Do you want to live to 100?
The better question is, “Do you want to live to 100…healthfully and with good quality?”
If you answered yes, then take a lesson from research done on Blue Zones, areas around the world where people are ten times more likely to live to the age of 100. Demographers Gianni Pes and Michael Poulain identified five geographic areas around the world where, statistically, people are living the longest.
– Okinawa, Japan
– Sardinia, Italy
– Nicoya, Costa Rica
– Ikaria, Greece
– Loma Linda, California; specifically among the Seventh Day Adventists
Although these longevity hotspots are far from one another, they share the following lifestyle and environmental characteristics.
Family – Grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles come first. Family is put ahead of other concerns and is the primary support system through life.
Life purpose – A reason to get up in the morning be it work, volunteering, caring for family, or achieving a personal goal. In Japan, this is known as ikigai.
Moderate alcohol intake and minimal to no smoking – We’ve long heard about the health benefits of moderate drinking and not smoking. Blue Zones take this to heart and have given credence to the claim.
Semi-vegetarianism – Diets consist of mostly plants and include lots of legumes. Well-known and highly respected American author Michael Pollan’s mantra fits right in here: Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.
Hara Hachi Bu – Eating to 80% full. Strategies to keep from overeating include being mindful of physical fullness, choosing to stop eating before you reach “full,” eating from small plates, and serving food from the counter instead of family-style. The simplicity of this last strategy encourages extra movement (see next characteristic) in order to indulge in seconds.
Constant moderate physical activity that is integrated into life – Walking or biking to work, hiking in the hills, kicking around a soccer ball with friends, hauling wood, tilling a garden, raking leaves. All things that get your legs moving, your arms lifting, and your body bending throughout the day.
Social engagement – All ages are socially active and involved in their communities. Young and old participate in shared activities, take time to listen and visit with one another, work together for the good of the community, and support each other in a multitude of ways.
Here’s a 20-minute TEDxTC video about the Blue Zones that’s worth viewing.
Now ask yourself, which of these Blue Zone characteristics are part of your life?
Which characteristics would you like to make a bigger part of your life?
Even if you don’t want to live to 100, any one of these lifestyle shifts can help improve the life you’ve got right now.
Here’s to your health and vitality!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. I am Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® and look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-594-4401 or by email.