Health & Wellness

In Focus: Why People Living In 'Blue Zone' Regions Live Up To A Hundred Years

In Focus: Why People Living In 'Blue Zone' Regions Live Up To A Hundred Years

In this day and age, to live a long life is considered a luxury. We splurge on treatments that slow down aging, pay more for healthy and organic food that promise better nutrition, and allocate much of our time to exercise and meditate to de-stress—all of which lead to improved health and a longer life. However, there are a handful of places called “Blue Zones,” where its people don’t necessarily do any of these extra things, but still get to live up to a hundred years or more! These are places such as Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, and Icaria in Greece, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California. As curious as this may get anybody, we look at some of the reasons why people in these countries live longer lives.

Eating a balanced diet

Those who live in Blue Zone areas consume mostly vegetables, but aren’t necessarily vegetarians. For instance, those who reside in Icaria, Greece consume mostly homegrown vegetables with olive oil and red wine, Meanwhile in Okinawa, Japan, soy based foods are a staple. Studies show that diets in Blue Zone countries are also rich in legumes, whole grains, nuts, and sometimes fish.

They get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is more important that we think. Those who sleep too little or too much tend to have higher risk of death. In Blue Zone countries, people get around seven hours of sleep, or just as much as the body needs. Taking naps during the day or “siestas” is another common factor in these countries, but they limit their naps to about 30 minutes for maximum benefits. These habits reduce the risk of heart problems.

Having a purpose in life

In Japan, they call this ikigai, while Costa Ricans call this plan de vida. Despite having different cultures, both countries have the same values to live life with purpose. The simplest way to explain this is when one looks forward to waking up each day to do something they love, and this could be as simple as seeing your loved ones. Having a purpose in life equals to a longer life, due to psychological well-being.

Exercise as part of their everyday lives

We know that exercise is key to a healthier lifestyle, but those who live in Blue Zone regions do not purposely go to the gym to exercise or train for a marathon. Instead, exercise is incorporated into their daily lives - like walking long distances on mountain slopes, or doing chores like farming, raising animals, and cooking. But in countries like Japan, meditative exercises like tai chi is part of their culture, which also aids in longevity.

They drink alcohol in moderation

Another common factor between those who live in Blue Zone regions would be the consumption of alcohol. Italians in Sardinia and Greeks in Icaria drink red wine in moderation, meaning one to two glasses per day. This is said to reduce the risk of getting heart disease, thanks to the antioxidants in grapes. Red wine also lowers blood pressure and leads to improved sleep quality.

Having healthy relationships and spirituality

Those who have good relationships tend to live longer because of the support they get from friends and family, as this also prevents one from being depressed. Furthermore, a lot of elderly people in Blue Zones live with their families, and those who took care of their grandchildren tend to have longer lives.

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Photos taken from Unsplash.com, Pexels.com

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