What does "healthy diet"? We are constantly confronted with new superfoods that are supposedly indispensable. At the same time, numerous diets completely exclude certain macronutrients, often fats or carbohydrates. These apparent contradictions can lead us to believe that there are no clear guidelines for a healthy diet. But there aren't. Science has established some basic principles for healthy eating, and these principles can also be found in certain populations, the so-called "Blue Zones." People in these areas seem to have discovered the secret to a healthy, long life.
What are the Blue Zones?
The Blue Zones - Okinawa in Japan, Ogliastra in Sicily, Ikaria in Greece, Loma Linda in California and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica - are regions where people live longer than average. This is mainly attributed to their diet.
How do people in the Blue Zones eat?
In the Blue Zones, the diet is based mainly on vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fruits and healthy fats, such as those from olive oil and nuts, are also consumed. Animal products such as meat and dairy products are rarely on the menu. About 95% of foods of plant origin. On average, the diet consists of 65% carbohydrates, 20% fat and 15% protein.
What kind of life do people in the Blue Zones lead?
Thus, it is clear, diet is a key aspect for longevity in the Blue Zones. However, there are other aspects and climatic conditions that have a favorable impact on longevity. While the Blue Zones are located in different climates, they all enjoy plenty of sunlight throughout the year, which greatly minimizes the chance of vitamin D3 deficiency. This is important because vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with a shortened life expectancy. However, intense sunbathing is also a risky way to prevent a deficiency, as it ages our skin faster and significantly increases our risk of skin cancer. Therefore, it may be advisable to cover vitamin D3 through an appropriate supplement.
However, Blue Zones people have incorporated other health-promoting practices into their lives. Active community participation, time with family and friends, and physical activity are other aspects that Blue Zones combine and can contribute to a healthy, long life.