Posted on Jan 23, 2019, 2 p.m.
People are living longer healthier lives than ever before around the globe, which is evident in the number of centenarians; in 1840 there were 90 in the USA, that’s 1 for every 189,000 people but now there are more than 53,000 which is 1 for every 5,800 people.
Centenarians are people that are living into their 100s. According to the United States Census bureau records the numbers of these longevity warriors are skyrocketing, yet we don’t necessarily know how they are doing it.
National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner suggests that there are longevity hot spots where people tend to live longer, which he has dubbed as blue zones after a decade of locating and documenting centenarians.
Interested in the mysteries of the human condition his research has found several factors that may prolong life for those residing in this blue zones that he has penned two books about. We’ve listed a few points and tips from some of the longevity warriors he wrote about in blue zones.
Naps and herbal tea in Ikaris, Greece: Those residing in this blue zone are 3 times as likely to reach 90+ than those residing in the USA; where living to nonagenarian status may be more likely with the bonus shut eye time. Among 90% of the elders how nap regularly in the middle of the day none of them exhibit any symptoms of depression, while non-nappers do, according to a 2011 study. Another study examining sleeping behaviors of all Greeks found those who nap for at least 30 minutes a day had 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Longevity warriors here also regularly drink herbal teas which include wild mint, rosemary, and artemisia.
Positive relationships in Okinawa, Japan: Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world of 83 on average according to W.H.O, and are roughly 3 times as likely to reach 100 than Americans. This is attributed to maintaining close ties and social networks keeping them longer with a grounded sense of purpose seen in all 5 blue zones. Residents here stay true to traditional culture which emphasis lifelong moais that provide emotional and social support.
Eating the rainbow in Loma Linda, California: Here the proportion of those 85+ is more than double the rest of the state, with roughly 4 in 10 are 7th day Adventists whose adherents live longer than any other religious group in the USA endorsing healthy living by avoiding smoking, and alcohol while promoting activity and exercise. NIH examined eating habits of 73,000 Adventists from across Canada and the USA and found the vegetarians in the group were 12% less likely to die of diabetes, CVD, and renal disorders combined. Another study found they live 4 years longer concluding those who ate nuts, green salads, fruit, cereal, and polyunsaturated fats were associated with reduced mortality rates.
Tropical fruit juice in Nicoya, Costa Rica: In this blue zone a man at the age of 60 has twice the chance of hitting 90 as a man living in the USA, France, or Japan which may have a lot to do with their diet and eating habits. The biggest meal of the day is typically in the morning with the smallest being at night. Blue zone residents eat a lot of food, but their foods are less calorie dense. In Nicoya large quantities of antioxidant low calorie tropical fruit are main staples such as oranges, lemons, and bananas. Studies have shown an association between risk of cancer in diets rich in vitamin C, but studies with vitamin C alone have produced mixed results.
Taking time to walk and enjoy in Sardinia, Italy: In addition to the large number of centenarians in this blue zone residents here have a high population of sheep herding and farming communities full of those who have/had regularly walk up to 5 mile a day across rugged terrain to do their duties. Daily trips to the grocery store to carry foot are also on foot in which climbing stairs in each direction, as well as in their multi-story homes provides more exercises. Studies continue to show the benefits of regular activity and exercise, which is clearly evident in these blue zones, but especially here.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.