All over the world, different cultures and communities have their own way of living, but did you know that they are specific zones that outlive the rest of the world? If you don’t know about the Blue Zones, you’ll definitely want to know these longest-living communities and their secret to a long, healthy life.
What are Blue Zones?
Based on the quest and research by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer and author, he deemed five zones in the world as ‘Blue Zones’. Blue Zones refer to the five regions in the world in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S. that have been identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians, i.e. longest living people, in the world. These five regions are Icaria (Greece), Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), and The Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California (USA). Through external factors like body movement and specifically their diets, these areas of the world are looked toward as the ultimate health gurus to live long, healthy lives.
What is the Blue Zone Diet?
While the five regions have varying food preferences, native ingredients, and types of food, the one uniting factor between all five of these regions is that those who live there primarily eat a 95% plant-based diet. All the Blue Zone diets are rich in legumes, whole grains, vegetables and nuts, which all help extend one’s longevity and reduce the risk of disease and death.
Other practices among these groups include fasting and eating in a calorie deficit. In Okinawa, Japan, there is a saying called “ hara hachi bu”, which means eating until only 80% full. In the Icarian community, those that are majority Greek Orthodox Christians tend to fast throughout the year for different religious holidays.
Surprisingly enough, alcohol is not entirely banned from these zones. Across the board, all of these zones consume alcohol in moderate consumption. Despite various studies, there is no hard evidence of alcohol extending one’s life. In the Icarian and Sardinian Blue Zones, consuming one to two glasses of red wine per day is common among their daily diet.
Apart from eating a plant-rich diet, all these areas have natural daily movement. Whether it’s walking to the grocery store or raising farm animals, these communities forego long sessions at the gym and instead, walk longer distances and incorporate more active activities in their day to day.
Apart from their exercise and diet, Blue Zones populations focus on getting enough sleep, often incorporating naps into their sleep schedule. Blue Zones also tend to be religious or spiritual, focus on having a purposeful life, older relatives living with younger relatives, and a healthy social network. Wellness and health is multifaceted with various important factors flooding into one’s longevity and long-term health.
By incorporating the diet and lifestyle of those communities in the Blue Zone, you’ll be able to reflect those with the longest living and healthiest way of life to extend your life a bit longer.