Diet trends have permeated our collective cultural landscape today, as many are looking to improve their health amidst a busy lifestyle. Rather than chasing after diets based on conjecture, it’s always wiser to adopt a diet supported by evidence and scientific facts.
One such healthy diet plan is the Blue Zone diet. Briefly, this diet is derived from communities whose people have significantly long lives.
Studying these diets and their role in promoting longevity has opened up new horizons in holistic health and nutrition, and inspired the formulation of innovative nutritional supplements, such as our very own timeblock®.
What is timeblock®?
timeblock® is a highly concentrated phyto-food supplement that furnishes your body with essential phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Many of timeblock®’s ingredients are sourced from Blue Zones, including Japan, Peru, South Italy, and Bhutan, incorporating the key elements that contribute to the effectiveness of Blue Zone diets.
But what makes the Blue Zone diet special? What does it entail? Is there any science behind it?
Understanding the Blue Zone Diet
The term ‘Blue Zone’ was made popular by American explorer and traveller, Dan Buettner. Blue Zones are regions, rather than countries where the residents have been documented to have a longer lifespan than the rest of the world.
Some examples of Blue Zones include the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and Nuoro Province in Italy. In his book ‘The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer’, Buettner outlines several lifestyle choices by residents in certain areas which contribute to a higher-than-average life expectancy. One of the key lifestyle practices cited was their eating habits.
Buettner believed that by studying and adopting the eating habits in the Blue Zones, everyone will stand to benefit in terms of longer lifespans and countering the effects of ageing. Buettner has backed up his findings with more than 150 dietary studies done over the past century, and distilled it down into simple, practical habits that anyone can adopt.
Key Practices of the Blue Zone Diet
This diet is relatively simple to practise, as it involves general lifestyle changes, rather than intense or regimented practices. There is no need to read labels, count calories or limit food intake. In fact, the Blue Zone residents who live the longest lives have never paid much mind to these habits which is a more current approach to health.
Instead, their dietary practices come mainly from tradition and culture, passed down through the generations. Here are the key habits in the Blue Zone we can learn from:
1. Whole, Organic Foods
It is no surprise that all of the Blue Zones Buettner studied are rural areas, where life is largely agrarian. The residents have easy access to locally grown produce that are pesticide free. The more fortunate ones source fruits and vegetables from their own orchards or gardens.
For them, these naturally grown produce are affordable alternatives to processed foods. They also consume foods that aren’t found on supermarket shelves, such as local varieties of fruits and vegetables confined to the region. This gives them more variety when it comes to nutrients.
It is almost certain that eliminating processed foods and its preservatives, added salt and high sugar plays an important role in the Blue Zones' longevity.
2. 95% Plant Based Diets
Another practice that Buettner recommends is limiting meat consumption and slanting your diet almost completely towards fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Whilst Blue Zone residents are not vegetarians, they do not consume much meat on a daily basis, and only feature it as a small side dish, or as a way to flavour their meals. Otherwise, the consumption of meat is reserved for celebrations and personal special occasions.
This trend is further supported by a study on a group of Adventist vegetarians, which showed that they lived about 10 years longer than their omnivorous Californian counterparts.
3. Load Up on Leafy Greens and Fruits
Some of the best foods to consume for longevity are leafy greens. In Blue Zones, residents have access to a wide variety of seasonal green leaf vegetables that are easily grown in a garden setting. These include kale, spinach, turnip tops, chard and collard greens.
The amount of polyphenols in green leafy vegetables far outstrip other types of vegetables, and even red wine. Polyphenols have been shown to boost gut health and aid longevity, among others.
Additionally, Blue Zone residents also favour fruits in their daily diet, consuming the equivalent of an apple a day.
4. Favour Plant Based Oils
Blue Zone cooks generally use plant based oils rather than animal fats in their meals. Olive oil is particularly favoured in the European Blue Zones. It is used as a cooking oil, salad dressing and as a dip or topping for bread.
Olive oils are known to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, leading to better heart health and less issues with cholesterol.
Final Thoughts on The Blue Zone Diet
By incorporating several of the elements in the Blue Zone Diet, you may be able to counter stress, lack of rest and other harmful effects. With the introduction of timeblock®, we can further assist your wellness goals by supplying phytonutrients, as well as essential vitamins and minerals crucial to leading a long and healthy life.
Contact us today to learn more about timeblock®, and how it can help unlock a healthier, happier you.