The lifestyle you lead has a big impact on your health and increases your susceptibility to chronic illnesses. Now, whether you lead a plant-based lifestyle or not, you may have heard of Blue Zones. Blue Zones are geographic locations that have been proven to lower the rates of chronic illnesses and increase life expectancy. Here’s a quick breakdown of what Blue Zones are and how they contribute to longevity.
What are Blue Zones?
This term was first used by author Dan Buettner in his book “The Blue Zones”. The non-scientific term ‘Blue Zone’ refers to the geographic locations that were given to regions in which people were seen to live notably longer and healthier lives, compared to the rest of the world.
According to Buettner, there are five known Blue Zones, namely Icaria (Greece), Ogliastra (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica) and Loma Linda in California. However, despite these being the only Blue Zones Buettner mentions, there may still be other unidentified Blue Zones.
What do Blue Zones have in common?
While diseases and mortality rates are seen as uncommon amongst these populations, studies have shown that these regions have a higher number of people that live past the age of 90 and 100, respectively.
Through research, these were the commonalities that were found:
Their diets consist of whole food plants
One of the major commonalities found in these locations is that those that live there eat primarily a plant-based diet. However, despite predominantly eating plant-based foods, most groups aren’t strictly vegan and tend to eat meat from time to time. By reducing their meat intake, they’re not only reducing the risk of multiple diseases but also creating longevity.
Another common practice in the Blue Zones is fasting and reducing calorie intake. With most groups following the 80% rule, studies have shown that by fasting and eating until you’re 80% full, trains your body to reduce your hunger and feel full longer. By fasting and reducing their calorie intake, groups are welcoming various health benefits such as improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Exercising is part of their routine
Aside from their diet being predominantly plant-based, exercising has also played a key role in the ageing and longevity process. While they may not be actively exercising in the Blue Zones, taking part in walking, gardening and any other daily activities forms part of their exercise and daily routines.
Discover the pleasure of plant-based eating
While you may not be living in a Blue Zone, by trying a plant-based diet you could be preventing and reducing your risk of getting chronic diseases in the future. With so many tasty and flavourful plant-based dishes becoming more accessible and affordable, you’ll be able to cook up new dishes as well as as a variation of your favourite dishes.
Thinking about trying a plant-based diet? Join a supportive community that will give you tips and help you on your plant-based journey.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/weloveveganuary and take the pledge to join the plant-based community.