Dietary Tips from “Blue Zones” Increase Longevity

What do Greece, Japan, Sardinia, California and Costa Rica share in common? Those who keep an eye on dietary trends that promote longevity know: each of these locations has been given official “Blue Zone” status for their startling high numbers of centenarians. As Americans all too familiar with greasy fast food diets, it’s well worth our time to take a closer look at what’s working to increase longevity in each of these regions:

  • Ikaria, Greece: Known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” Ikaria’s dietary staples include feta cheese, wild greens, potatoes, goats’ milk, legumes, honey, lemons, herbs and small amounts of fish
  • Okinawa, Japan: With the highest ratio of centenarians worldwide, their longevity-promoting diets include tofu, brown rice, bitter melons, mushrooms, green tea and garlic.
  • Sardinia, Italy: Boasting an unusually high percentage of centenarian men, this area’s longevity may be a result of a shepherding lifestyle, with a shepherd’s diet to match: goat’s milk, sheep’s cheese, fennel, chickpeas, almonds, tomatoes, wine and milk thistle tea.
  • Loma Linda, California: A particular religious community makes the grade through a “Biblical” diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts, and drinking lots of water. Dietary choices specifically promoting longevity include beans, oatmeal, salmon, soy milk and whole wheat bread.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Corn, squash and beans, along with bananas, peach palms, papayas and yams top the list of staples for this Meso-American culture.

To learn more, check out The Blue Zones, authored by Dan Buettner of National Geographic.