Now we know what the 9 habits are to living longer lives, it’s time to get to know the 5 places where the habits actually were discovered by Dan Buettner and his team. They called it the Blue Zones. In Dan’s book ‘9 lessons for living longer’ he summarized the lessons from every zone: Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California), Nicoya (Costa Rica) and Ikaria (Greece).
#1 Sardinia, Italy
The lessons you can learn from the people from Sardinia are:
- Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat;
- Put family first;
- Drink goat’s milk;
- Celebrate elders – grandparents can provide love, childcare, financial help, wisdom, and push children to succeed in their lives;
- Take a walk – walking 5 miles a day or more as Sardanian shepherds do provides all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect;
- Drink a glass or two of red wine daily;
- Laugh with friends.
#2 Okinawa, Japan
The lessons you can learn from Okinawan people are:
- Embrace an ikigai – knowing why you get up in the morning;
- Rely on a plant-based diet;
- Get gardening;
- Eat more soy – like tofu and miso soup;
- Maintain a moai – a group of friends for secure social networks, financial and emotional support. Knowing there is always someone there for you;
- Enjoy the sunshine;
- Stay active;
- Plant a medicinal garden – mugwort, ginger and turmeric are all staples of an Okinawan garden;
- Have an additude – let your difficult early years remain in the past while enjoying today’s simple pleasures.
# 3 Loma Linda, California
The lessons you can learn from Adventists are:
- Find a sanctuary in time – a weekly break from daily life, the 24-hour Sabbath provides a time to focus on family, God, camaraderie, and nature. Adventists claim this relieves their stress, strengthens social networks, and provides consistent exercise;
- Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI);
- Get regular, moderate exercise;
- Spend time with like-minded friends;
- Snack on nuts;
- Give something back;
- Eat meat in moderation;
- Eat an early, light dinner – eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper;
- Put more plants in your diet;
- Drink pleanty of water.
(Loma Linda means ‘Lovely Hill’)
#4 Nicoya, Costa Rica
The lessons you can learn from people from Nicoya are:
- Have a plan de vida – have a strong sense of purpose;
- Drink hard water – with a high calcium content;
- Keep a focus on family;
- Eat a light dinner;
- Maintain social networks – listen, love and appreciate what you have;
- Keep hard at work;
- Get some sensible sun – about 15 minutes on the legs and arms;
- Embrace a common history.
#5 Ikaria, Greece
The lessons you can learn from people from Ikaria are:
- Drink some goat’s milk;
- Mimic mountain living;
- Eat a Mediterranean-style diet – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes and olive oil;
- Stock up on herbal – The key is to drink herbal teas every day and rotate varieties;
- Fast occasionally – Ikarians have traditionally been fierce Greek Orthodox Christians and they fast almost half of the year: caloric restriction – a type of fasting that cuts about 30% of calories out of the normal diet;
- Make family and friends a priority.
If you would like to read more about the 5 Zones, I can strongly recommend you to read Dan Buettner’s books.
I wish you all a lovely week!
(Pictures: Blue Zones Instagram)