Food & Drink | November 19, 2016 5:00 am

Longevity Diet Tips from the Blue Zones That’ll Help You Beat 100

Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to a long and healthy life, says longevity expert (Getty Images)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to a long and healthy life, says longevity expert (Getty Images)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to a long and healthy life, says longevity expert (Getty Images)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are key to a long and healthy life, says longevity expert (Getty Images)

 

For his book, The Blue Zones Solution, Dan Buettner collaborated with the National Geographic Society to find five locations on Earth with both high concentrations of 100-year-olds and low rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart problems. From this data, he extrapolated the kind of diet that will help you live a long, healthy life.

According to Buettner’s research, 95% of what you eat should be plant-based, meaning fruits and vegetables. Of these, he recommends sweet potatoes, barley, tumeric, and vitamin-rich leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, and chard.

Buettner also speaks highly of beans, legumes (especially lentils), and nuts, since they’re packed with protein and healthy fats. So is meat, of course, but Buettner cautions against eating too much of it; his official suggestion is indulging twice a week or less.

 

But knowing what to eat is only part of it; knowing how to eat is important, too. Buettner’s research suggests starting with a large breakfast and decreasing the size of your meals from there, with fruit or nuts as snacks in between.

A crucial, but often overlooked, piece of advice from Buettner’s book is to cook a lot, and eat with friends and family as often as you can. Turning food into a social activity has legitimate health benefits, as happy people socialize eight hours per day on average.

To read more about Dan Buettner’s research on how to live longer and healthier, buy a copy of The Blue Zones Solution here.