Blue zones are regions around the world where people live significantly longer, healthier lives than the global average. Researchers have identified several factors that contribute to their longevity, including diet.

Here are five healthy diet lessons for longevity from the world’s blue zones:

Plant-based diets

People in blue zones consume mostly plant-based diets, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and nuts. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants, which help protect the body from chronic diseases.

Not only that, but a plant-based diet is more sustainable than a meat one, since the consumption of resources and the pollution are far less.

Moderate calorie intake

In the blue zones people eat until they are 80% full, which helps them maintain a healthy weight and avoid overeating. They also practice intermittent fasting, which involves periods of restricted calorie intake.

Fasting is an old practice with religious roots, with incredible health benefits, that we are often overlooking.

Did you know that food waste is the second biggest pollution source in the world? 

Limited meat consumption. And all animal proteins.

Blue zones locals consume small amounts of meat, usually as a condiment rather than a main course. The size of the portion is of huge importance as well. We are often under the impression that we need more than we do, the proper size for meat is half of your palm.

Twice-three times per week is enough meat.

Social eating

What’s better than eating with friends, family, surrounded by laughter and joy? People living in these beautiful 5 blue zones eat with others in a social setting, which promotes a sense of community and connection. They also practice mindful eating, savoring their food and enjoying the experience of healthy eating.

So go eat with a friend or in a place with a community table, anywhere but not in front of the computer or TV.

Locally sourced, whole foods

You’ve heard of the concept farm to table? It sounds fancy, right? But it’s rooted in the natural course of live for thousands and thousands of years. Of course, modern days aren’t allowing us to do so any longer, at least not daily. People in these zones prioritize locally sourced, whole foods, which are fresher and contain more nutrients than processed foods. They also grow their own food or buy it from local farmers, which supports the local economy and reduces their carbon footprint.

Healthy Diet - Almafides
Healthy Diet – Almafides

How could you implement this into your daily life?

  • Cook. And invite friends over. Know your veggies and try to eat those who are in season, it’s more likely that they are locally produced. You want tomatoes all year round? That’s unlikely possible, since there are very few countries to have a climate for them.
  • Find a small producer that deliver whole baskets at home.
  • Grow your herbs: rosemary, mint, basil, anything can be grown in vases.
  • You think that avocado is the best thing on Earth? Not quite. For several reasons. We don’t say to not eat it, but to consume it with moderation if you are not the inhabitant of a country that produces it. And that goes for all the exotic fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t be afraid of frozen or canned vegetables, compotes, but be sure to choose a good provider.
  • Green is the warmest color regarding food. Learn about all the edible weeds that grow freely in the nature surrounding you and eat them (dandelions, watercress, micro-greens, beet greens, mustard, etc). Plus, all the other known greens: kale, spinach, parsley, mint, lettuce, asparagus, fennel, celery, cabbage, snow pea leaves, Bok choi, amaranth greens, napa cabbage…
  • Treat your meal with the same respect you treat your favorite hobby.
  • Beans should be one of your best friends, like they are in the 5 blue zones: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in Ikaria and Sardinia; and soybeans in Okinawa.
  • Nuts are the perfect snack. Not salted & roasted, not more than what fits in your fist. Studies suggest that nut intake reduces risk of heart disease1, improves cholesterol levels2, reduce inflammation3.


1. Aune D, et al. Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med. 2016 Dec 5;14(1):207.

2. Del Gobbo LC, et al. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;102(6):1347-56.

3. Xiao Y, et al. Effects of nut consumption on inflammatory markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition Reviews. 2018 Jan 1;76(9):666-82.

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