Blue zones are regions where people statistically live longer and have lower rates of chronic disease. The highest number of centenarians (people who live past 100) live in blue zones. These places are known for relaxed yet purposeful living with delicious diets that we will explore here!
The most striking element of blue zone eating is small portions of meat. People who live in blue zones eat meat around once a day if they eat meat. Most of their protein comes from sets of foods that complement each other to create complete proteins. Learn more about eating plant-based proteins here.
One word: wine. Most people living in blue zones drink one to two servings of alcohol a day: particularly red wine. A glass of wine with tasty food and friends is fun and leads to longer lives! Studies show that red wine, in particular, can reduce the risk of heart disease and dementia. For those who do not drink, try tea. Teas contain benefits to various areas and ailments of the body.
Another distinct characteristic of blue zones is sourcing. Most foods available in blue zones are locally sourced and pesticide-free. People in blue zones can easily avoid the carcinogenic chemicals often found in pesticide-ridden food. While it may be more difficult for people living outside these areas to buy locally, it is not impossible. Farmers markets often carry locally sourced fruits, veggies, and animal products. Make sure to check with vendors to ensure that the food they sell is locally grown and pesticide-free. Also, ask them if they sell dried beans. Beans offer a variety of health benefits, from heart disease and cancer prevention to weight regulation. Purchasing in-season produce can also lead to less pesticide intake. Click here for a guide on in-season produce for the US. Lastly, organic foods aren't treated with artificial pesticides and are widely available. So wander into the organic section of the supermarket and see what nutritious veggies you can find. Eating well-sourced food is delicious and leads to a longer, healthier life.
High-quality wine, food, and company are not the only unique aspects of blue zone meals. Spend time talking with people who live in blue zones, and one thing becomes clear: they love food. Their relationship with food is healthy, and so are they. Bustling around the kitchen to spice up dishes is a favorite pastime. To sit and eat with loved ones is something they hold dear. Many people are still unable to be with loved ones in person. This isolation can make healthy meals hard to make and enjoy. Try Facetime or Skype to host a virtual family dinner or dinner among friends. Bring your favorite food, a glass of wine, or a mug of tea, and sit back to enjoy your blue zone-style meal with those you love.
Join Melanie's Nutrition Facts & Fallacies class to learn more about healthy, joyful eating.
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