By March 18, 2012 4 Comments Read More →

Blue Zones: The Healthiest Places on the Planet

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“Life is like a ten speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” — Charles Schultz

Where do people live the longest, healthiest, and happiest lives on the planet? The Blue Zones.

The big idea behind the Blue Zones is that if we study the places in the world, where people live the longest, healthiest lives, then we can learn from them and replicate their success in our own lives.

Only about 10% of how long the average person lives within certain biological limits is dictated by our genes. The other 90% is dictated by our life style. The premise of Blue Zone is if we can find the optimal life style of longevity, then we can come up with an ideal formula for longevity.

It makes sense — If you want to live a longer, better life, then learn from the best examples.

What Really Helps Us Live Longer, Better Lives?

There’s a lot of confusion around what really helps us live longer, better:

  • Should you be running marathons or doing Yoga?
  • Should you eat organic meat, or should you be eating Tofu?
  • When it comes to supplements, should you be taking them?
  • Should you be taking any hormones?
  • Does purpose or spirituality play into longevity? How does the how we socialize impact our longevity and quality of life?

There is a lot of competing information on these topics. If you try to sort your way through, what you find is there is a mixed bag of facts, feelings, and opinions about what should work, mixed in with what actually does work. One way to cut through this is to just look at the places in the world where people actually do live longer, healthier, and happier lives, and study their success.

The Blue Zones

These are the places where people live longer, better lives.  The Blue Zones are:

  1. Okinawa, Japan
  2. Sardinia, Italy
  3. Loma Linda, California
  4. Nicoya, Costa Rica
  5. Ikaria, Greece

In Sardinia, there is an area where men live the longest in the world with the most vitality, and they have ten times more centenarians than we have in America.

In a northern part of Okinawa, we find the oldest living female population, and it’s the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. They Live seven good years longer than average Americans. They have five times as many centenarians. They have one-fifth the rate of breast and colon cancer. They have one-sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease.

Loma Linda, California is America’s longest lived population. The average life expectancy for women in America is 80. In Loma Linda, California it’s 89. The average life expectancy for men in America is 76. In Loma Linda, it’s 87.

TED Talk on the “Blue Zones”

Watch the video where National Geographic writer and explorer, Dan Buettner, study the world’s “Blue Zones” to find the path to long live and health:

TED Talk – Dan Buettner on “How to Live to be 100+”

The Book on “Blue Zones”

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Dan Buettner wrote a book on the Blue Zones.  It’s  a New York Times Bestseller with rave reviews.

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Posted in: Body, Health, Life, Life Hacks

4 Comments on "Blue Zones: The Healthiest Places on the Planet"

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  1. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. interesting post – but the upheaval of moving would lose me x number of years .. so I think I’ll stay here in sunny Eastbourne being as healthy as I can .. I do think being stimulated and involved increases our life span .. and keeping the brain active and not fed inanities is crucial.

    Cheers – I’m off for a healthy cup of tea .. Hilary

  2. Joy says:

    Hi JD,

    I find this TED talk fascinating–thank you! I have watched it twice already :)

    What I am just realizing is that, in general, one has to *want* to live longer, to have the motivation and the attitude that the people in these studies have–the same reverence and enjoyment of life, each day. And, then the ‘how’ becomes most relevant to practice. It is sad to me to see that what mainstream practices here in the states is often so “small” for lack of a better word. And inspiring to know that awareness may transform that.

  3. JD says:

    @ Hilary — The good news is you don’t have to move. You can adopt the practices from wherever you are. The key is to know which practices count.

    I think having the examples of what works really is a great way to balance all the informtion we hear about what it means to be healthy or to live a good life.

    @ Joy — I find a lot of strength comes from purpose, especially when it’s for the greater good. It’s actually powerful in two ways: 1) it lifts us, and 2) it helps fulfillment.

    The beauty is not only does passion and purpose add life to your years, but now we know they add years to your life.

  4. Nate says:

    Thanks for posting this it has helped with my research on flouride. I just want to make it aware that most of these places mentioned are on the other side of the world or close to it. I believe it has to do with water, exercise and proper diet. Being American, intellegent but with harfly any college education, I find that these articles help the most. Keep posting the facts. :) p.s. I read alot and surf information on the net, its an awesome experience to work out the brain. And be positive! I know we can make this world a blue and green place to live. Additive free. And only a little grease once in a good while. :D

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