blue zone loma linda ca

Loma Linda, California (1 of 5 Blue Zones)

Blue Zones Link to Health and Wellness

What are the Blue Zones?

“Blue Zone” is a term used for several geographic regions where some of the world’s oldest people live. This term was introduced by the author, “Dan Buettner,” who wrote a book called “The Blue Zones.” Buettner along with his colleagues, was studying about the regions of the world where people live healthy and extra-ordinary long lives; he came up with this name because while studying about these areas, they drew blue circles around these regions on the map. In short, blue zones are the societies where people not only live a long life but a healthy one too until the last days of their lives.

Buettner has described five acknowledged Blue Zones that are as follows:

  • Icaria; an isolated island of Greece
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • Ogliastra, Sardinia; an Italian island
  • Okinawa, Japan

What is so interesting or intriguing about them?

According to the study done by Michel Poulain, Giani Pes, and Dan Buettner, people living in Blue Zones:

  • Exceptionally live longer lives while maintaining an unusual percentage of the population that live above 100 years
  • Do not face a higher rate of problems related to mental health like anxiety and depression
  • Shows lower rate of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Contain high-spiritedness with extra-ordinary zeal and zest for life
  • Have closer relationships within family, society, and community; people are fully involved.
  • Fully contented and happier with life

healthy food


How these people have a healthier life with less physical or mental health problems?

People living in the blue zones have a plant-based diet. These people do fasting and maintained the rule of lower calorie intake. They exercise daily and consume alcohol moderately. People living blue zones practice some traits, habits, and healthy behaviors that contribute to a happier and content life e.g., they take enough sleep, are religious and have a purpose in life, people are socially involved with each other, and old and new generations are close to each other.

Types of Diets

In his book, “The Blue Zones Solution,” Buettner wrote about the diet and food plan of people living in the blue zone area. He has mentioned the category of food, time and way of consuming that food of these people. After interviewing 100s of people and narrowing down the known blue zones areas, Buettner extracts the following findings about the diet plans of Blue Zones region:

  • When your stomach is 80% full, STOP eating to avoid weight gain
  • Eat more plants specifically beans and consume meat rarely, in small portions (3 to 4 ounces) and an average of five times in a month
  • Do not eat big or large meals in the late afternoon or the evening; eat your smallest meal of the day at that time
  • Consume alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e., 1 to 2 glasses per day.

Plant-based Diet:

Blue Zones’ people focus on a plant-based diet, and it does not mean that they do not eat meat. They eat meat but not often because the meat is one of those foods that create inflammation which can lead to cancer, heart disease, chronic disease, and mental health issues. The inflammatory diet is the core input for improved health and longevity. With the following 80% rule, the diet of Blue Zones’ people consists mainly upon the following foods:

  • Vegetables: Vegetables are rich in fiber and multiple vitamins and minerals. A high proportion of vegetable intake in your diet plan can expressively reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, and death rates.
  • Legumes: Legumes are rich in fiber and protein, and it is researched that their regular or significant intake can improve longevity. Legumes contain peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Whole grains: Another enriched source of fiber is whole grains. Their intake can reduce high blood pressure and leads to a lower rate of deaths and colorectal cancer from heart diseases.
  • Nuts: Nuts are rich in protein, fiber, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Taken with a balanced and healthy diet, nuts can prove to be a great source of longevity and can be successful in reversing the metabolic syndrome.

Other foods:

Ninety-five percent of the diet is based upon plants, but other than those people of blue zones also eat other foods such as fish that is frequently eaten by the people lining in Icaria and Sardinia. Fish is rich in omega-3 fats that are crucial for mental and heart health; it minimizes the heart disease and slower the brain deterioration.

cross in front of beautiful sunset

Religious and Spiritual Beliefs

People of Blue Zones are religious; they are highly spiritual people who have firm religious believes that create positivity, peace, and contentment between them. According to different studies, it is proved that religious beliefs helped in coping with stress and depression that ultimately help in lowering the death rates. Blue Zones wake up every day with a purpose; having a purpose in life change and divert the life towards betterment and positivity that leads to improved psychological health and happier contented life. The term “life purpose” is referred to as “ikigai” in Okinawa or “plan de vida” in Nicoya.

Family and Social attributes

Blue Zones live together (old and young); grandparents often live with their families, and this attribute also added up to the longevity of grandparents according to studies. Older people exercise daily and stay busy while looking after their grandkids; this practice keeps the negativity, stress, and depression away from older people that are mainly the root cause of every disease.

Blue Zones build a healthy social or community network among themselves. They have close and stronger relationships in family and community that create a feeling of belonging. As Dan Buettner states, “friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can” and say “I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network”

Alcohol and Smoking Use

According to the research done by Buettner and his colleagues, people living in blue zones drink alcohol moderately but regularly; they mostly prefer red wine. Consumption of a moderate amount of alcohol (1 to 2 glasses) can help in longevity and reduce specifically heart disease. Blue zone people drink red wine which has more beneficial effects as compared to other alcohol forms.

Healthy Behaviors

Blue Zones follow the 80% rule while eating and do fasting during their religious holidays that lower their blood cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). According to studies, fasting helps in reducing weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and other factors that lead to chronic diseases.

Blue Zones take enough sleep that reduces fatigue, stress, and depression. According to researches, insufficient sleep can lead to heart strokes or death risks. In blue zones, daily naps are also common.

seniors exercising


Daily exercise is one of the healthiest behaviors of people of blue zones; they do all of their works by themselves that leaves no room for an additional exercise, i.e., they raise farm animals, walk daily to their workplaces. Studies have shown that daily walk and exercise reduce cancer and heart disease risks.

Blue Zones attributes healthy behaviors in all aspects of their lives such as in diet, in daily routine work, having a purpose of life, by being religious or spiritual, by drinking less but daily, by low smoking rates, by having fully engaged relationships and by lower rates of stress.

Benefits of living in a blue zone

Blue Zones live happier, healthier, contented, and exceptionally long lives. They have dramatically low rates of cancer, heart, mental and chronic diseases that are very common in different regions and communities.

People are stress and depression free; they keep the stress away. They have a strong sense of belonging and companionship due to their close, fully involved relationships with family and with friends. They woke up with a purpose in life that makes their life meaningful and contented.

healthy older woman at the beach



Though blue zones have a slightly different lifestyle and their diet is based upon plants as compared to our fast foods, but they are living a beautiful, healthy life enjoying alcohol sometimes daily but moderately. They practice some simple healthy behaviors in their lives that keep them young, healthy, and happy. The older people in the blue zones are more physically and mentally healthy. All the above advantages and benefits that blue zone communities offer can help us to live longer and happier; we can borrow the healthy attributes from them to live a happier and healthier life.