I recently viewed this talk by Dan Buettner on the Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are the places in the world with the highest concentrations of centenarians–the people who live to be 100 or beyond. He compiled research about their eating habits and food choices over the course of three years. It came as no surprise to me that what he discovered about people who live long, healthy lives, shares striking similarities to what we’ve been recommending to our clients for over forty years.
I’d like to emphasize the common points of our mutual recommendations, as well as bring to light some things he briefly mentioned. He noted that people in the Blue Zones have a plant-based diet centered around grains, beans, and vegetables, and supplemented by seeds, nuts, and fruits. This is consistent with our recommendations. He also spoke about the significant difference between yeasted bread and naturally fermented sourdough bread and its effects on our blood sugar. All naturally pickled and fermented foods help regulate the digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as help regulate blood sugar. Although he mentioned sourdough bread and red wine, he did not get into other equally important pickled and fermented products (such as naturally made miso soup and sauerkraut) which aid in healthy digestion and enhance our ability to absorb all nutrients. We also share the observation that it is the combination and interaction of different foods within a meal which promotes the greatest health and longevity.
Longevity is a measure of the past more than the present. Someone who is 100 today was born in 1915 when the diet and lifestyle of people was much simpler– mainly organically-grown, simply processed, home-cooked, and plant-based food. People in the Blue Zones have maintained this pattern of eating. Although the Blue Zones are currently being affected by changes in the global diet, the centenarians today were raised with this simple, wholesome pattern. Time will only tell how modern, refined, highly-processed, chemicalized foods will affect our health and longevity.
History is our reality check. We’ve inherited the same pattern of dietary and lifestyle practices from all of the world’s long-standing civilizations, as can be observed today in the remaining Blue Zones. It is now time to re-establish the worldwide pattern for health and longevity that we’ve inherited from our ancestors. We also hope that this pattern will become a model for scientific research and inquiry.