What to know about the Blue Zone diet and other healthy habits for longevity

The issue of how you can live an extended and healthy life is prominent in medical research. Although in the past, some have looked for magical items that grant immortality, such as The Holy Grail, scientists now believe that longevity could depend on eating healthy food choices, establishing healthy habits, and being physically active.

Our experts provide ways to live an extended and healthy life. 

When you reach the age of 100, you are part of a “special club” of . Although researchers believe that there was a shortage of centenarians extremely low prior to 1900, today, more people can attain this milestone.

In 2021 in the year 2021, there were 573,00 centenarians worldwide. According to the United Nations expects that number to increase quickly, with an estimation that it will be 3.7 million by 2050.

What can centenarians do to ensure they reach triple-digit birthdays? What do they have in common? Medical News Today interviewed six experts to learn what the “secret sauce” behind longevity is.

Blue Zones: What are they?

In 2016, National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner and his team released an article in the journal StudyTrusted Source about what they believe to be the key to a long life.

The Blue Zones are referred to as the Blue Zones. Buettner has identified five distinct regions in the world that have a population of people who are consistently more than 100 years old. The five areas include:

  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Okinawa, Japan

“These are places where human beings have lived manifestly longest,” Buettner explained to Medical News Today. “They’ve had the health outcomes that we’d like to see which is long, healthy lives that are largely unaffected by chronic diseases Trusted Source. Because only 80percent of the time we live is determined by disease, their life styles and surroundings provide us with tips and guidelines on how to arrange our lives to be healthier.”

Within these five areas, Buettner discovered nine practices people followed, which could be the reason for their slow aging process. They are referred to as”the Power 9; these comprise:

  • Naturally, move
  • are a source with a purpose in everyday life
  • reduce stress
  • adhere to the 80%-diet rule, which states that you should not eat until your stomach is 80% full.
  • It would help if you opted for the diet that is based on plants
  • drink alcohol in moderate amounts
  • are part of a trusted community Source
  • Put family first
  • Maintain a circle of friends that encourages healthy behavior.

Loneliness, as stated by Buettner, is the top risk reason for a shorter life, and avoiding it as often as we can make a difference in the length of our lives.

“We recognize that lonely people are likely to live eight more years less than those who have a good connection and that health-related behaviors aresignificantly transmittable. The Blue Zones residents are located in communities that are socially connected with strong social ties which give them an advantage from the beginning.”

“There’s no short-term fix [or] supplement for longevity,” he said. “Learn the plant-based foods you enjoy to cook in your kitchen at-home. Create a circle consisting of three to five healthful people who care about you during a rough day. Healthy habits are infectious and friendships are often long-term experiences.”

What is the ideal way to maintain longevity?

Because diet plays one element of the Power 9 learned from Blue Zones, Buettner has also launched the Blue Zone Food Guidelines, which include 11 suggestions showing how the world’s most long-lived people ate for the majority of their lives.

“If you want to know what a centenarian [did to live] to be 100, you have to know what they ate during their whole [life],” said the author. “Working with Harvard for my book The Blue Zones Kitchen, we collected 155 dietary studies done in all Blue Zones over the past 80 years and averaged them.”

“It was clear that over 90% of their traditional dietary intake came from whole food, plant-based sources [and] was about 65% complex carbs,” said Buettner. “The pillars of every longevity diet in the world are whole grains, nuts, greens, and other garden vegetables, tubersTrusted Source, and beans.”

Dr. Valter Longo Edna M. Jones, Chair in Gerontology and Professor of biology and gerontology within the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Biomedical Sciences, created the Longevity DietTrusted Source after years of study into the effects of nutrition on aging, aging and diseases.

“The Longevity Diet, based on [the] five pillars of longevity, entails all of the everyday and periodic dietary habits that are associated with increased longevity and healthspan,” the doctor explained to the MNT.

The principal aspects of Longevity Diet include:

  • Taking an extremely low protein, eating a pescatarian diet up to 65-70 years old, then consuming moderate protein intake later in life.
  • Fasting throughout 12 hours a day, every night
  • Doing, on average, three cycles of a fasting-mimicking diet every calendar year. Each cycle lasts five days.

“Because diet [is] intended as ‘how and what we eat’ and not as a method to lose weight, [it] can regulate the genes that regulate the aging process, but also those that regulate the removal of damaged components of cells and the regeneration of parts of various tissues and organs,” Dr. Longo added.

In addition, research has suggested thatthat Mediterranean eating habits also have advantages when it comes to longevity.

A study that was published in January 2020 found that the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the speed of the process of aging as well as the development of the onset of FrailtyTrusted Source as we age.

A study that was published in March 2021 suggests sticking to the Mediterranean diet can bring years of Trusted Source to a person’s lifespan.

What are the reasons why diet is so important to longevity?

Monique Richard is a Nutritionist and registered dietitian who owns Nutrition-In-Sight located in Johnson City, TN, and a national spokeswoman on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the area of eating to live longer diets like those of the Blue Zone Diet, Longevity Diet, and the Mediterranean diets are distinct due to the lifestyle elements they share.

“Examples of commonalities observed within these populations include more families and individuals growingTrusted Source and consuming their food [and] eating more whole foods, as in closest to what Mother Nature has made versus derived from a manufacturing plant, industrial farm, or fast food chain,” she explained to MNT.

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