“No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us, and new beauty waiting to be born.” -Dale E. Turner
What would it mean to you to live to be a hundred? In 2004, the world’s best longevity researchers set out to explore the places around the world where people lived extraordinarily long and healthy lives. Coined “Blue Zones—,” these longevity hot-spots are home to larger populations of centenarians than anywhere else. On average, Blue Zone residents reach age 100 at rates ten times greater than people living in the United States.
The most famous and well-studied Blue Zone area in the world is Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is not only home to the world’s longest recorded life expectancies, but also to the world’s healthiest documented elders, and to the highest concentration of verified centenarians in the world. Studies show that Okinawan residents’ low-calorie plant-based diets undoubtedly play a key role in the health they have attained. Other Blue Zone communities around the globe include Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, California and Nicoya, Costa Rica.
“By improving their lifestyle, people can look and feel better at every age and add twelve years to their life expectancy. Something called the Danish Twin Studies established that less than 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words, most of how long and how well you live is up to you…-” states bluezones.com.
So how can you age successfully? There are nine common characteristics that Blue Zone residents share, which can assist you in living a long and healthy life. Belong to faith–based communities and social circles where healthy behaviors are supported. Have a strong sense of family and lead a purpose-driven life. Practice routines such as prayer, meditation and yoga to deal with stress. Follow the eighty percent rule – also known as eating until you are eighty percent full- which aids in digestion and weight maintenance. Consume lots of beans, drink wine in moderation, and eat your smallest and last meal of the day in the early evening.
Lastly, be very active—whether you are gardening, walking, doing housework or playing with your grandchildren. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.”
To your health!
Autumn @ pacificnorthwesthealth.com