“Blue Zones” as a Guide for Good Health

By CHN Nutritionist: Melissa Olson RD, CDN

Have you heard of the term “Blue Zones”? These are parts of the world where the most people have lived to age 100, such as in Greece and Okinawa, Japan. Scientists are fascinated with learning the lifestyle secrets from these Blue Zones to know how common habits there can add longer and healthier years to our own lives too. Here are six lifestyle habits that predict a long healthy life. And check out bluezones.com for more ideas!

  1. Balanced Diet Choices – Our bodies need mostly plants (fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, & whole grains) to work at their best.
  2. Avoid Smoking – Tobacco products harm your body at the genetic level. This can lead to cancer and harm lung cells.
  3. Be Physically Active Each Day – Our bodies have feet and legs for a reason. We are meant to move and walk often!
  4. Sleep – Making sleep a priority helps control appetite. It resets your blood pressure each night. It also helps you think clearly, and balances emotions too.
  5. Stress Control – Do activities that help to lower stress. These can be things like meditation, dancing, or gardening. Some stress is part of life. Remember that long-term, repeated stress means something is unbalanced and needs to change, or else your health will get worse.
  6. Social Connection – Friendships, family, and community are all a common theme in the Blue Zones. Find the people who make you feel happy and spend time with them often!

 

Avocado Bean Salad:

(Makes 1 serving)                                      

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 scallion
1 small cucumber
1 cup of canned black beans, drained & rinsed
Pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Juice from 1 lemon

To make:

  • Place first 7 ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  • Squeeze lemon juice on top as a dressing and mix together.