Secrets of Longevity across the World
Did you know that the places where people live longer than the rest of the world are known as blue zones? People live for up to 90 or 100 years in these zones! Not only do they live longer, but they also live a healthy life, free of medication or major health problems.
There are five blue zones in the world that have been identified after thorough research by journalist Dan Buettner (along with National Geographic). One of the earliest identified blue zones is the Italian island of Sardinia. While in the US, 1 person in 4000 lives to the age of 100, 1 in every 600 people in Sardinia lives up to the age of 100. The four other blue zones in the world are Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California, Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula and a Greek island named Ikaria. It’s no wonder that these places are islands or isolated places, free from the maddening pollution and hysteria of the urban world.
Research has pointed out that it’s not our genes but our lifestyle that impacts our longevity. Although one can’t defy ageing, one can definitely lead a healthier and longer life with the right lifestyle. One can slow down ageing by following the maxims of the blue zones.
So what are the secrets of longevity in these parts of the world?
- Drink more water (and some red wine) – In Loma Linda, people drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day, as a result of which the rate of heart diseases is much lower. In Sardinia, apart from their daily water intake, red wine is a must with meals. Red wine contains flavonoids, which can also be found in dark chocolate. (Also read: Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate). Flavonoids reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Flavonoid absorption can be enhanced by drinking wine along with plant-based meals like salads.
- Become vegetarian/vegan – Most people in the blue zones are either vegetarian or vegan. They consume low calorie meals. Their main meal is breakfast or lunch. Dinner is very light. Remember the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!’. Turns out, it’s very effective.
- Have a purpose in life – In all the blue zones, people have a strong sense of purpose in life. They know that they won’t just stop living at 60. They creative a life of purpose and motivation with a positive and healthy outlook. In Nicoya peninsula, everyone has a plan de vida, a plan for their life!
- Live with your family – Living with one’s family is considered a healthy practice that leads to community building. In Sardinia, 95% of the people who make it to 100 have lived with their children or grandchildren, who can take care of them. And they reciprocate for this care by providing love, motivation and, sometimes, even financial help.
- Avoid stress by all means – All the blue zones use various methods to reduce stress. In Sardinia, people have a great sense of humour. They don’t take anything too seriously and enjoy laughing, even if it is at their own expense. In Loma Linda, the Sabbath (a day of religious observance and abstinence from work) helps people bond and keep stress away. In the Costa Rican Nicoya peninsula, people have a very liberal attitude towards sex and believe that it is a great stress reducer. In Okinawa, physical activity in the sun is a daily habit and, hence, they get a lot of vitamin D, which works against many types of cancer and diabetes.
For more information about the blue zones, visit – https://www.bluezones.com/
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