research shows are associated with a lower than average incidence of chronic disease.
The Blue Zones diet does not require any special equipment or meals, although the emphasis on whole foods may require a little more time in the kitchen. If this is a major change from your usual diet, you may want to transition slowly to get used to it. In the end, the potential gain of a longer, healthier life is worth it.