The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

Image of The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100
Release Date: 
December 3, 2019
National Geographic
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“Simply put, Dan Buettner has written the ultimate manual for longevity.”

If you believe you are what you eat, then The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 is the perfect book for you. It was almost two centuries ago that French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” This quote is more relevant than ever, and bestselling author Dan Buettner, in conjunction with National Geographic, has written a cookbook for anyone who is interested in health and longevity.

About 15 years ago, the author along with renowned doctors and experts Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, set out to reverse-engineer a formula for longevity. Buettner identified places around the world where people lived the longest, drawing a line around each area in blue ink. Together, they created the concept of Blue Zones, the set of characteristics that have produced the world’s longest lived people. Yearning to live to 100? Then you will need this handy guidebook that contains the secrets to a long and healthy life. Simply put, Buettner has written the ultimate manual for longevity.

The Blue Zones were identified in five regions around the world. In Sardinia, the world’s longest living men could be found in a string of mountain villages. The small villages on the South Pacific islands of Okinawa had the world’s highest percentages of women centenarians. In the Greek island of Ikaria (The Island Where People Forgot to Die), the 10,000 or so inhabitants not only lived longer but also had the lowest rates of dementia. The entire population of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula was most likely to reach a healthy age of 90. And closer to home, a group of Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, were likely to live nearly a decade longer than any other Americans.

In short, there are eleven Blue Zones guidelines to help you lead a longer and better life and some of these include retreating from meat, cutting down on eggs and fish to eating beans and whole grains on a daily basis. Buettner also instructs the reader to eat sourdough bread, fill up on nuts, and drink mostly water.

These guidelines were established after closely studying the diets in the five Blue Zones. The team discovered that each Zone has its own longevity ingredients. For example: the people of Sardinia drink a moderate amount of the local red wine and eat fava beans in soups and stews (this is one of the foods associated with living to 100).

The people of Nicoya Peninsula feast on a number of foods including coconut, which increases good cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart disease and papaya, which helps counter inflammation.

Top longevity ingredients from Okinawa include sesame oil, bitter melon, mushrooms, seaweed, and turmeric, to name a few.

Those living in Ikaria eat potatoes, lemons, beans, fennel, honey, and herbs such as sage, rosemary, and oregano.

Loma Linda residents’ diets include vegemite (an Australian spread made from brewer’s yeast, salt and vegetable extract) as well as avocados, spinach, and oatmeal.

The book highlights each of these Blue Zones and includes recipes from each region. In studying diets in many of these regions, researchers found that residents tend to eat the same meal every day and this, according to Buettner, may be important component of longevity.

“Too many ingredients create molecular stress in your body,” according to Gianni Pes, professor at Sassari University. “When you eat too many types of food, you’re asking your immune system to work harder and undertake stress.”

Each section is filled with information and personal stories that will captivate the reader. Whether it is the story of “The Women of San Antonio” who gather together to resolve disputes over platters of gnocchi, pasta, and Sardinian pizza or the tale of Jose Bonifacio, the 100-year-old cowboy, the residents of the Blue Zones will charm and educate the reader.

The recipes are filled with wholesome ingredients and intriguing tastes from the simple Black Bean and Potato Soup to the mouth-watering Tico Tropical Salad and delicious Quinoa-stuffed Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce.

You can get the benefits of the Blue Zones diet without living in those areas and that is what Buettner has done by writing this information-laden book. By taking a few simple measures such as increasing consumption of whole foods or adding olive oil, a person is already taking the first baby step toward living a longer life.