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The Health Benefits of the Nicoya Diet


Another country that’s part of the Blue Zones, where people live longer than the rest of the world, is Costa Rica and especially it’s “Nicoya” region. Nicoya is the area close to Nicaragua and is an absolute winner when it comes to elders living longer and healthier than the average American. Let’s take a look at the lifestyle and nicoya diet of these happy and healthy elderly people.

The Characteristics of the Diet

1. Plant-based is the way! Beans, corn and vegetables are eaten daily. Tropical fruit is also high on the menu. Fish and especially meat are eaten rarely, and if they are, it’s always in very small quantities.
2. Eat as little as possible. Calorie restriction is one of the surest ways to added years to your life. More important than what they’re eating is how little the Nicoya elders eat.
3. Drink hard water. An important part of the diet seems to be the quantities of ‘hard’ water that are consumed. The Nicoyan water has a very high calcium content, which is good for heart and bones. It might be for this reason that heart diseases and fatal breakage of bones, like hip fractures, are less common than anywhere else on the planet.

The Lifestyle

The lifestyles of the elders, might be the biggest factor into their long and healthy life. These are the most important ones:
1. Have a goal. The Niyocan elders have a strong sense of purpose. They feel needed and wanted and have things to live and fight for, like family and friends.
2. Family first. The centenarians generally live with their children and grandchildren. This makes sure the elders don’t feel lonely and are exposed to new situations and events daily. Having a busy and rich life is great for brain health.
3. Be grateful. The Niyocans have a rich social life. They don’t just spend a lot of time with their families and friends, neighbors are also important. The elders are grateful for what they have and celebrate all the wonderful people around them.
4. Be active! The Nicoyan elders are very active and do a lot of chores around the house. Keeping busy and physically active is a great way to stay healthy longer.
5. Stack up on Vitamin D. In Nicoya, the elders tend to spend a lot of time in the sun, making sure they get a lot of vitamin D which supports strong bones and prevents heart-diseases. As there are some dangers, like skin cancer, associated with spending too much time in the sun, we recommend taking supplements instead of going into the sun unprotected.

The people of Nicoya live longer and stronger thanks to their healthy plant-based diet, active lifestyle and engaging in social situations regularly. A sense of belonging and having a purpose also seems important. What can you improve in your life to be more like the Nicoyan elders?