Eating Habits for a Longer Life

Did you know there are geographic hot spots of longevity? It’s true. In specific regions called Blue Zones—including the Greek island of Ikaria, the highlands of Sardinia, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica and Okinawa, Japan—many people live to 100 and beyond. Here are five diet tips from the longest-living people on the planet:

  1. Get 95 percent of your food from plants: Produce, whole grains and beans dominate meals in each of the Blue Zones. The best of the best longevity foods are leafy greens.
  2. Consume meat no more than twice a week: Families in most of the Blue Zones eat meat sparingly, as a side or a way to flavor other dishes.
  3. Eat up to three ounces of fish daily: A recent study shows that people who ate a plant-based diet and included a small portion of fish once a day lived the longest.
  4. Cut back on dairy: The human digestive system isn’t optimized for cow’s milk, which is high in fat and sugar. People in the Blue Zones get their calcium from plants. (A cup of cooked kale gives you as much calcium as a cup of milk.)
  5. Slash your sugar consumption: Blue Zones dwellers consume about a fifth as much added sugar as we do. Try not to add more than 4 teaspoons of sugar a day to your drinks and foods.