Blue Zones Food Guidelines

Food Guidelines

We distilled more than 150 dietary surveys of the world’s longest-lived people to discover the secrets of a longevity diet.

These 10 simple guidelines reflect how the world’s longest-lived people ate for most of their lives. By adopting some of the healthy eating principles into your daily life, you too can live longer, better.

95/5 RULE

Eat plants. 95 percent of your food should be fruits, vegetables, grains, greens, beans and fruits. Use olive oil to sauté and spices to flavor vegetables. Feel free to eat a cup (cooked) of whole grains daily.Blue Zones Food Guidelines Chart

LIMIT MEAT

Though some Blue Zones areas consumed meat, we don’t know if they lived longer because of it or in spite of it. We don’t recommend eating meat as part of a Blue Zones Diet but realize that small portions may be okay for your health.

FISH IS FINE

In Blue Zones areas, people eat fish up to three times weekly. But, modern-day fish has become so contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals that we don’t recommend it as part of a Blue Zones Diet.

DIMINISH DAIRY

Cow’s milk does not figure prominently into the Blue Zones Diet so we recommend you avoid it. If cheese is a must, try ice-cube sized portions of sheep (pecorino) or goat (feta) cheese to flavor foods. If you eat eggs, limit to 3/week.

DAILY DOSE OF BEANS

Eat a cup of beans daily spread out across breakfast, lunch or dinner. All beans count, including tofu. They contain high-quality protein and fiber. If you buy canned beans, avoid added salt, sugar and chemicals.

SLASH SUGAR

Consume only 28 grams (7 teaspoons) of added sugar daily. Reserve cookies, cakes and candies for special occasions. Read labels and avoid foods with more than 8 grams of sugar. Make honey your go-to sweetener.

SNACK ON NUTS

Eat a handful of nuts daily: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and peanuts. Try different nuts so you don’t tire of them. Avoid sugar-coated nuts.

SOUR ON BREAD

Eat only 100 percent whole grain breads or authentic sourdough bread made from live cultures. Limit bread to two slices daily. Choose whole grain corn tortillas over flour tortillas. Avoid white breads and wraps.

GO WHOLLY WHOLE

Try to eat only whole foods or foods processed with fewer than 5 ingredients. If it’s manufactured in a plant, avoid it. If it comes from a plant, eat it.

DRINK MOSTLY WATER

Drink six glasses of water daily. Feel free to drink unsweetened teas and coffee. Enjoy Wine at 5 with friends or with Blue Zones-inspired meals. Avoid all sugar-sweetened and diet sodas.

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