What are the Blue Zones?
These are 5 regions in the world where people live healthy long lives, commonly living past 100. These regions are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Loma Linda in California, and Ikaria in Greece.
Although the people of these regions have cultural and lifestyle differences they share fundamental commonalities which are believed to be the keys to the their longevity and health. So what are their secrets?
1. Move daily - Movement is incorporated into their daily lives. It may not be a gym or a spin class, but these people are very active. They garden, walk, climb stairs or mountains (in some cases), do house work, and do not spend long hours sitting.
2. Have a Sense of Purpose, Belonging, and Balance - Family and personal relationships are very important to the people of all these regions. They all have a positive outlook and cherish their families, friends, and especially their elders. Whether it is spiritual, religious, or cultural, having a sense of belonging and a purpose in life is seen in all these groups and is critical to maintaining overall health. They also have times of quiet and calm, it may be meditation, prayer, or being in nature.
3. Eat A Plant Based, Whole Foods Diet - While there are cultural variations in the diets of the blue zones, they all follow a similar pattern. Eat a mostly plant based diet, eat in moderation, and eat whole foods. Their diets are about 80% plant based, incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, high in fiber, low in saturated fats (animal and dairy fat), and even include red wine in moderation.
People generally eat together and cook at home. There is no-to minimal processed, packaged, high sugar, or “fast” foods. Obesity is almost non-existent in these cultures. The rates of common chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome, and cancer are very low. People commonly live past 100 still being active, alert, and healthy. When they die, it is usually of age and not illness, and they pass in their sleep.
These are all things we can focus on in our lives. The fountain of youth is achievable! There is no quick fix, or fad…it is life long habits and activities that can set us up for health and happiness for many decades to come!
Interested in learning more about the Blue Zones?
Dan Buettner Has done extensive research and written books about these Blue Zones.
Check out his work at:
The TED Talk: https://youtu.be/ff40YiMmVkU