Want to live a long life? Consider living in Blue Zones. These are regions in the world where people live a lot longer than average. There are five identified Blue Zones according to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow and awarded journalist. They are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Loma Linda in California, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Icaria in Greece. What their secret? Well, it isn't one thing. Buettner notes that all five regions have nine things in common. We spill all the details below.
People in these regions move constantly but naturally. They do things manually, rather than resorting to machines to make things easier for them. They don’t go to the gym but do a lot of exercise through everyday activities, such as gardening.
Have a purpose
Why do you wake up in the morning? Knowing your purpose, even at least for the day, is said to help your quality of living, especially mentally. In fact, two of the regions (Okinawa and Nicoya), have a term for this in their culture: ikigai and plan de vida.
Everyone experiences stress, which can lead to a lot of diseases and complications. What we can do, and what people in these Blue Zones do, is have routines that help them cope with stress. They pray, meditate, and have different activities that allow them to be mindful and evaluate their day.
The 80 per cent Rule
Eat only until you are 80 per cent full. A lot of people eat until they are stuffed and bloated when in reality, we have a gut feeling to help tell us when to stop. According to Buettner, “The 20 per cent gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.”
The plant slant
Most of these five regions have a diet that is almost entirely plant-based. Although they do eat meat, they have it only about five times a month. They also serve it in much smaller sizes of about 85 to 113 grams.
Moderate alcohol drinkers actually outlive non-drinkers. Almost all the regions, except one (the seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda, California) drink moderately and regularly. A good one to two glasses of wine a day while eating food is said to be good for you.
Almost all of those who live very long are part of a faith-based community. According to research, attending services about four times per month (of any religion) will add four to 14 years to your life. Alternatively, you can find communities where you can feel a sense of belongingness.
Loved ones first
Putting your loved ones first is also something that all five regions do in common. They mostly have one partner in their whole life, and invest a lot of time with their kids. This then helps later on when they grow older, as this makes it more probable that their kids take care of them instead of sending them away.
For more lifestyle positivity, check this amazing philosophy next!
The right tribe
A lot of things are contagious, such as smoking, obesity and even loneliness. Finding the right group of people, who support you, and also has the same healthy lifestyle as you, helps make it easier to maintain a healthy way of living and coping.
All in all, a lot of things can still affect how long we live. There are genetics, accidents, and more. However, we must keep in mind that a healthy outlook and lifestyle will not only affect the quality of our lives later on but also today. So why not start now?