Scoff all you like, but there are people who reach the age of 100 without complaints of ailments, pain or forgetfulness. They are physically very resilient, with high energy levels and surely must have a great mindset for their years.
These folks reside in what’s been coined, the “blue zones”. The blue zones are made up of rural populations who have been found to live longest.
The rural areas that make up the “blue zones” are:
- Italian island of Sardinia
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica
- Ikaria in Greece
Dan Buettner, a United States explorer and funded by National Geographic, conducted research around the blue zone population to find out why the people there live longer, healthier lives.
It was found that the primary reason the resilient people in blue zones live an average of 8 years longer than the rest of us, and the reason they remain healthy and their memories intact, is because of what they eat and drink.
Many are aware that a balanced and varied diet can enhance our physical and mental health. High nutrition from food is key to growth, reproduction, health and helps us fight disease. We have all sorts of knowledge and information at our fingertips but it is still difficult to know what is good to eat and what is actually in the food we eat.
What do the world’s healthiest people eat?
The eating habits of each area in the blue zones differ somewhat, but in general, they eat more or less the same. These foods are predominant in their diets:
- Whole grains
- Goat milk products
- Red wine
- Soy products (tofu and miso)
- Raw nuts
Very little fish is consumed, meat is reserved for once a week and on special occasions and pork is only eaten in very small amounts at the occasional ceremony.
Of particular interest is Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; the area where the world’s healthiest and longest-living people reside.
These particular foods are prevalent in their diet:
The difference between a Westernised and blue zone diet
In Westernised countries, the average life expectancy is up to the age of 73 years.
Not only do we in modern countries die younger, but we also have more health issues that prevent us from living the kind of lives we desire.
If we consider the difference between a Westernised diet and that of the blue zones, it’s easy to see why westerners are the sickies and fatties. Our diets primarily consist of:
- Bad fats like margarine and fast-food oils
- Bread and other baked goods laden with fat and sugar
- Processed pasta along with processed sauces made up of ingredients with additives and preservatives
- Meat consumed 2 – 3 times a day
- Highly processed cereals eaten with hormone-laden milk
- Soda and sugary snacks
Here’s the key to why the majority of westerners are fat and unhealthy: the bulk of what we’re chowing is mostly acid-forming foods, while the people of the blue zones eat mostly alkaline-forming food producing an alkaline diet.
Acid and alkaline foods explained
The ideal pH of our blood is between 7.35 and 7.45. If yours is less than 7.35, it means your body is too acidic. Most people have a pH of under 7.35, which means most people have blood that is too acidic.
And when the blood is too acidic, your body is ripe for destruction. By eating a high acid-forming diet, you are creating an environment for illness and disease to flourish, and where degeneration sets in faster.
What foods are acid-forming?
- All animal flesh (meat)
- All nuts, excluding almonds
- All seeds
- All grains, except for millet
- Cooked fruit
- All processed fast foods
- Most types of drugs/medication
- Heated fats like margarine and poor quality cooking oil
- Tea, coffee, cocoa
What foods are alkaline-forming?
How to eat more like the world’s healthiest people
After studying what the longest-living people in the world consume, compared to us in Westernised countries, its clear where we’ve gone wrong. We’ve made our diets way to complicated with all our sauces, cheese, sugar, oil, dairy and meat.
We need to get down to basics and retrain our taste buds. If we want to feel and look awesome, we need to radically increase the amount of alkaline-forming foods we eat.
What should your plate of food look like?
To consume the right amount of alkaline forming foods each day, your plate should look like this:
- 80% fresh fruit or fresh/cooked vegetables.
- 20% acid-forming foods, preferably of the healthy variety (nuts, seeds, grains, legumes).
Other tips to help alkalise your body
- Stay away from processed, heated oils like margarine and cooking oil. Opt for cold pressed oils.
- Limit animal products to rare occasions. Eat more beans instead.
- Avoid processed food as much as possible.
- Aim to drink water instead of soda when you’re thirsty.
Summing it up
Eating for health and longevity is not complicated.
We need to stop blindly following those we call experts. Simply copy the people whose lives reflect what we desire in terms of health: the people who live in the blue zones.
Eat more of an alkaline diet and less acid-forming foods. If you’re overweight, you will automatically begin losing weight without going on an actual diet, and if you have health issues and lack energy, that should start improving.