It isn't how you live, it's the country that you live in. So if you're looking to spend more time on this planet, best you pack up and head to a 'Blue Zone'.
If you live in a ‘Blue Zone' you will live longer. FACT.
Over a decade ago, author and explorer Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic on a quest to identify the pockets of the globe where people lived longer. The result of this mission is the must-read ‘Blue Zones', which lists the top five areas in which locals reached the age of 100 at a rate ten times greater than those in the United States.
Here are some of the Blue Zones:
In Greece, just over 50km off the Turkish Coast, an island called Ikaria has a population three times more likely to reach the age of 90 than Americans are. Some of the factors researchers credit to this include the central mineral hot springs, active lifestyle of civilians and the Mediterranean diet they follow, which is rich in greens.
Nicoya, Costa Rica
Buettner's research into the Central American country of Costa Rica found that middle-aged men living in the inland community of Nicoya were twice as likely to live to 90 than their United States neighbours. High on their lifestyle list of priorities were eight hours of sleep, outdoor living and a diet rich in fruit, beans, corn and rice, which not only saw them live much longer but also caused their cancer rates to come in as some of the lowest.
The world's highest prevalence of proven centenarians is in Okinawa, Japan where the senior citizens enjoy greater health right through their lives, suffering very few age-related ailments at all. The Blue Zone points out that this may be due to a combination of avid gardening and exposure to sunlight and a strong view of eating "until you are 80% full", rather than until you are 100 per cent stuffed!
Sardinia in Italy was found to boast a population of farmers and shepherds who were in particularly robust health for longer than most, with five centenarians living in one area of 1,700 people alone. The Mediterranean diet they follow is once again credited in part for their longevity as is their active, outdoor lifestyle, positive humour and abundant goats milk and cheese – fresh from the source!
You may be surprised to know that California also fell into a Blue Zone. The town of Loma Linda in San Bernadino county is inhabited by 9,000 Seventh Day Adventists who – generally – live significantly longer than other Americans. The findings point to their anti-drinking and smoking beliefs, as well as their vegetarian diet, healthy weight maintenance and emotional and spiritual health as strong contributing factors.