Living to 100+: Journey to the Blue Zones

Author: AB Staff

Living to 100+: Journey to the Blue Zones

Editor's Pick Wellness

Have you ever thought about why people that live in blue zones typically live longer than everyone else on Earth? There are currently five blue zones that exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years is common. And they aren’t only living longer either, they are also living a healthier life without disability or having to take any medication.

How is this possible? To start out, most people that live in these blue zones have social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors, they take time to de-stress, they’re often part of religious communities, they’re very committed to their families, and they move their bodies a lot. Recently however, researches have conducted that the main reason why these people are living longer is strictly due to their diets. As a result, these communities have much less afflictions like heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

Each Blue Zone’s Specific Diet

Ikaria Greece- Health researchers have long praised the Mediterranean diet for promoting brain and physical health and keeping chronic diseases at a minimum. They believe that one of the reasons why people live so long in this region is because of their tradition of preparing the right foods. They have an emphasis on potatoes, goat’s milk, honey, legumes (especially garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils), wild greens, some fruit and relatively small amounts of fish.

Okinawa, Japan- Some people call Okinawa the Hawaii of Japan because of their laid back vibe, beautiful beaches, and amazing weather. Okinawa also happens to have one of the highest centenarian ratios in the world: About 6.5 in 10,000 people live to 100 (compare that with 1.73 in 10,000 in the U.S.) They focus their diet strictly on eating fewer healthful staples like seaweed, turmeric and sweet potato and more rice, milk and meat. They also eat a lot of bitter melons, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea and shitake mushrooms.

Sardinia, Italy- Sardinia is a beautiful island in Italy where the ratio of centenarian women to man is one to one, compared to the U.S. where the ratio is five to one. Researches state that the main reason why people on this island live to see 100 is because of pastoralism, or shepherding livestock from the mountains to the plains. These ancient Sardinian shepherds are mainly eating goat milk and sheep’s cheese. To go alone with this, they also eat a moderate amount of carbs such as flat bread and sourdough break. The balance between these two food groups makes up a majority of their diet.

Loma Linda, California- Many people are usually surprised when they find out that there is a blue zone located in the United States. The members of this blue zone avoid smoking, drinking and dancing and avoid TV, movies and other media distractions. Their biblical diet focuses mainly on grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. They also only drink water and are completely against sugar unless it’s from a natural source such as fruits, dates, or figs.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica- The main diet of the Nicoya diet relies heavy on three main agricultural foods: beans, corn, and squash. Almost everyone that lives in this community eats all three of these foods with every meal they eat. Along with these three foods, they also eat a lot of papayas, yams, bananas, and peach palms.

Although it’s not easy to emulate the life of people living in Blue Zones if you live in the United States and are constantly are tempted with foods such as bacon and sweets, there are many simple ways that you can live more like these isolated tribes of exceptional health. You can start by cutting down on foods that are high in sugar and cholesterol, and start making your diet more similar to the diet of people that are living in blue zones eat. For recipes from the Blue Zones with the ingredients above, check out the web site.