The Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer, Better

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The Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer, Better


Here’s a book that we can’t stop talking about!

As healthy living enthusiasts and founders of Good Clean Food, we are continually referencing The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Written by Dan Buettner and published by National Geographic, this fascinating book reveals the common cultural, nutritional, and lifestyle strategies embraced by the world’s centenarians (people who are at least one hundred years old) living in areas he has coined as “The Blue Zones” - Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Ikaria, Greece.


Eat A Plant-Rich Diet: Dan Buettner uses the words "Plant-Slant" to describe The Blue Zone diet - which is a term we love and live by and Good Clean Food! Blue Zone residents eat a mostly plant-based diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. These foods contain omega 3-fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation and protect you from chronic disease - like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Animal foods aren’t avoided in the Blue Zones – they eat small portions of meat and fish a few times per month.

80% Rule: “Hara hachi bu” is a Japanese term that means “Eat until you're 80% full.” Eating with mindfulness, intention and awareness is one significant characteristic that has been proven to aid in longevity rates among Okinawans. Research shows that it takes 15-20 minute for the brain to register that your body has had enough to eat. Practicing Hari hachi bu, during every meal prevents over-eating and obesity related illnesses.

Drink Wine: Centenarians in Sardinia, Italy drink red wine every day at 5 pm. The Okinawans love their saki. Blue Zones studies show that enjoying a glass or two of wine a day increases your antioxidant intake, helps prevent heart disease, and is associated with an increased chance of maintaining cognitive abilities into old age. Of course, moderation is key - six ounces of wine is considered a glass and drinking too much can be associated with negative health effects.

Move Naturally: Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? As in - it’s definitely not good for your health to sit for extended periods of time. Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain, obesity, and increased mortality. Be sure to look for opportunities to add movement into your regular daily routine.The world’s longest living people live active lives that include daily physical activities, like gardening, walking, and manual tasks. On average they move or walk 20 minutes of every hour during the day.

Have Purpose: People in Blue Zones tend to have a strong sense of their life purpose, known as “ikigai” in Okinawa or “plan de vida” in Nicoya, which loosely translates to “why I wake up in the morning.”
According to Dan Buettner, knowing your sense of purpose, and being able to articulate it, is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

Down Shift. Stress is a major cause of disease and unhappiness our world today. It leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. Stress is a part of daily life and even people living in the Blue Zones experience stress, but it’s how they manage it that makes all the difference. The world’s longest-lived people have routine and rituals for shedding stress, and always sleep at least 8 hours a night.

Family First: In the Blue Zones, families are kept close. Elderly family members often remain living in the home with other family members, or live nearby. Grandparents have a strong role in raising grandchildren and even great, great grandchildren! They commit to a life partner, invest lots of time and loving energy into their children, and gather together at mealtime with family and friends.

Find Your Tribe: We all know the benefits of having friends and finding your tribe. And being with a tribe that promotes supportive, happy and healthy behaviors is even more vital. Other life-affirming habits of Blue Zones people are daily social interactions, a strong cultural community, and spiritual or religious connection.



  • 3 cups cooked quinoa

  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 cucumber, chopped into small pieces

  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 1 ½ cans no-salt canned cannellini beans, rinsed

  • 1 green onion, chopped

  • ⅓ cup fresh mint, chopped

  • Salt & pepper to taste


Prepared the quinoa according to instructions, allow to cool

In a bowl, add quinoa, drained beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, juice from the lemon, parsley and season with salt & pepper.