9 Habits of People Living in “Blue Zone”

9 Habits of People Living in “Blue Zone”

Blue Zone are places around the world where people had the highest life expectancy, or where the highest proportions of people live until they are 100 (or more).  Countries in the ‘longevity hotspots” are Sicily (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).

What did these communities have in common? Here are 9 Habits common to these countries:

  1. Daily Movement – the long-living grew and tended to their gardens, walked where they wanted to go, climbed hills and stairs, played with their friends, made their food with muscle, not machines, and did their house and garden work by hand. In short, these long lived people were not doing planned exercise (as westerners do), but moved throughout the day, which helped their metabolism stay high.
  2. A Sense of Purpose – In Okinawan language there’s not even a word for ‘retirement’. They did however, have a word for ‘purpose’ : ikigai. Ask yourself, why do you wake up in the morning? Having a sense of purpose could add about seven years to your life expectancy.
  3. Regulating Stress – No one is immune to stress, not even those living the simple life in Blue Zones. Chronic stress leads to inflammation and is implicated in age-related disease. What those in Blue Zones did differently was incorporate daily rituals that downgraded their stress and put it into perspective. Okinawans took a few moments a day tp remember their ancestors; the Seventh Day Adventist in Loma-Linda prayed; the Ikarians took naps, the Sardinians have happy hour, woo hoo!
  4. The 80% Rules – Eat until you are eight (8/10) parts full. And the 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full can make a big difference between losing weight or stacking it on.
  5. Eating a Plant-Based diet – people in the Blue Zones had a mostly plant-based diet, and dinner was the smallest meal of the day.
  6. A shared tipple – people in the Blue Zones drank alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlived non-drinkers, but they stuck to one to two glasses per day, shared with friends and/or with food.
  7.  Belonging – All but five of the 263 centenarians belonged to faith based community. It didn’t seem to matter what the denomination was, but it did matter that they felt a sense of belonging or connection within a group.
  8. Relationships Matter – they tended to have their families closeby, remained in committed relationships and spent time with those they loved.
  9. Find your Tribe – If you have a friend who becomes obese, there’s a 57% chance that you will too. Smoking, exercise, happiness and loneliness are also contagious: we are influenced by the people we spend the most time with.

Source : Matchfit by Andrew May

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