Absolutely! Blue Zones are identified as areas where people live longer healthier lives than the average humans on earth. Dan Buettner identifies these areas and what they have in common in his 2008 book, Blue Zones. He wrote this book after extensive study of the areas while working for National Geographic.

The book includes interviews with many fabulously active people over 100 years old. The key zones are Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, CA, USA; and the Nicoyan Peninsula, Costa Rica. Incredible people in each of these special places are not just interviewed, but their lives are explored in an attempt to uncover what it is that makes people live longer, healthier lives in these regions.

In general, Buettner finds that the following are key factors, or the “power nine” for people in each of the areas:

  1. Natural movement – all of the healthy centenarians engage in low-intensity physical activity on a daily basis.
  2. Eating less leads to living longer. Fewer and healthier calories seem to be key.
  3. Process foods and meat are your enemies. In these cultures meat is limited and process foods are almost non-existent. Fruits, vegetables and nuts rule.
  4. A glass of red wine or two is a good thing. Not only are there actual health benefits, but also the act of celebration and daily meal “events” are important.
  5. A sense of purpose counts. People in these Blue Zones know “why they wake up in the morning,” they know what they contribute and look forward to it daily.
  6. To relieve stress, take a break daily and connect with friends. Siesta, Sabbaths…it’s all good.
  7. Spirituality increases longevity, whether it is community involvement or ritual, there is some link to faith and a long life.
  8. Family connectedness counts; those who make family a priority outlives those who don’t.
  9.  Surround yourself with like-minded people. The Blue Zones are communities of people with very similar lifestyles from eating and exercise habits to beliefs and common interests.

Buettner does a fabulous job in illustrating the actions needed to create your own “blue zone,” and his interviews provide inspiring support for doing it now! Have a read and appreciate his sensible strategies for creating your own longevity plan.

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