When Dr. Angie Eakin is asked by patients for advice on how to eat well, she echoes Michael Pollan's advice to, "Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants." She often refers to the Blue Zone, a concept developed by National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner after an extensive, worldwide research project to find the areas where people are living the longest.
The result is a group of five locations (Ogliastra Region, Sardinia; Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica) where the world's healthiest people live; places that have the highest concentrations of centenarians and fewer people with diseases common to Americans.
Buettner distilled the common denominators from the Blue Zone areas, which include more than just eating habits. Here are some of the revelations for eating:
• Stop eating when you feel 80 percent full to avoid gaining weight. (Dietitians say knowing how to tell when you feel full is one of the biggest parts of healthy eating that people struggle with.)
• The smallest meal you eat should be in the late afternoon or evening.
• Eat mostly plants (like 95 percent of your diet) and beans. Eat meat rarely and in small portions.
• Drink alcohol moderately and regularly, say one or two glasses per day.