Netflix’s new docuseries, ‟Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”, has taken the world by storm. Explorer, Dan Beuttner travels across the world to identify five longevity hotspots where their inhabitants live long, healthy lives.
The phenomenon, first coined by Beuttner in 2000, describes locations around the world where residents live long lives without the help of strict diets, regimes, supplements, but rather a way of life.
Green Chef’s diet and nutrition futures report coins the term ‟bluetrition” and shares tips for UK inhabitants to give the lifestyle a go.
Registered nutritionist and head chef at Green Chef, Anna Tebbs says: ‟ It isn’t just the diets themselves but the lifestyle around them, it’s about encouraging people to eat how they want and still take joy from food, and we see this across generations.”
Expert tips to adopt a blue zone lifestyle.
Regular family and community meals and sharing food together helps to strengthen social bonds and can even promote healthier eating habits. Engaging in your local community or with your loved ones will help foster a vital sense of belonging and bring a new level of fulfilment for purposeful living.
Try plant-based recipes and whole foods
The majority of Blue Zones consume healthy amounts of plant-based and whole foods like vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits. Speaking in Green Chef’s report, dietician Bari Stricoff says: “Whether Mediterranean or East Asian, it’s all about whole foods, primarily plant-based, diversity, low sugar, high fibre, good protein and an emphasis on healthy fats. In the UK, there’s so much processed food, and that’s the biggest barrier to adoption.” Start by adding nutritious vegan meals to your lunch roster to gradually introduce more plant based meals into your diet.
Blue Zones place emphasis on limiting and managing stress through daily routines or rituals. Find what works best for you and save time in your day to work on reducing your stress. How you feed your body can even play a role in your stress, so try to incorporate feel-good foods like dark chocolate, leafy greens or herbal teas.
Incorporate healthy fats
Limit saturated and trans fats and instead prioritise healthy fats like nuts, seeds and olive oil. Fish is an excellent source of healthy fat making a pescatarian diet a great starting point as nutritionist, Pixie Turner explains: “Oily fish and omega-3-rich foods – like salmon, mackerel or even algae-based supplements – are something for which most of the UK’s population does not meet their recommended allowances. With an ageing population, such sources of omega-3 could be integral to ensuring the health of citizens, from protecting against heart disease through improving brain function. Consumers in their 20s and 30s should be considering this now in order to benefit from a cumulative effect.”
Prioritise movement in daily routine
In Blue Zones, staying active is a natural part of daily life, and it doesn’t necessarily require intense exercise. Low-effort exercise such as walking, swimming, dancing or gardening is prevalent, with inhabitants of Blue Zones rarely spending time in the gym. Incorporating this ideology into your life can help maintain physical health for longer, may boost mental wellbeing, as well as enhance overall quality of life.