What Is Blue Zone Diet And How Does It Work
Did you know that people are using the blue zone diet to increase their life span? Yep, that’s what studies are showing so why not try it and see if it’s something that may work for you too? Also known as the healthy heart diet, the blue zone diet may also prevent cancer cell growth and diabetes as well.
According to Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones people in countries like Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, and California are getting great results with this diet. So read on to learn more about it.
Blue Zone Diet And How Does It Work
The blue zone diet, like every other diet, comes with rules and guidelines, you need to reduce the intake of certain foods while increasing others. With this diet, you have 6 main rules that you need to follow, reduce your food, meat, sugar, and mercury intake and increase plant-based milk plus tea and wine intake.
Let’s take a look at each rule separately to help you decide if this diet is something you would like to try. But as always, please make sure that you check with your doctor if you have any medical condition before trying any diet found online.
Limit Meat Intake
On the blue zone diet, you are not allowed to consume meat regularly, most of your protein should come from plants instead. You are only allowed to eat less than 2 ounces of meat 5 times per month. You are required to consume mostly foods like whole grains, fruits, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
People who follow this diet are required to eat up to 2 ounces of nuts and half cups of beans daily which provides them with enough fiber to keep the digestive tract healthy.
Reduce Food Intake
Similar to the intermittent fasting diet, one of the main rules of the blue zone diet is to stop eating as soon as you feel about 80% full which helps prevent overeating. The Okinawans make it a habit of eating mostly home-cooked meals instead of fast or processed foods and they eat very large breakfasts!
Eating a large breakfast helps keep them feeling full and provides them with enough fuel to burn more calories. That’s because the metabolism is more active in the mornings so it’s easy to burn off those calories and prevent overeating during the day. Note: Eating less can keep your digestive tract and heart veins healthy.
Related: Best Diet Plan For Weight Loss
Limit Mercury Intake
This does not mean eating less fish, in fact, it is the opposite! With the blue zone diet, you can eat fish or seafood up to 3 times per week but you will need to eat only seafood with less mercury such as sardines, Cods, and anchovies. Read this seafood guide to learn more about high-mercury foods.
In short, though, fish types that contain a lot of mercury like mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna are not recommended while on the blue zone diet.
Limit Sugar Intake
According to the American Heart Association, women should only consume about 6 teaspoons and men 9 teaspoons of sugar daily for optimal health. With the blue zone diet, you will have to follow those guidelines as well. One of the easiest ways to prevent eating sugar is to decrease your intake of processed foods and eat healthy meals.
You can also prevent sugar consumption by increasing fluid intake and eating smaller meals plus fruits throughout the day. It’s always better to get your sugars from natural sources because they are not stored in the body and burn faster as energy.
Tea & Wine
With the blue zone diet, you can only consume 4 main drinks which are tea, coffee, wine, and water. With that being said, blue zoners consume mostly tea and red wine 3-4 times per day. To succeed with the blue zone diet, you will need to drink more water and get rid of soda intake altogether.
Having red wine with your meals will have to be your new go-to drink! Now I know that this rule sounds like something you won’t find very hard to accomplish!
With the blue zone diet, everything made with cow milk is limited. Eggs are also consumed less than 2 times per week and they are mostly used in cooking instead of frying or boiling them.
Sheep and goat milk products along with plant-based or nut-based milk, yogurt, and cheese are favored alternatives when on the blue zone diet.
Tips To Help You Lose Weight
Below are some of the best tips that you can follow when trying to lose weight no matter which diet you are on. These tips will help you start seeing results quickly and also help you stay healthy.
- Put down your fork after every bite
- Always chew your foods properly and eat slowly
- Stop eating as soon as you feel full
- Eat more of your food during the early hours
- Eat large breakfasts
- Eat less at dinner time
- Increase fruits intake
- Eat fewer foods made from white flour
- Eat and drink less sugar
- Use olive oil instead of regular oil
Starting the blue zone diet can feel a bit overwhelming but I recommend that you take your time and start to incorporate small changes into your lifestyle instead of making drastic changes.
Focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle instead of weight loss can help you reach your goals and live longer. At the end of the day, the blue zone diet is a healthy alternative to other diet plans, therefore, you can expect to get good results by choosing to follow this diet plan.