Blue Zone Living: A How-to Guide

How to hack your longevity
Published April 25, 2022

You may have heard there are some parts of the world where people seem to be healthier and live longer – they’re called Blue Zones – and while we can’t all relocate to one of them, we can apply Blue Zone principles to our own lives.

“The Blue Zones are regions where people seem to live longer and healthier lives,” explains Corey Lewis, co-founder and CEO of 1AND1 Life, a Black-owned mental health and wellness performance company. He explains that the main pillars the Blue Zones share are movement, connection, having the right outlook on life, and eating wisely.

The five zones include: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.

“People living in the Blue Zones have routines that allow them to move constantly and naturally,” he says. “They have rituals to relax and get the stress out of their bodies. In these areas, people share a lot of time with their loved ones and find purpose in the everyday. They also avoid eating too much, just nourishing their bodies as they need.”

For help developing a positive mindset and reducing stress, check out the guided meditations in the WW app and find support in the WW community.

Blue Zone living also places a big focus on whole foods, with a largely plant-based diet.

“People in these zones focus on whole foods, with at least 95 per cent coming from plants,” explains registered dietitian, fitness instructor and founder of Your Diabetes Dietitian Justine Chan, MHSc, RD, CDE. “Nuts, beans and water are also a big part of their diet.”

You can also track your hydration in the WW app to make sure you’re getting enough water each day.

The Blue Zone longevity food list includes items such as leafy greens like spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard and collards, as well as other seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans. Blue Zone meals limit consumption of dairy, meat, fish, sugar and eggs.

Blue Zone meals could include recipes such as Spicy Black Bean Soup and White Bean Stew with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Roasted Peppers, or sides like Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins. To get your daily fix of nuts, try these Spicy Roasted Mixed Nuts.

To apply the Blue Zone longevity diet, Chan suggests we do the following:

  • Aim for a half plate of leafy vegetables with at least two meals daily.
  • Go meatless on a weekly basis.
  • Incorporate nuts as snacks daily.
  • Make it a habit to eat with family and friends.

“Even if we live in more stressful environments, it is possible and important to apply those [Blue Zone] pillars to our lives. They are all choices we can take to be a little healthier every day,” Lewis adds.