Ok… Ok… Let me be honest from the outset, the title of the blog is a little misleading as in reality there is no ‘optimal’ diet for your health. I really wish sometimes it was as easy as taking a one size fits all diet and letting people follow that towards good health and their dream body, but alas it takes a bit more effort. This is because everyone is different and will require a different balance of macro and micronutrients in order to sustain good health.
However, all is not lost. Ultimately there have been a lot of studies into how specific diets can change our health, a lot of these studies look at the ‘common’ diets of demographic areas comparing them to the health and life expectancy of the individuals. Interesting similarities started to arrive when looking at the Blue Zones.
What are the Blue Zones?
Simply speaking, the Blue Zones are 5 areas in the world that have the longest life expectancy. The Blue Zones have the highest concentration of centenaries (people over 100) and low disease rates, these areas are;
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
- Loma Linda, California
Studies on the Blue zones have pulled up a remarkable number of similarities in their diets and lifestyle which could be accountable for the longevity of life.
Similarities in the Blue Zone Diets include;
- Predominately a plant based diet.
- Typically eat some meat and often dairy & eggs – None of the Blue Zones are vegan. (Loma Linda however does have a high proportion of vegetarians).
- No over eating – Maintaining an energy balance would seem key in both weight loss and health.
- Foods are locally produced and prepared.
- Regular consumers of grains and legumes.
Whilst a long life won’t just be down to diet, there is no arguing it has a large role to play. I think we can take huge inspiration from the Blue Zones whilst creating our own health conscious diets.