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Have you ever heard of a ‘blue zone’? The term was coined by National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner. Blue Zones are remarkable in that they contain an abnormally high percentage of people that live well into their 100’s. And their lives are healthy and vibrant.
It doesn’t take a physiologist to realize what our #1 fear is: death. Everyone would like to live longer.
Americans tend to think of themselves as healthy, but the truth is there are pockets around the world that have mastered the art and science of living longer, healthier lives.
According to Buettner:
“The big aha for me, having studied populations of the long-lived for nearly a decade, is how the factors that encourage longevity reinforce one another over the long term.”
The most surprising fact of all might be that these folks are not wealthy. Blue zones have higher poverty rates than many areas in the United States. People in Blue Zones found a way to live longer on a very meager income.
Where People Live the Longest
The top five blue zones, according Mr. Buettner’s research, are:
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
- Ikaria, Greece
So what makes these places so special? Is it great genetics or something that folks like you can actually control? The answer might surprise you.
Why They Live Longer
The researchers studied hundreds of different factors trying to isolate what these Blue Zones had in common. All 5 Blue Zones have these common traits:
- They maintain a healthy weight. It’s no secret that being overweight will shorten your life. But the key is how to maintain a healthy weight. The people in blue zones tend to stay ‘lean and mean’ by eating a healthy diet and staying active late in their life. To maintain their active lifestyles they eat well-rounded diets rich in vegetables, fruit, and omega-3 fatty acids rich in protein. They also have some mental tricks to reduce their daily calorie intake.
- They create their own ‘fountain of youth’ by eating plants and sea vegetables that get rid of joint pain and provide vibrant energy. These plants also reduce inflammation, which is a leading cause of heart disease (the #1 killer in the Untied States). In fact, in Nicoya, they have a literal ‘fountain of youth:’ the water is high in calcium and magnesium, which are important for bone and brain health. People in blue zones feel younger than their years simply by eating and drinking what nature provides.
- They have access to affordable healthy eating options. Any doctor will tell you get more greens in your diet. But the problem is eating well is expensive. The people in blue zones are overwhelmingly poor by American standards. Folks in blue zones have solved this problem by tending to their own gardens. This provides the nutrients they need and low-impact exercise that is essential for long life.
- They have a ‘community survival’ and self-reliance mentality. People in these zones endure hardships, violent storms, and even violent attacks just like we do. But their survival mentality, ability to rely on themselves, and a strong sense of ‘we’re in this together’, makes for a vibrant community that can withstand any survival situation – and leads to longer more energetic lives. They truly believe they can ‘survive AND thrive’ in any crisis.
Reader Poll: What Is Your Key To A Longer Life?
Now that you have discovered the key to a long, healthy life, what is your biggest challenge to living longer? Click on the option below to vote and see the results of our reader poll:
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