What we can learn from the Blue Zones.
There have been many studies done on nutrition, health and longevity, looking at Blue Zones. This is the name given to places where people’s life expectancy is much longer than average. Although as a Nutritionists I believe in good nutrition for health, I also believe it is important for us to look past the calories, macronutrients, micronutrients and other dietary factors and look closer at the lifestyles of these people in the Blue Zones. We know that health is not only about food.
Rather than focusing on the food alone, let’s look at a more holistic approach, examining the lifestyles of people who have long, healthy and happy lives. Here are some of the things they have in common:
- They just eat real food, they only had the food that was grown locally and seasonally, no highly refined packaged foods
- They take time to eat in a relaxed way, often preparing meals together as a family and eating together
- They have good relationships and a sense of family and community; they are very connected to their community and family and have a sense of purpose in life. It doesn’t change as they get older, elders in the community are very highly respected and relied upon for their wisdom.
- They naturally incorporate movement into their daily lives
- They have simple uncomplicated lives with limited stress
- They don’t constantly eat throughout the day, practicing a kind of natural intermittent fasting
The Blue Zones have a kind of default setting for health as their environment completely supports this outcome. Our modern environment does not support health; if anything, the default is poor health. This means we need to adjust our environment as much as possible to support our health.
Fiona Kane, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Holistic Counsellor and Life Coach at the Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing Centre