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Wondering what to eat to live healthily? Dan Buettner, Blue Zones expert, shares the 5 pillars of every longevity diet in the world.

If you want to live a healthy life, you need to start paying attention to the food you put in your body. Only 25% of our longevity is determined by our genes. The rest depends on our diet, lifestyle and environment, according to the health science company, Zoe, which is running the largest in-depth nutrition study in the world. In a recent Zoe podcast, Blue Zones expert and author Dan Buettner talked about what we should all be eating to live a longer, healthier life.

Dan Buettner has spent over two decades studying five unique communities around the world (the Blue Zones) where people live long and healthy lives — Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. Within these Blue Zones, several food groups consistently show up, contributing to a longer, healthier life. Let’s check out these healthy foods, as shared by Buettner in the podcast.

Here Are 5 Key Food Groups In The Diet Of The Longest Living People In The World, As per Dan Buettner:

In the podcast, Buettner says people in the Blue Zones are “eating about 90% whole food plant-based.” The five pillars of every longevity diet in the world are:

1. Whole Grains

These include wheat, corn, and rice. The Blue Zones website notes that bread from the Blue Zones is either “whole grain or sourdough.” In Ikaria and Sardinia, breads are made from a variety of whole grains such as wheat, rye, or barley. Whole grains also have higher levels of fiber than most commonly used wheat flour.

2. GreensPeople in the Blue Zones eat leafy greens like spinach, kale, beet, turnip tops, chard, and collards. They also eat a variety of seasonal vegetables and then “pickle or dry the surplus to enjoy during the off-season,” explains the Blue Zones website.

3. Tubers

The third food group Buettner notes is tubers. These include potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, and dahlias.
The Japanese sweet potato is a cornerstone of the traditional Okinawan diet, which is considered a great diet for good health and longevity. Roasted potatoes are grown, eaten, and enjoyed by many centenarians, as per the Blue Zones website. They are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, fibre, and phytonutrients.

4. Nuts

A handful of nuts on average, such as almonds and pistachios, is also found to be eaten in the Blue Zones. Almonds are high in vitamin E and magnesium, peanuts are high in protein and folate, Brazil nuts are high in selenium, cashews are high in magnesium, and walnuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, the only omega-3 fat found in plant-based food.

5. Beans

Dan Buettner calls beans “the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world.” According to the Blue Zones research, it is advised to eat at least a half cup of cooked beans daily. Research has found that beans reign supreme in Blue Zones: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa.

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