Diets of the Longest Living Humans


Leilani Wetterau, Staff Writer

Living to the impressive age of 100 years is a goal often deemed unattainable. But if so many have done it in the past, what is the rest of humanity doing wrong? Intrigued by this matter, Dan Buettner wrote a cookbook titled The Blue Zones Kitchen, compiling the diets of the longest living people today. This article will cover which foods these long-living people swear by, and what people have to say about it.

With the publication of The Blue Zones Kitchen, people began to popularize the term “Blue Zones diet”. But what does “Blue Zone” mean? According to Buettner, founder of the Blue Zones lifestyle, this term refers to the five zones of the world that are deemed the “healthiest.” Buettner has conducted various global studies and has determined that these five locations have the highest life expectancies: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California. With these cities, Buettner studied lifestyle patterns and identified commonalities. These locations conduct rituals promoting a healthy mind, frequent but not intensive physical activity, and a plant-based diet.

Diets can vary in each Blue Zone but are all mainly plant-based. For example, the 7th-Day Adventists who were studied in California are vegetarians, but those in Okinawa, Japan, continue to consume fish. Because of the variation in the five zones, Buettner created an all-encompassing set of guidelines. According to those instructions, it is encouraged to only eat meat up to five times a month. It also says to eat only 3 eggs per week, 9 oz of fish per week, half a cup of beans daily, and 2 handfuls of nuts daily. A rule of thumb followed by the Blue Zones’ followers is to eat single-ingredient, raw, cooked, ground, or fermented foods. Some examples include seeds, whole-grains, sourdough bread, and of course, fruits and vegetables. Although water is the main beverage recommended, one may also indulge in small amounts of wine each night for the antioxidants. The diet also allows up to 28g of added sugar each day. The centenarian diet is definitely restrictive but still allows for some areas of flexibility.

Unlike other diets, the Blue Zones diet promotes a healthy lifestyle, not short-term results. It promises decreased stress, increased energy, better sleep, and longevity. Explaining that 90% of longevity is based on lifestyle, the Blue Zones method focuses on overall well-being, through physical activity, a healthful mind, and plant-based food. However, the effects of the lifestyle aren’t unanimously agreed upon.

 AHS Freshman Angela Ren would not follow this diet because she believes that “a diet doesn’t work the same for everyone.” 

Also not keen on the diet, Sophomore Crystal Hyunh said she would “not make a decision for a diet based on the longevity of life,” and that her “diet choices are only really based off of [her] morals.”

 Whether adopting its practices entices or repels you, the Blue Zones lifestyle remains fascinating and could possibly be the answer to longevity many have been searching for.

Photo Courtesy of HEALTHLINE.COM