We all know that lots of exercise and healthy eating are important to us. But do we realize that a healthy lifestyle affects our age limit? In the so-called blue zones, people worldwide age above average.
Writer Dan Buettner coined the term ‘Blue Zone’. He wrote the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from people who lived the longest, translated The Blue Zones: Lessons for a longer life from people who lived the longest. In it, he tells about five places where many residents grow old without health problems. It concerns ages above a hundred years.
Healthy lifestyle in blue zones
Buettner discovered a few common features between the differences between the countries. Most residents had a healthy lifestyle. What exactly is ‘healthy’ remains debatable, of course, but according to the author there was a common thread in this. Lots of exercise, healthy and conscious eating, togetherness, space for reflection, relaxation and spirituality seem to be the keys to a long-term life.
Okinawa, Japan – People speak and write a lot about Japanese Okinawa. The secret formula for the island’s many centenarians contains three things: nutrition, social practices and genetics. Their diet consists of small portions of food. Five times a day the Japanese mainly eat fruit, vegetables, fish and little meat. Very nutritious, but low in calories. The relaxed island life is arranged in such a way that the elderly keep their life purpose, also called Ikigai. The islanders also value social contacts and there are all kinds of initiatives to combat loneliness. Finally, yoga is an important activity on the island.
Nap is healthy
Ikaria in Greece – Many inhabitants of the Greek island live to be ninety or even older. As many as a third of the residents easily reach that age. Often also in a healthy capacity. But what kind of magic are they doing on that island? The recipe for a long and healthy life doesn’t seem that difficult. They value a strong sense of community. In addition, residents close their eyes for a nap in the afternoon. Finally, their Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on their physical condition. People eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grain products and of course Greek olive oil.
Loma Linda, California – The Seventh Day Adventist Church Society resides in Loma Linda. This church was founded in 1840 and flourished during the twentieth century. Followers consider health one of the most important pillars of their faith. In America some 9,000 Adventists form the core of the blue zone. These people live an average of ten years longer than other Americans. And that’s due to their vegetarian diet, no alcohol or tobacco use, and lots of exercise. In addition, Friday evening to Saturday evening are rest days.
– luigi telegrafo 🇵🇸 🇽🇰 (@luteleg) May 12, 2020
Above average old
Ogliastra, Sardinia – It’s not just the white sandy beaches and clear blue waters that make residents grow old. No, the plant-based diet, lots of exercise and strong ties with family members are also necessary for a long life. The inhabitants hunt, fish and harvest their own food. They laugh and drink wine together. The largest concentration of centenarians lives in Ogliastra. Because this area of Sardinia is quite isolated, the genes have remained very intact.
Nicoya, Costa Rica – This Caribbean region near South America has everything in order when it comes to the economy and health care. The peninsula is located 130 kilometers from Nicaragua. Under the motto ‘Plan de vida’ or ‘reason for living’, elderly people are helped to stay active. In addition, listening and laughing are central to the family. The inhabitants regularly visit their neighbors and the elderly often live with children or grandchildren. They also eat a relatively large amount of beans, pumpkin, corn and tropical fruit. Sufficient exercise and spirituality ensure a healthy population here as well.
It seems that a combination of a plant-based diet, exercise, social contact and spirituality will keep you young for a long time. And ultimately bring you to a long and healthy life.
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