Secrets of People Living Healthy at 100
Dan Buettner and Nicoya Centenarian
What and Where are Blue Zones
There's been a lot of buzz about a book titled The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest . http://www.bluezones.com/
I got a chance to read this book because I was already familiar with an article the author, Dan Buettner, had written in a November 2005 edition of the National Geographic magazine. His research was based on various geographic locations where the highest population of people lived to be 100 years old (centenarians) or older, and in addition, lived vigorous productive lives.
The blue zones are located in:
1. Nicoya, Costa Rica
2. Loma Linda, California
3. Sardinia, Italy
4. Okinawa, Japan
Active at 107
Red Wine & Plant-based Emals
Blue Zone Secrets
There were several factors compiled from these blue zone areas that contributed to having the highest population of centenarians. The healthy factors listed below come naturally, like habits, for these centenarians. What's great about these helpful suggestions for a longer life is they are not a diet or a fad- they are convincing evidence for a healthy lifestyle at a ripe old age. These blue zones have some common principles that you can recreate in your own life:
1. Stop eating before you are full- It's called the 80% rule in Buettner's book (eat until you are 80% full). Take time to eat your meals for your fullness to register and stop eating for at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds.
2. Plant-based diet. This is nothing too surprising- eat more veggies, less protein and processed foods. Protein takes days for your system to effectively digest. Whey protein powder or complex proteins like beans and nuts are the healthiest choice- and have fiber (even more benefit). Processed foods are unquestionably, and obviously, linked to obesity. The folks residing in blue zone areas eat no processed foods.
3. Red Wine/ Alcohol- I didn't know this before reading the book, but alcohol in other forms besides wine is just as beneficial- According to the book, alcohol is 90% of the benefit, the resveratrol in red wine is the other 10% benefit. Alcohol in moderation (one or two servings a day) is deemed ok and beneficial for ones health. Of course there are some factors and health issues where regular alcohol consumption is not ok- check with your doc).
4. Have a clear purpose for your life. Something interesting in the book was most of the blue zone areas did not have a word for retirement. Many of the centenarians were still working, though not stressed, but still productive. If you do look forward to retirement, have a plan and a purpose for life after work.
5. Belief in a higher power- Spiritual and religious participation. This also coincides with a healthy social network, those that have like-minded support for your lifestyle.
6. Rest when needed and never overdo yourself at work- take vacations often. Wouldn't this be nice, but honestly if you make it a priority then it can be accomplished.
7. Active Lifestyle-Don't use a remote for every gadget you own, use the stairs, chop veggies instead of buying pre-packaged. Realistically, the average American does not enage in the everyday exercise reccommended. Incorporating movement into your life in other ways can help fulfill the benefit of exercise.
8. Make family a priority- Family is your own personal community. Americans tend to not live in mulit-family households, but most of the centenarian communities do. They all have a purpose in the family dynamic.
A Closer Look at Blue Zone Lifestyles
In Okinawa, Japan they regularly practice calorie reduction and live by the rule of eating until 80% full. They are also very involved in their community and family life. They believe it is crucial to de-stress and have a purpose in life. Those in Nacoya, Costa Rica are also very involved in their family and eat a variety of plant-based foods while getting an impressive amount of exercise naturally every day. They eat a large breakfast and eat small portions later in the day as well as go for walks often and tend to their land and crops. In Sardinia, Italy they indulge in red wine (Sardinian Wine) with their breakfast, and snack on dark chocolate, and whole grain bread with cheeses containing a significant amount of Omega fats. They too have a plant-based diet rich in tomatoes (lycopene) especially. In Loma Linda, California resides the highest population of Seventh Day Adventists. They are very involved in their community and dedicate one full day a week (Friday pm to Saturday pm) to spending time with their family and doing relaxing activities. They also eat a lot of nuts and beans and no packaged foods or caffeine.
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