Hey! Do you know what I plan on eating today? For breakfast, it’s gonna be cinnamon rolls doused in whipped cream, some bacon, and an iced frappuccino… A big steak, fries, and a chocolate pastry for lunch… And for dinner……
Dude! Hold on!! You have been eating garbage all week. An occasional indulgence is fine but you can’t eat this kind of food every day and expect to live for a long time. Lemme tell you what the longest living people in the blue zones on earth would never eat.
Wait a minute, you’ve never heard of Blue zones?Let me explain. Only a few people make it to their nineties without the baggage of disease.
But there are 7 extraordinary geographic areas where the average life expectancy went up to 100 years. Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; and Nicoya, Costa Rica has the longest living folks.
These regions have become the blue zones. Genetics only plays a miniature role, your lifestyle dictates your longevity. Researchers unraveled the mysteries of these
regions and found a strong interlink between what the locals ate and their longevity. Perhaps it’s time we use their secret of longevity too. The Blue zone diet is not calorie-based. It doesn’t focus on taking wellness supplements or reading labels. It’s a natural holistic way of living. Now let’s jump-start your living long strategy by looking at what to avoid.
Do you love your hamburgers, steak, and hot dogs a little too much? Red meat has been such a mainstay that it can almost double as America’s National meal. But guess what? People in the blue zones have meat only as a celebratory food. They have it may be twice a week or even less and the The serving size is small, somewhere around 2 Oz.
People of Loma Linda are Seventh-day Adventists do that. But if you’ve been a meat lover for many years, going cold turkey can be difficult. If you must satisfy those meat cravings then choose organic farm-raised poultry. People from the other blue zones eat only free-roaming animals that are grain-fed.
Your body needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. But Americans tend to go overboard. Controlling the portion size is key.
Remember, your lamb chop should not be bigger than the size of a deck of cards. If you go to a restaurant and see a bigger serving, your best bet is to share it with somebody or make the remaining portion a takeaway. It would be so much easier if you just avoid buying sausages, luncheon, and other processed meats all together. First off because they are loaded with sodium and preservatives and second, they’re going to damage your heart. A review stated that processed meat comes with an 18 % higher risk of coronary heart disease. Red meat increased the chances of heart attacks by 9%.
The blue zone folks might have succeeded in cracking the code on heart disease. But what about getting enough protein? Do they remain protein deficient when they don’t eat meat?
Well, they have alternate plant sources. Their usual diet revolves around beans, green veggies, sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They enjoy garden vegetables that are in season and even pickle the excess to enjoy the off-season.
You too can switch to tofu, tempeh, and beans to load up on protein. Have Have you ever tried a black bean or a chickpea patty in a veggie burger? It is delicious if you season it right and complement it with a little salad.
The next source of protein in an average. You’ll want to eat no more than 3 eggs per week to mimic a blue zone diet. Have it as a side dish like the Mediterranean people or in a soup like Okinawans. You can include fish in your diet as well. Studies show that vegetarians or people have only fish and veggies in these regions live long. Stick to the sardines, anchovies, and cod.
They’ll have fewer pollutants and low Mercury levels. Avoid swordfish, shark, tuna, and sea bass. Steer clear of canned fish as the longest living people just eat wild-caught fresh fish.
Moving ahead, what’s the one thing common in cakes, doughnuts, pastries, and chocolate? It’s sugar! The number of obese people is skyrocketing and sugar is a major contributor. One in three Americans is overweight. The nutritional guidelines for Americans dictate having 6- 9 tablespoons of sugar per day. But do you know how much the average American has? 22 tablespoons. And every year it’s increasing. This is because our bodies have become more resistant and can be satiated only with more and more sugar.
When you are on a blue zone diet you will have to cut sugar by a third. You can safely eat 7 tablespoons of sugar per day. It’s not an easy task. You can try to limit the sugar in your tea and coffee. But did you know that sugar can hide in fruit juices, sauces, yogurt, salad dressings, cereals, and other baked goodies like bread?
Foods that come out of a box or a a packet will contain added sugar. Sugary foods can spike insulin levels and even cause infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart problems. If ignored it can even cost you your life. That’s why cutting down on sugar can just increase your chances of living longer. The same goes for high fructose corn syrup. It can be the number one aging factor.
If you’re addicted to sweet coffee or tea then try using honey instead of sugar. It will have sugar but at least you will get anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties just like the Ikarians. It’s harder to dissolve honey in your cold beverages so ultimately you will be having less of it. You can also try using stevia which is an all-natural sweetener. It’s not what the traditional blue zone diet dictates but when you compare sugar and stevia it’s wise to pick stevia. Talk to your doctor before you make it a regular part of your diet.
Keep your fridge and pantry loaded with fresh fruits. Avoid dried fruit as fresh is going to keep you fuller for a longer time. Snacking on nuts can also put an end to your hunger pangs. Be very mindful of the products that says low fat on the label. The manufacturers may end up putting in lots of sugar to make it more appetizing.
Centenarians believe sweets should be eaten only during celebrations. A cookie or a piece of pie is always their celebratory food. Sweets are included on religious holidays or village festivals. You can make sweets part of your Sunday a meal so that you will not feel deprived. Now can you imagine the world’s healthiest people drinking soda?No! Then why should you be drinking it?! If it’s your usual drink with dinner then you need to stop ASAP. The beverage rules of the blue zone diets are pretty straightforward.
You can begin your day with a cup of coffee. Remember to have it black. Leave that sugar and cream behind. You can lightly sweeten it by dusting some cinnamon. Coffee is the largest source of antioxidants in the American diet and has been shown to reduce the rate of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. If you feel parched throughout the day, drink water. Let’s be honest, there is no better drink than water. When you are hydrated your body can work to its full potential.
On the other hand, soda and energy drinks can interfere with calcium absorption in your bones and make them brittle. If you have to drink something fizzy, drink seltzer or sparkling water. At At least you will keep the sugar away. When you crave afternoon tea you can go for green tea. Okinawans drink green tea all the time. And studies have shown green tea to be related to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
Other people in the blue zone also use herbs like rosemary, dandelion, sage, and mint to brew fresh teas. All these herbs are known for their amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Do these drinks seem boring compared to soda? Well, guess what? The next one is going to spice things up. You’re allowed to drink red wine in moderation.
Pay special attention to the word “moderation.” You don’t want to drink until you feel sloshed, start puking and get a terrible hangover the next morning. Drink no more than two glasses per day to unwind. Wine has resveratrol, an antioxidant that is good for your overall health. Another thing that you have to be careful of is milk. For decades we have considered dairy a main source of calcium. But did you know a few people? can have a tough time digesting cow’s milk? Nearly 30 million Americans have lactose intolerance. Sardinian and Ikarian people from blue zones are used for drinking sheep and goat’s milk. They have lactase, another enzyme, that helps in the digestion of lactose.
Additionally, they don’t drink the milk as it is. They always ferment it and turn it into yogurt, sour milk, or cheese. Goat cheese anyone? If you are not able to get your hands on alternate dairy products try soy, almond, or coconut milk instead. They will be equally satisfying and give you have enough calcium to make your bones strong.
Are you a big fan of the bread basket at restaurants? Most of the time it will be made of refined flour. And just like other processed foods, processed grains are also a big no when you are following a blue zone diet. This carbohydrate-rich food breakdown immediately creates a surge of glucose in your bloodstream. On the other hand, if you consume 100% whole wheat bread or sourdough that is authentically prepared then it is going to bring you a million benefits. Whole grain bread has a lower glycemic index and it will reduce your chances of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It will also have more fiber that can deal with constipation and other digestive issues.
Remember to include rye and barley flour if you’re making your bread. You will get a wide range of minerals like Selenium and magnesium along with an amino acid called tryptophan. Also, the lactobacilli used to raise the sourdough aids digestion. Find a bakery or a shop that prepares authentic sourdough and wholesome bread. You can also add flax seeds, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds to up the nutritional value.
It’s no shock that chips and chocolate are not exactly what your body needs. But can staples like rice or smoothies are harmful to your body?Let’s keep the conversation going with a couple of more unhealthy food-related videos, shall we? Watch 21 unhealthy foods that should never be in your kitchen or 11 drinks that are surprisingly unhealthy and you should not drink. Go ahead, click one. Or better yet read both and learn how healthy foods are not so healthy.
What food are you willing to quit? Let us know in the comments below.
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