The Blue Zone Diet: Can it Increase Longevity?

The "blue zone" diet is based on the pattern of specific populations with a high average age of death. This type of diet could be excellent for delaying aging.
The Blue Zone Diet: Can it Increase Longevity?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 08 November, 2022

The blue zone diet is based on the nutritional pattern of people living in countries such as Japan and Costa Rica, since these places have very long-lived populations. The idea is to include high-quality and fresh foods regularly in your diet, which provide sufficient amounts of essential micronutrients and antioxidants.

Before getting into the subject of the blue diet and longevity, it should first be noted that when it comes to maintaining a good state of health, it’s essential to ensure that you’re doing regular physical activity. Above all, it’s necessary to prioritize strength work. This, together with a proper diet, can be decisive when it comes to healthy and longevity.

Foods that are characteristic of the “blue zone” diet

Generally speaking, the blue zone diet is characterized by regularly presenting a series of foods on their daily menus. These foods are considered to be very beneficial to our health and are recommended by most nutrition experts.

Legumes

Legumes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and essential minerals. They also provide fiber, a substance that has been shown to improve the functioning of the digestive tract.

Some of this fiber ferments, thus serving as a substrate for the intestinal microbiota and preventing losses in bacterial density or diversity. This is key to maintaining homeostasis in the internal environment of the intestines.

Blue zone diet and fiber
The microbiota of people living in the “blue regions” is nourished by adequate fiber for its proper development.

Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are often a source of phytochemicals. These elements neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the tissues.

In this case, we’re talking about a mechanism that has been linked to a lower incidence of chronic and complex diseases. Although making sure you eat five servings of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet is recommended, emphasizing the intake of  leafy green vegetables is particularly beneficial.

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Nuts

Nuts are foods with high nutritional density. They provide quality fat, protein, and a good handful of vitamins and minerals.

However, they also provide quite a bit of energy (and calories). That’s why they should be consumed daily, but always in adequate quantities.

If the doses are exceeded, a progressive accumulation of subcutaneous fat may occur. After all, being overweight increases inflammation levels, according to a study published in The Lancet.

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So what does the “blue zone” diet consist of?

All in all, the blue zone diet is a type of dietary pattern that emphasizes the consumption of the foods we have just discussed, along with other fresh produce, such as extra virgin olive oil, barley, and blueberries. Above all, it gives priority to foodstuffs of vegetable origin, mainly because of their antioxidant content.

However, this doesn’t mean that animal products are harmful to the body. In fact, this is far from the truth. They simply must also be present in appropriate quantities to ensure an optimal protein intake.

There are no strict bases for following a blue zone diet. It will only be necessary to guarantee the proper intake of vegetables and to eat the proper amount of calories for your body weight and activity levels to ensure you don’t put on any extra weight.

Japan and the blue zone diet
Japan is one of the origins of the blue zone diet. The longevity of its population is heavily linked to its eating habits.

The blue zone diet can help us to live longer

The blue zone diet emphasizes the consumption of foods that have proven positive properties and benefits for the body. Regular intake of many of them is associated with slower aging and a lower incidence of chronic and complex diseases.

A good state of health is the result of many healthy habits maintained over time. For example, a slightly hypocaloric diet in the medium term, good sleep, and physical training can all help you to stay healthy and live longer.

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  • Neha K, Haider MR, Pathak A, Yar MS. Medicinal prospects of antioxidants: A review. Eur J Med Chem. 2019;178:687-704. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.06.010
  • Cox AJ, West NP, Cripps AW. Obesity, inflammation, and the gut microbiota. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015;3(3):207-215. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70134-2

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.