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Living Long Lives In The Blue Zones

by Matilda Charles

In several parts of the world there are large populations that regularly live into their 90s and even pass 100 years. They’re called Blue Zones, those parts of the world where seniors live longer, healthier lives. It started as a National Geographic project to look for the secrets to longevity. They were able to identify five locations: Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; and Okinawa, Japan.
Fascinated scientists began to study these over-100 people and concluded that they had nine commonalities. They are:

  • The Blue Zoners move and exercise naturally, working in gardens and going about their lives with frequent walks, not engaging in heavy-lifting gym visits.
  • They have a purpose to each day.
  • They do what they must to avoid stress. Some pray, some have happy hour, some take naps, but they intentionally do something.
    They follow Confucius’ rule to stop eating when they’re 80 present full, and don’t eat late at night.
  • Their diets are semi-vegetarian and they stick mostly with beans and lentils, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and whole grains.
  • They drink modest amounts of wine, perhaps 1 to 2 cups per day, if at all.
  • They belong to a faith-based community of some kind.
  • They put loved ones first and often live with or near family members.
  • The people around them are en-gaged in similar healthy behaviors.

To read the study about the Blue Zones, go online to www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov select PubMed from the dropdown menu and put ‘Blue Zones’ in the search box. Look for the authors Buettner D, Skemp S. The heading includes ‘Lessons From The World’s Longest Lived.’