Diet of Dan Buettner, longevity expert who coined term 'Blue Zones'

Unlock the Secrets to a Longer Life with Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones Diet

Paying attention to what you eat plays a vital role in living a longer life. Dan Buettner has dedicated his career to studying communities around the world where people live significantly longer than average. He introduced the concept of “blue zones,” areas where people enjoy a higher-than-usual life expectancy, thanks to various factors including their diet.

Buettner’s insights come from two decades of research into the diets of the world’s oldest people. Despite his deep knowledge, he doesn’t sacrifice his daily joys for the sake of adding a few more years to his life, unlike some who might go to extremes for longevity.

He has adapted his daily eating habits based on his findings. Buettner, who has also launched a range of frozen meals inspired by blue zone diets, shares his personal dietary choices that contribute to his health as he ages.

One of his strategies is to eat his meals within a 10- to 12-hour window each day, usually opting for just two meals. His first meal is around 11 a.m., and he has his second meal at about 7 p.m. This schedule is partly influenced by the vibrant nightlife in Miami, where he lives.

Beans are a staple in Buettner’s diet for both breakfast and dinner. His research indicates that consuming a cup of beans daily can extend one’s life by approximately four years. He begins his day with a Sardinian minestrone, packed with beans and vegetables, and spices it up with red pepper flakes for metabolism and herbs like oregano and rosemary for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Although dining out frequently doesn’t typically align with a longevity diet, Buettner enjoys it and makes it work by choosing plant-based options. He often selects side dishes such as cannellini beans, spinach, and roasted potatoes. Indian restaurants are a favorite of his, thanks to their array of satisfying plant-based dishes like tofu curry and chickpeas, which are as fulfilling as meat without the saturated fats.

Buettner’s diet is 98% plant-based, and he avoids meat almost entirely, in contrast to the blue zone populations who consume meat sparingly. While the average American consumes a significant amount of meat annually, people in blue zones eat about 20 pounds of meat per year. Buettner believes that a longevity diet can include meat occasionally without adverse effects.

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