The blue zones

6 June 2016

The Blue Zones

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The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner talks about the author’s research in different places who have people who live into very long years of their life in a few areas of the world who claim to have the highest number of the oldest people. Blue Zone is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives, as Dan Buettner describes in his book. The concept had its work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, who identified Sardinia’s Nuoro province as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians. As the two men closed in on the group of villages with the highest longevity, they drew concentric blue circles on the map and began referring to the area inside the circle as the Blue Zone.

Buettner identifies longevity spots in Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and among the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, and talks about how and what they do, based on data and first hand observations, as to why these populations live healthier and longer lives. Examples of communities with centenarians that we read about include the Barbagia region of Sardinia, Okinawa, and Loma Linda, California. A long healthy life isn’t something that just happens or is definitely not some accident. It starts off with good genes, but it also depends on good habits you do for yourself. If you decide to live the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to about ten years longer.

That’s a great deal longer to live. So what’s the key for long successful life? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner had lead teams of researchers across the world to find out the secrets of Blue Zones, geographic regions where lots of centenarians are enjoying very long and happy lives. The three of the five regions identified and talked about by Buettner in the book Blue Zones: Sardinia, Italy (specifically Nuoro province and Ogliastra): one team of demographers found an area of longevity in mountain villages where men reach the age of 100 years at an amazing rate. It is so fascinating to read about people who at the age of 75 years old are climbing mountains and doing all of this physical activity with no problem.

The Sardinians have a very strong value in family which makes them all take care of one another. Because of their strong family values they tend to suffer from less depression, stress, and suicide. They all are also big on humor, which also reduces stress and can lower and risk for cardiovascular disease. As far as their diet they like to consume goat’s milk, which has ingredients that can help protect against various diseases of aging. They also drink a glass or two of red wine daily. This is shown to help lower the levels of stress. In The islands of Okinawa, Japan: another team took a look at a group that is part of the longest-lived people on Earth. Okinawans like to keep strong social connections with one another. One way of doing this is by gathering of a moai. They maintain good social groups where they know that there are people out there for them when needed; to provide support and lots of stress relief. When it comes to their diet they stick to a mainly plant- based diet and eat many foods that are high in soy, such as tofu and miso soup.

This offers some nutritional benefits as well as protecting the heart and can aid in fighting against breast cancer. They are also very big on physical activity by gardening and spending time outside, not only for the exercise but to also get some vitamin D to help promote stronger bones and healthier bodies. In Loma Linda, California: researchers studied a group of Seventh-day Adventists who were ranked among North America’s longevity. Just as the other two groups they are very big on regular exercise. Even just a walk or two a day is only what it takes. As for their diets they also watch what they eat. They also focus on more plants in their diet. They only eat meat in moderation and not all the time. They also like to spend time with others and try to focus on others by helping them. This helps them keep away from stress on themselves to help focus themselves on others rather than themselves.

In the Blue Zones, people thrive in places where walking is the main or preferred way of transportation. In addition, the most important characteristics of centenarians include a daily routine of exercise, food gathering, living with or in a close distance of family, and have a definitive purpose in life. People tend to have important membership ties to a family, church organization, or both. A number of centenarians nap each day as part of their routine. The centenarians have lower levels of stress in their lives which can be due to the hard work which helps them burn off whatever stress they may get throughout the day or week. The Blue Zones has profound implications for future generations of people. In addition, the book gives important health tips that could not only lower the cost of health care throughout the world, but also making our lives longer lasting by simply eating better, finding a productive purpose in life, and exercising as a part of the daily routine.

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