Foods to Avoid to Live a Longer Life

August 9, 2023

There are some kinds of foods that don’t help support a long life, but can undermine your health, wellbeing, and lifespan. These types of food can be harmful to your body in the long term.

What are ‘Blue Zones’?

Blue Zones are regions around the world where people tend to live longer, healthier lives than average. These areas share certain lifestyle characteristics that have been identified as contributing to their residents’ longevity, such as regular exercise and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. The most widely known Blue Zones are located in Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Studies of Blue Zones have demonstrated that there are many commonalities among people in these regions that contribute to their exceptional longevity. These lifestyle traits include a strong sense of community and connection with others, an active involvement in spiritual or religious practices, an appreciation of the natural environment, and a diet that is largely plant-based. Additionally, many Blue Zone residents have built physical activity into their daily lives by walking frequently, gardening, and engaging in activities like tai chi and yoga.

The idea of the Blue Zones has become increasingly popular as research shows its potential for improved health outcomes in other areas. By studying the lifestyle habits of Blue Zone residents, researchers are able to identify strategies that can be implemented in other regions with the goal of improving overall health and longevity. For instance, communities around the world have begun implementing policies such as local farmers’ markets and bike lanes to encourage healthy eating and more active lifestyles.

Foods to Avoid for a Long Life

Ever wonder what people in Blue Zones don’t eat that makes them live so long? Here are some things they avoid that are a regular part of the western diet:

  • Processed and packaged foods: People in Blue Zones tend to avoid processed and packaged foods that are high in refined sugars, artificial additives, and unhealthy fats.
  • Meat and animal products: While not completely excluded, animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs are consumed in small portions and as a complement to a mostly plant-based diet.
  • Excessive salt: High salt intake is associated with a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. In Blue Zones, people tend to limit their salt intake by avoiding processed foods, using herbs and spices for flavor, and consuming more fresh produce.
  • Excessively sweet foods: People in Blue Zones tend to limit their sugar intake by avoiding sweetened beverages, desserts, and other processed foods that are high in added sugars.
  • Alcohol: While moderate consumption of alcohol has been associated with some health benefits, people in Blue Zones tend to limit their alcohol intake to one or two glasses per day, if at all.

Overall, the dietary patterns of people living in Blue Zones emphasize whole, minimally processed foods, and a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.

By embracing the health-promoting habits of Blue Zone residents, people can live healthier, longer lives. For more information about Blue Zones, visit, where you can learn about the research and lifestyle practices associated with longevity in these regions.


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