blue zones

Blue Zones: Health Habits From The Healthiest Regions

Blue Zones: Health habits from the healthiest regions

I first heard of Dan Buettner and his Blue Zones project at the Organic Produce Summit in Monterey California this past July. He was a key note speaker and the moment he walked on stage his presentation captivated me. Who doesn’t want tips on how to live a longer, healthier life?

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer, has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in what he has coined The Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives.

The Blue Zones gives you advice on how to live to be 100 years and older by looking at 5 spots across the planet where people live the longest. He draws lessons about what they eat and drink, how they exercise and which habits most shape their lives.

The best part? Potatoes are part of the Blue Zone eating habits – music to my ears!

Blue Zones regions are Ikaria, an island in Greece; Okinawa, an island in Japan; the Barbagia region of Sardinia (Italy); Loma Linda, a small city in California, and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

So here you have Dan’s Nine Lessons from studying the lifestyles of the Blue Zone regions:

1. Move Naturally. Moving naturally throughout the day — walking, gardening, doing housework — is a core part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

2. Purpose. The Okinawans call it ikigai and the Nicoyans call it plan de vida. Knowing why you wake up in the morning makes you healthier, happier, and adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3. Down Shift. Stress is part of life, but Blue Zones centenarians have stress-relieving rituals built into their daily routines. Adventists pray, Ikarians nap, and Sardinians do happy hour.

4. 80% Rule. People in Blue Zones areas stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full and eat their smallest meal in the early evening.

5. Plant Slant. Beans are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains round out the rest of the diet and meat is eaten in small amounts.

6. Wine @ 5. Moderate but regular consumption of wine (with friends and/or food) is part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

7. Belong. Being part of a faith-based community adds four to 14 years to life expectancy.

8. Loved Ones First. Having close and strong family connections (with spouses, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren) is common with Blue Zones centenarians.

9. Right Tribe. The world’s longest lived people have close friends and strong social networks.

For more information visit the Blue Zone website or follow them on social media!

By Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director