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Lillian Wilson

The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner

Interested in longevity? A comprehensive read, 'The Blue Zones Solution', will give you practical guidance on how to enhance your lifespan.

‘The Blue Zones Solution’ by Dan Buettner; A Book Review

The book has gotten 3.96 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

"Bestselling author Buettner is back with a well-organized game plan for a long and well-lived life...This is a thoughtfully presented and well-written guide from which anyone – no matter where he or she is in the journey to better health – can benefit." 
– Publishers Weekly, starred review

Throughout history, humanity has been captivated by the concept of eternal youth and vitality. Legends of the Fountain of Youth have circulated for centuries, promising rejuvenation and longevity to those fortunate enough to find its mythical waters. Yet, the search for this elusive source has remained fruitless.

In Dan Buettner’s book, ‘The Blue Zones Solution‘, he unveils a remarkable discovery that brings us closer to unravelling the secrets of living a vibrant, healthy, and active life well into our golden years. By studying exceptional communities around the world, where individuals commonly reach their 80s, and 90s, and even surpass the age of 100 with vitality, Buettner offers a captivating and inspiring roadmap for achieving longevity and well-being.

This review will delve into the main insights, recommendations, topics covered, and the author’s credibility, offering a detailed overview of the book’s content.

Author’s background

Dan Buettner is a renowned explorer, National Geographic Fellow, journalist, and bestselling author who has made remarkable contributions to the field of longevity.

For a decade, Dan travelled the world and explored the Blue Zone areas to figure out the secret of those people’s longevity. He has put the experience gained during those travels into an extensive number of his books, including ‘The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer‘, ‘Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way‘, ‘The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People’. All of them became national bestsellers.

Buettner collaborates with governments, insurance companies, and others to introduce Blue Zones Projects in various settings. These projects aim to improve well-being by applying insights from Blue Zones to local environments, policies, and social networks. Impressively, over 5 million Americans have experienced significant health improvements through these initiatives.

What is the book about?

The book consists of four parts. The first one covers the lifestyle and nutrition habits of people of the five Blue Zones, including Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

The first part not only profoundly describes special features of centenarians’ diets but also provides real-life stories of these people. Throughout the book, you can stumble upon the life story of the world’s longest-lived woman and the diet secrets of the world’s longest-lived man. Dan Buettner eloquently describes the household and life obstacles of these people. These stories add a pinch of plausibility to the concept of living for 100 years and prove that centenarians do not belong to a secret society of long-lived aliens but are people living in our midst.

In the second part, Dan Buettner admits that the environment vastly influences our lifestyle choices. Really, it is not that easy to pass by a coffee shop or fast-food restaurant that is luring you to come in and buy a frappuccino with caramel topping or a bag of fries. The second part of the book showcases various communities that have successfully implemented the Blue Zones solution, with examples including a rural region in Finland, a Minnesota town achieving significant weight loss, and three Los Angeles municipalities reducing obesity.

The third part of ‘The Blue Zones Solution‘ shares practical pieces of advice on food rituals and home-environment changes that might help you to blue zone your life.

The last part provides readers with easy and delicious recipes from all five Blue Zones.

The list of contents

  • Other Books by This Author
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Dedication
More…
  • A Message to the Reader
  • Foreword by Dean Ornish, M.D.
  • Introduction: Discovering the Blue Zones Solution
  • PART ONE: Discovering the Blue Zones
  • The Secrets of a Mediterranean Diet: Ikaria, Greece
  • A Diet From the World’s Longest-Lived Women: Okinawa, Japan
  • A Diet From the World’s Longest-Lived Men: Sardinia, Italy
  • An American Blue Zones Diet: Loma Linda, California
  • History’s Best Longevity Diet: Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
  • PART TWO: Making an American Blue Zone
  • Finland’s Miracle Makeover
  • The Minnesota Experiment
  • Thriving in the Beach Cities
  • Blue Zoning the Pork State
  • PART THREE: Building Your Own Blue Zone
  • Food Rituals: How to Eat to 100
  • Blue Zones Menus: Meals and Snacks
  • Blue Zones Living: A Design for Easy Health
  • PART FOUR: Blue Zones Recipes
  • 77 Easy, Delicious Recipes
  • The Science Behind the Blue Zones Solution
  • Acknowledgements
  • Selected Bibliography

Key takeaways from ‘The Blue Zones Solution’

1The 80% rule

When you eat a meal in a hurry or with pent-up worry, stress hormones like cortisol interfere with the digestive process.

Hara hachi bu, also called 80% rule, is an ancient saying from Okinawa that stems from Confucian teachings. It advises individuals to eat until they are 80% full, allowing for a balanced approach to meal portions.

By acknowledging the time it takes for the brain to register fullness, which is approximately 20 minutes, the mnemonic technique of hara hachi bu promotes mindfulness and prevents overeating. Embracing this practice has the potential to help the average American shed approximately 17 pounds in the first year.

2Move naturally

The world’s longest-lived people prioritise natural movement over formal exercise, as they live in environments that naturally encourage physical activity. They engage in activities such as gardening and manual housework, and they incorporate walking into their daily routines, whether it’s commuting, visiting friends, or going to religious gatherings.

The book suggests readers incorporate more unconscious movements into their life. It can be done by choosing stairs over a lift, foot or bike over a car or even by buying manual cooking devices that will make the cooking process less convenient but definitely more mindful and active.

3Put the family in the first place

“Knowing why we get up in the morning is one of the great antidotes to the downs in life.

Centenarians in the Blue Zones prioritise their families, keeping close relationships with ageing relatives and having multi-generational households, leading to improved health and longevity. They prioritise long-term partnerships, which increase life expectancy, and invest time and love in their children, fostering a supportive environment for future caregiving.

Sharing meals together is also a great idea. The author gives an example of a 2011 study that showed that having regular family meals leads to positive health outcomes. The chances of having excess weight are 12% lower, the likelihood of eating unhealthily is 20% lower, and the chances of eating healthy foods are 24% higher.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews

Strengths

  • Over a decade-long investigation of Blue Zones makes up the backbone of this book.

  • The real-life stories make the reading experience more genuine and relatable.

  • The author incorporated expressively written descriptions of the nature and scenery of the Blue Zones.

  • Presence of practical pieces of advice on how to take on a blue zone way of living. While reading you will get to know the most precise details ranging from kitchen setup to fridge choice.

Weaknesses

  • The book might feel a little repetitive as it is revolving around the four aspects of life in the Blue Zones, including a Meditteranean style nutrition, physical activity, a sense of purpose and family prioritisation.

Best quotes from ‘The Blue Zones Solution’

"Integrate at least three of these items into your daily diet to be sure you are eating plenty of whole food. 1. Beans – all kinds: black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils 2. Greens – spinach, kale, chards, beet tops, fennel tops 3. Sweet potatoes – don’t confuse with yams. 4. Nuts – all kinds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews 5. Olive oil – green, extra-virgin is usually the best. Note that olive oil decomposes quickly, so buy no more than a month’s supply at a time." 
"The average American now consumes 46 slices of pizza, 200 pounds of meat, and 607 pounds of milk and other dairy products, and washes it down with 57 gallons of soda pop a year. We consume 8,000 teaspoons of added sugar and 79 pounds of fat annually. We eat 4.5 billion pounds of fries and 2 billion pounds of chips a year."
"Interestingly, we found more healthy islanders age 90-plus in the mountains than on the coast, so fish doesn’t seem to be contributing to longevity."

Final takeaway

‘The Blue Zones Solution’ offers a captivating and enlightening perspective, going beyond mere health information and delving into diverse cultures. It unveils the customs, lifestyles, and mindsets of individuals worldwide, providing valuable insights that can be integrated into our own lives.

Alongside practical guidance, including delectable and nutritious recipes, this book is highly recommended for individuals of various backgrounds, from young students balancing study and indulgence to busy professionals seeking healthier cooking options.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘The Blue Zones Solution’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, paperback, and audio versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.


Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, the book offers practical guidance for readers. It includes real-life stories, detailed descriptions of the Blue Zones, and practical advice on nutrition, physical activity, and creating a supportive environment. It also provides easy and delicious recipes from the Blue Zones, making it accessible and beneficial for readers looking to incorporate healthier habits into their lives.

Yes, the book includes a section dedicated to providing readers with easy and delicious recipes from the five Blue Zones. With a total of 77 recipes, readers can explore and enjoy dishes that reflect the dietary patterns of these long-lived communities. The recipes are designed to be both nutritious and flavorful, allowing individuals to incorporate Blue Zones-inspired meals into their own lives.

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