As part of its memory care program, the Masonic Home at Union City incorporates a brain-and-heart-healthy food regimen based on the “Blue Zones”—regions of the world with the highest concentration of centenarians, where elders thrive, with few degenerative diseases. Joseph Pritchard, Director of Memory Care at the Masonic Home, explains, “The Blue Zone diet helps preserve memory because it helps stave off some of the risk factors associated with dementia. At the Masonic Home Blue Zone Café, we serve meals like sushi bowls, potato leek soup, and banana-kale smoothies. All have a slant towards vegetables and fruits.” Can you eat a diet that resembles that of the Blue Zones? Absolutely!
One way to eat for longevity is to “eat the rainbow.” According to Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution, there is a commonality in what people of all five Blue Zones eat: a varied, plant-based diet. From beets to sweet potato to papaya to seaweed, they eat vibrant foods that grow organically in their regions. In other words, they eat colorfully (and locally). Now, with farmers markets and all of the choices available at supermarkets, so can you.
In addition to eating an array of vegetables, people in Blue Zone regions eat wild-caught fish. Since fish is known for its brain-healthy Omega oils, including it in your diet is a smart choice. Choose trout, snapper, and other “mid-chain” fish since it is exposed to less mercury. As for eggs and meat, do like the Blue and consider them an accent to plant-based meals, rather than a centerpiece. Finally, go for more digestible dairy without added sugar. Plain yogurt is an excellent choice, as it contains gut-healthy probiotics, and milk products from sheep and goat are easier on the belly.
Other Blue Zone foods to add to your diet include oats, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Nuts contain healthy oils, fiber, and protein, and can easily be taken on the go, so grab a handful for daily snacking. The bottom line: with a dash of intention and an eye for color, you, too, can eat the foods that contribute to the longevity of the heart and mind!
About the Masonic Homes of California
The Masonic Homes of California is a charitable organization devoted to helping our communities and families live well and achieve meaningful and rewarding lives. The longest continuously operated organization in Union City, CA, the Masonic Homes has been a trusted name in health care since 1898. Its campus on Mission Boulevard is home to over 300 residents, employs 200 health care professionals, and provides volunteer opportunities to over 500 members of the Tri-City community. The Masonic Homes shares its campus with Acacia Creek Retirement Community, and both offer a variety of services, including independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation services. Its Outreach Services office also provides information and referral services to community members within the Tri City region and beyond.