There are 5 ‘Blue Zones’ designated from research and observations by American Dan Buettner around the world. The term Blue Zones (which he Trademarked and turned into a company) first appeared in his November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, “The Secrets of a Long Life”.
The five regions he termed “Blue Zones” are Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), Sardinia (Italy) and Loma Linda (California), home of the Seventh-day Adventists. I have no idea whether or not he is correct.
Oddly enough, it was in 2005, I penned the Rainbow Diet.
The French Paradox
I had long had in mind a book entitled ‘Live Younger, Longer’ based on my personal experiences of health and various research studies we had conducted during my Advertising career. The thought stayed with me, especially after reviewing the French Paradox (they consume more fat and more alcohol than other nations and yet have less cancer and heart disease) and being in Mielan, Gascony on the morning a leading French National Newspaper declared the people of this region to consume even higher levels of fat and alcohol than the people of any other area in France, yet have even less cancer and heart disease.
My Rainbow Diet book was based on the observations from Gascony, and a single study from Harvard Medical School on the Mediterranean Diet. Recently, we loaded the 93rd research study onto The Rainbow Diet Website.
Go to: The Rainbow Diet
The Flexible Rainbow Diet
The great thing about the Rainbow Diet is that it is REAL. It is the colourful Mediterranean diet and has been around for thousands of years. It is not fabricated like the Ketogenic diet. The proof of its efficacy is there to see.
My favourite research study concerns women across the world between the ages of 50 and 65, who were studied for 15 years. Those who adhered most closely to the Rainbow Diet were 40% more likely to reach 70 years of age and at the end of the study were free of 11 chronic illnesses known to beset Western mankind.
Only recently, the colourful Mediterranean Diet was voted the ‘Healthiest Diet in the World’ by 41 Professors and experts in the fields of Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diet and nutrition. For the second year in a row, it was also voted the ‘Best Plant-based Diet’.
The Secrets of a Longer Life?
Most importantly from my personal observations of living on the Mediterranean for 30 years, it is a LIFESTYLE, not just a diet.
It is about community, a sense of self-worth, a sense of purpose, laughing together in the main square, sipping black coffee; it is about sunshine and outdoor life; about exercise, walking up and down hills; it’s about fresh air; it’s about farms and fields even in hilly terrains; the protein is sheep’s or goats’ cheese, always unpasteurised, then fish, and the occasional piece of meat; but then it majors on olives and grapes and grains, fruit vegetables, nuts and seeds. People go to bed early; they awake with the sun. Their last meal of the day may finish by 6 pm. Who said ‘Time Restricted Fasting’ was created in California?
And this is the Rainbow Diet – along the Med, the nearer to the sea, the more it’s about fish; the higher the mountain the more it is about goats.
And that’s the truth about Sardinia. Fish and sheep nearer the coast; goats up the mountains.
But always an incredibly strong population of octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians. Yes, these people live a long time, with a happy personality and a fully active brain – and unusually, the men as long as the women.
Their genes are being studied; there are modifications. You see this in tenth generation vegan populations too. It’s not something that happens if you go vegan in your 20s, a first generation vegan.
Their genes and their diets build different proteins in their bodies – the sort of proteins you can only achieve if you live the diet and the lifestyle.
The Rainbow diet – Live younger, longer
As I say, I’m not interested in whether the trademarked concept of the Blue Zones is right or wrong.
But I am interested in people being free from chronic illness and living younger, longer.
I remember some European statistics from a few years ago. The Italians average life expectancy is around 77 years 6 months; in the UK it is 75 years and 7 months. But the figure that really caught my eye was that Italians develop their first Chronic illness around 76y 1 m; in the UK it is around the age of 60. So, on average the British live shorter lives and spend the last 15 years of their lives with a chronic illness. Clearly we have very bad habits.
And it is certainly not a ‘Live younger, longer’ experience.
The Island of Sardinia is, however, an LYL zone.
I am 71 next month. I am happy to be sitting here writing this article for you, while eating my bowl of walnuts and drinking my black coffee! I hope I stay this way to write many more articles that can help you Live Younger, Longer.