Blue Zones have been in the media a lot lately, thanks in large part to Dan Buettner, the author of the similarly titled book, “The Blue Zones: Nine Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest.” Blue Zones are places in the world where people tend to live a long time. Buettner points out the following places: Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).
The people in these areas tend to do some things that had me thinking they might also experience less acne, mainly because many of the dietary and lifestyle choices they engage in are anti-inflammatory in nature. Since acne is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense that living in a Blue Zone type of way couldn’t hurt with acne symptoms.
Keep in mind that Buettner says himself that we can’t artificially adopt the lives of these people very successfully. The way they eat and their lifestyle is woven into the fabric of their lives and communities. However, it’s interesting to see what they do and incorporate what we can, where we can.
The things all Blue Zones tend to have in common are:
– Mostly vegetarian plant-based diet
– Lots of beans/legumes
– Family focused
– Socially engaged
– Constantly staying physically active as a part of daily life
All of these things could be argued are anti-inflammatory. Certainly a plant-based diet with lots of beans is a good low glycemic option full of antioxidants. And living in a family focused, engaged way can reduce stress, which in turn reduces inflammation. While the jury is still out on whether smoking is a big risk factor in acne, smoking causes vascular injury and we know this can lead to inflammation response in the body. And finally, staying physically active is associated with lower markers of inflammation.
We’re not likely to keep acne at bay by attempting to adopt a Blue Zone diet and lifestyle, but it might help reduce symptoms somewhat and it’s a tasty and fun way to live anyway. On that note, I’m walking to lunch today and I’m ordering tofu and veggies 🙂