The Power of Beans for Longevity

The world’s Blue Zones, where people live the longest and healthiest lives, are regions with high concentrations of centenarians aged 100 or older. The five Blue Zones worldwide are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. People who live within the Blue Zones share these six common lifestyle characteristics:

  1. Physical activity: Blue zone residents engage in regular physical activity as part of their daily routine. This can include walking, gardening, farming, or other forms of physical labor.
  1. Social connections: Blue zone residents highly value social ties and maintain close relationships with family, friends, and community members. They often participate in social activities and have a sense of purpose and belonging.
  1. Stress reduction: Blue zone residents use mindfulness, meditation, or prayer techniques to manage stress and maintain emotional balance.
  1. A sense of purpose: Blue zone residents have a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, which may come from their work, community involvement, or family.

And finally,

  1. Diet: Blue zone residents typically follow a plant-based diet with beans or legumes as the common food among the regions.  Beans are a meal staple in all five blue zones, with a daily dietary average of at least a half-cup.

Why are beans so important for longevity?

Beans are the consummate superfood. They are made up of 21 percent protein, 77 percent complex carbohydrates, which provide energy and help regulate blood sugar levels, and only a few percent fat on average. They are rich in protein for maintaining muscle mass and supporting immune function factors directly linked to longevity.  Because beans are fiber-rich, they help promote a balanced, healthy microbiome. Some of the fiber in beans also functions as a prebiotic. A healthy gut is scientifically correlated to healthy aging. In addition, beans contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate, which are essential for overall health.

Beans or legumes are among the world’s most perfect foods. They stabilize blood sugar, blunt the desire for sweets, and prevent mid-afternoon cravings.

Joel Furhman, MD, Eat to Live

Types of beans commonly used in the Blue Zones

In Okinawa, soybeans are a dietary staple often consumed as tofu, miso soup, and edamame. The traditional diet of Sardinia includes a variety of legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils.  Black beans are a staple food often eaten with rice in Nicoya. In Ikaria, beans are used in traditional dishes like fasolada, a white bean soup. And in Loma Linda, many residents follow a vegetarian or vegan diet rich in many types of legumes.

How to incorporate beans into your diet

Beans are easy to incorporate into your diet and can be used in a variety of dishes. You can add beans to soups, stews, salads, and chili. If you are new to eating beans, start by incorporating them gradually into your diet to avoid digestive discomfort. Try different types of beans to find the ones you enjoy. Follow these four recipes that use beans or legumes for healthy, feel-good food.

  1. Savory Lentil Cakes
  2. Grains, Beans, Nuts, and Moromiso Moringa Salad
  3. 5-Minute Tasty Squash and Beans
  4. Heirloom Bean Salad with Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Beans are essential to the Blue Zone diet, providing various health benefits and contributing to longevity. Adding beans and other plant-based foods to your diet can improve your overall health and well-being and increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, nor is the information in this article intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases.  We recommend consulting your doctor before starting or making changes to any dietary, supplement, or health-related programs.


  1. Food Guidelines – Blue Zones
  2. How Beans Boost Longevity and Best Bean Products To Buy | Well+Good (
  3. The Benefits of Beans & Why They’re Good for More Than Your Heart (
  4. eating-beans-everyday-could-help-you-live-healthier-longer (

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