- The “Blue Zone” includes five regions around the world; the people there are living healthier, happier, and longer lives.
- By adopting the blue zone lifestyle habits and diet the average person’s life expectancy could increase by 10-12 years.
According to the study carried out by Dan Buettner, the Blue Zones are some regions in the world that are home to the highest number of centenarians than anywhere else in the world. And there’s a lot we can learn from their inhabitants, let’s find out.
What Are Blue Zones?
Blue Zones are geographic regions that share longevity-promoting lifestyle habits. There are five major culturally diverse Blue Zones; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California, USA.
It’s not surprising for the people in the blue zone regions to blow out the candles at 100 years old, and the lifespan here is 10 times wider than in the United States.
These inhabitants reach this impressive age without developing chronic diseases like heart disease – which is the most common health condition in old age according to WHO.
What Is A Blue Zone Lifestyle?
The Danish Twin Study discovered in 1996 that your genes only determine about 20% of how long you live. This means that your lifestyle habits and diet are the most important factors that experts believe are responsible for healthier living and long-term survival.
There are most likely more unidentified Blue Zones in the world, but the Blue zone lifestyle habits have been carefully examined. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to live in a Blue Zone, so how can we recreate the longevity lifestyle?
Here’s why the world’s oldest people, in Blue Zones, live longer and health lessons from Blue Zones that you need to adopt in your daily lives:
5 Principles Of The Blue Zone Lifestyle
1. Build An Active Lifestyle
Physical activity is a daily part of the Blue Zone Lifestyle. They incorporate activities like gardening, walking, and cooking. Research on men living in the Blue Zone of Sardinia discovered activities like living on steep slopes, raising farm animals, and walking long distances are associated with living longer.
2. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep and adequate rest during the day are very important for living a long and healthy life. In certain Blue Zones, like Icaria and Sardinia, napping during the daytime is a common phenomenon.
3. Discover A Sense Of Purpose
In the Blue Zone lifestyle, people have a sense of purpose, which is linked to living longer life. In Okinawa, Japan; that concept is referred to as “Ikigai” which means ‘reason for being’ and “Plan de Vida” meaning “the plan of life” in Nicoya.
Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is inextricably linked to happiness. Research supports that having a sense of purpose or a positive outlook on life can influence how long you live.
4. Manage And Relieve Stress
Too much stress is bad for physical and mental health. The Blue Zone Lifestyle doesn’t mean life is stress-free, however, they have specific stress-relieving routines that help them manage their stress levels.
For instance, people in Okinawa take time every day to remember their ancestors, the Adventists in Loma Linda pray often, Ikarians take frequent naps, and Sardinians partake in wine at 5.
5. Establish A Meaningful Relationship With Yourself And Others
Although lifestyles vary in each of the Blue Zone communities, the majority of regions are committed to each other and have social support which gives them a sense of community and belonging.
Family members are often close to one another. The younger generations respect older generations and often live with older family members to take care of them. All these bring about an internal sense of well-being and happiness.
The Blue Zone Diets: A Guide On Eating For Health And Longevity
• Whole Plant Diet
Blue Zone residents share a common diet; they eat a 95% plant-based diet. Most centenarian diets are based on whole grains such as beans and lentils. Although they are not strictly vegetarians, they eat meat about five times per month.
• Enjoy Happy Hour
One common Blue Zone Lifestyle is to frequently consume alcohol as part of an active social life. While this is not an excuse to binge drink, enjoying one or two glasses of wine with dinner and friends may be beneficial.
• Follow The 80% Full Rule
Blue Zone Lifestyle has a common practice; they don’t overeat. Okinawans follow the 80% rule, which is known as “Hara Hachi Bu.” It roughly translates to eating when you feel 80% full, rather than 100% full.
Dan Buettner and his team of researchers discovered that these blue zone lifestyle habits are linked to living longer, so incorporating them into your daily routine may help you to live over 90.
- Buettner, D. (2012). The blue zones: 9 lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest. National Geographic Books.
- Bertelsen, A., Harvald, B., & Hauge, M. (1977). A Danish twin study of manic-depressive disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 130(4), 330-351.