BOOK REVIEW: Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the LongestThe Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blue Zones are places with disproportionately large numbers of 100+ year old folks. Buettner’s book contains case studies on four of these blue zones: Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda (California), and Hojancha (Costa Rica), and provides interesting insights on living from the places that produce lots of centenarians.

Even those who aren’t particularly interested in longevity will find a great deal of valuable information in the book. Not unexpectedly, nutrition is at the fore in this book. However, there are other factors such as family and social life, sleep, and being active that correlate strongly with longevity.

A few things I picked up:
– As in Okinawa, one should say hara hachi bu before each meal as a reminder to stop when one is 80% full– rather than 100% or 180% full.
– Most nuts make a good snack even if they’re roasted in an oil that isn’t particularly healthy (the density means limited saturation.)
– Despite our species’ history, which presumably involved gorging on meat when it was available,vegetarians (and near-vegetarians) live longer.
– When you eat is as important as what you eat.

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