Wednesday, April 11, 2018

12/04/2018: The Blue Zones Philosophy

By Ioannis Zabetakis, Lecturer, UL, Ireland

In a previous op-ed article, we had visited the first three of the power nine features of Blue Zones principles. Here are the rest six of them. 

  
The 80 percent rule
Blue Zones people eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and then they refrain from eating any more food for the rest of the evening; exactly the opposite to the average Westernised person who might have sandwich for lunch and their main meal of the day in the evening. “Hara Hacki Bu”, an Okinawan Confucian mantra that is 2,500 years old, is said before meals and reminds people in Okinawa to stop eating when their stomachs feel about full. The 20 percent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between gaining weight or losing it or increasing or decreasing cardiometabolic risk factors.

Diet
Fruits, vegetables, and recipes based on these ingredients (e.g. fava and lentils soups) are a focal point of the diets of the Blue Zones people and these foods occupy the lower shelves of the Mediterranean diet pyramid as seen in Figure 5.1. Fish and seafood is eaten at least twice a week, whereas meat (mostly poultry and pork) is eaten on average five times a month.

Wine
With the exception of the Seventh Day Adventists, everyone in the Blue Zones consume alcohol on a regular and moderate basis averaging up to 2 glasses per day. Figure 5.1, the latest version of the Mediterranean diet pyramid encourages the moderate consumption of alcohol; Blue Zones people tend to follow this guideline. Consuming two glasses per day or 14 glasses per week is the optimal dose, however the drinking pattern is of paramount importance. One or two glasses of red wine every day is key, whereas binge drinking should be avoided at all costs. There is no standard portion however studies have shown that 250 mL of red wine may lower inflammatory markers and reduce platelet aggregation.

Read the full article, HERE.
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