You know you need to shed pounds and get fit, but with all the weight loss food plans out there, it’s tough to know what’s what. Will a specific diet work? Will it help you maintain the weight loss long-term? Is the diet actually healthy? You may have come across one plan that’s been getting some attention lately: Blue Zone. If you have questions about this new diet and what it entails, here’s your guide to using the Blue Zone diet to lose weight and live longer.
So what exactly is a “Blue Zone”?
Blue Zones are areas in the world where people tend to live healthier, longer lives than the world average. It’s not unusual to find people in these regions living—and living well—to 100 years old, and beyond. Experts have identified 5 areas around the world:
Loma Linda, CA
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Researcher Dan Buettner uncovered a number of factors that help folks in these regions live longer and healthier lives. One of the top reasons is that the people tend to eat a diet with little to no processed foods, like soda or packaged snacks. Blue Zone residents also typically consume lower-calorie, plant-based meals.
What is a Blue Zone diet?
It’s an eating plan based on the habits of people living in Blue Zones. In Blue Zone diet plans there are no formal diets that dictate you must eat so much of this or so much of that. Rather, it’s a lifestyle change that embraces smart eating habits. Here are the basic principles:
Plant-based diet– Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide the antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, and fiber needed to maintain good health and active living. So in addition to loading your menu with fruits and veggies, start enjoying foods like brown rice, nuts, and quinoa. (What is quinoa? Learn more here.) Find a list of the best natural foods on The Whole Foods Shopping List, and then consider adding more Vegetarian Recipes to your menu.
Healthy beverage choices– Another factor in the success of these weight loss food plans is the emphasis on healthy beverages. Eliminate drinks that are high in calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners (try our No Soda Challenge). Instead choose water, black or green tea, or drinks like this Green Tea Mango Smoothie. Red wine can be part of a Blue Zone-based diet, but moderation is the key. Stick to one glass with dinner—more than that, and you’re just padding your waistline with empty calories.
Build your own Blue Zone.
Blue Zone diet plans on their own are no guarantee for health and longevity. In fact, tapping into the Blue Zone secret is more about creating a lifestyle that nurtures physical and emotional well-being. Buettner also discovered that, along with eating smart, Blue Zone residents stayed physically active and maintained close social ties. So stop putting off that long-promised coffee date with a friend because you’re “too busy”! Give her a call right now and set up face-to-face time. It’s good for your health—and hers!