Explanation of Blue Zones
What is a Blue Zone?
Regions across the globe where longevity of lifespans is most common, and the area's inhabitants typically reach 100 years old are known as Blue Zones. This significantly higher longevity is substantial compared to the average lifespan; as reported by the CDC, this is only 77 years old in the United States. Worldwide, there are currently 5 Blue Zones.
Where are these Blue Zones?
Blue Zones can be found at:
- Okinawa, Japan: Life expectancy amongst women is the highest here in the world
- Ikaria, Greece: Typical chronic health conditions are much more uncommon within the community of the miniature island
- Loma Linda, California: Life expectancy here surpasses the average American lifespan by a decade - this community is prominently Seventh-day Adventist.
- Sardinia, Italy: Life expectancy amongst men is the highest here in the world
- Nicoya, Costa Rica: The residents here have over double the likelihood of living to 90 years old compared to US residents
What are the values of Blue Zone living?
According to the team of Buettner, nine health-promoting principles, known as the Power 9, are the foundation of what constitutes a Blue Zone lifestyle:
- Understanding and striving toward your sense of meaning
- Incorporating consistent physical activity as a healthy habit
- Managing food consumption - eating until you're roughly 80% satiated
- Diligence toward stress management
- Maintaining a primarily vegan/vegetarian diet
- Engaging with the community and local activities
- Monitoring alcohol consumptions
- Fostering healthy bonds that support personal wellness
- Prioritizing family connections, either biological or chosen loved ones
If I don't live in a Blue Zone, how can I incorporate their lifestyle habits into my own?
Here are various beginner tips for living a Blue Zone lifestyle that is easy to incorporate into your lifestyle:
- Find a partner to join you in hobbies or events that promote health and wellness
- Try physical activity outdoors for its therapeutic benefits, such as hiking, bicycling, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Stretch throughout the day, setting reminders if necessary
- Pay attention to your mental health - try journaling or confiding with a loved one when dealing with personal problems
- Ensure you get enough good quality sleep; set a sleep schedule. Avoid caffeine consumption and electronic use shortly before bedtime.
- Ensure you spend enough quality time with loved ones
- Try brain-stimulating games, such as sudoku, jigsaw, crossword, word searches, etc.
- Take on charity or volunteer work - participate in food bank donations, community trash cleanup, volunteer veterinary, child or elderly care, etc.
Blue Zone Diet Guideline
- Opt for plant-based foods as the bulk of your diet, at least 95%, if not 100%. This can be a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, grains, and grains.
- Get a daily recommended intake of cooked beans, half a cup minimum.
- Ditch refined grains and opt for whole-grain varieties like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Save the occasional meat intake for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays. You can consume small amounts, but it is optional.
- When consuming fish, opt for a "3 by 3 rule": 3 ounces of fish three times a week at most. Anchovies, sardines, and cod are healthy options.