Learn About the Blue Zones of the World and the Lifestyles of the Centenarians who Live There: Livingto100.Club
Blue Zones are geographic areas around the world where people have lower rates of chronic disease and are home to some of the world’s oldest people. These five geographic areas stood out on a world map when research scientists were plotting locations where there were extremely high rates of centenarians. The researchers, Dan Buettner and his colleagues, have identified traits and lifestyle factors that are common to the oldest of the old living in these Blue Zones. Although there may be other such areas as yet unidentified, the Blue Zones thus far include the Greek island Ikaria; Okinawa, Japan; the Ogliastra Region of Sardinia; Loma Linda in southern California; and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
Is your lifestyle consistent with those traits shown to be common to longevity? Surprisingly, research published in 2016 on the topic of longevity is showing that genetics probably accounts for only 25 to 30% of a long life, while a whopping 70 to 75% is decided by lifestyle. This suggests, of course, that we have more control over our life span than previously thought and that modifying our diet and lifestyle will promote successful aging, and needless to say, makes us members of the Living to 100 Club.
Lifestyle Factors Common to the Centenarians Living in the Blue Zones
- Move their bodies a lot – walking, chores, gardening, moving naturally and often
- Alcohol in moderation - drink alcohol moderately (maximum of 1-2 drinks/day)
- Social circles – social engagement, healthy social circle and network; social roles, family and neighbor connections; religious and spiritual or not, belonging to some community
- De-stress – having a lifelong purpose, devoting oneself to passion or a duty; stress reducing activities and lifestyle; positive outlook on their future and connected to their future
- Committed to families and friends – especially those who support healthy lifestyles
- Diet – diets composed of whole-plant foods: vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts; eat meat rarely (3-4 oz, and no more than 5x a month); grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables; no refined sugar; beans, corn, and squash; honey, wild greens; brown rice
- Enough sleep – 7 hours per night and occasional napping during the day
Collection of Books and Resources on Diet and Lifestyle
There’s a phrase dating back to the 16th century, Forewarned is forearmed and another from the same time period, A word to the wise is enough. These phrases seem to have the same connotation: be alert to the facts staring at us. Let’s learn more from what the experts are telling us about living longer and make a decision to push back against the tide.
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