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What do the longest living happiest cultures on earth all have in common?

by Jonathan Cox

Found in: Blog

What distinguishes these different areas in terms of health, wellness, and happiness?

The Blue Zones Approach

Every day it is becoming more and more evident how important it is to build good health. Improving your bodies ability to fight off infectious microbes as well as chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer requires incorporating proper nutrition, attitude, relationships, rest and movement. Throughout the upcoming weeks we will begin to elaborate on each factor of health.

Author and award winning journalist Dan Buettner has spent the majority of his career studying what it means to live a healthy and happy life. His work has taken him around the world to study cultures in the world where people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else on the planet. These “Blue Zone” regions are incredible because the people there live not only longer, but better. Besides having a large percentage of people that live to 100, the aging population also remains active well into their 80 and 90s, and typically do not suffer the degenerative diseases common in most of the industrialized world. Blue Zones regions are Ikaria, an island in Greece; Okinawa, an island in Japan; the Barbagia region of Sardinia (Italy); Loma Linda, a small city in California, and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

Dan and his Blue Zones team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists,  found the evidence-based common denominators of all the Blue Zones regions.

They call them the Power 9:

1. Move Naturally. Moving naturally throughout the day — walking, gardening, doing housework — is a core part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

2. Purpose. The Okinawans call it ikigai and the Nicoyans call it plan de vida. Knowing why you wake up in the morning makes you healthier, happier, and adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3. Down Shift. Stress is part of life, but Blue Zones centenarians have stress-relieving rituals built into their daily routines. Adventists pray, Ikarians nap, and Sardinians do happy hour.

4. 80% Rule. People in Blue Zones areas stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full and eat their smallest meal in the early evening.

5. Plant Forward. Beans are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains round out the rest of the diet and meat is eaten in small amounts.

6. Wine @ 5. Moderate but regular consumption of wine (with friends and/or food) is part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

7. Belong. Being part of a faith-based community adds four to 14 years to life expectancy.

8. Loved Ones First. Having close and strong family connections (with spouses, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren) is common with Blue Zones centenarians.

9. Right Tribe. The world’s longest lived people have close friends and strong social networks.

Our goal is to help you begin to integrate these concepts with some additional information in all the areas of good health and well being. 

All that we ask of you is to continue to be honest with yourself. Take a good hard look in the mirror and say out loud to yourself what your goals and vision is for your own personal health. How can you take your health to the next level? 

Feel free to share with us some of your thoughts and aspirations. Send us an email or share with us on Instagram at @GrowNextDoor!

We look forward to hearing from you and growing with you.
Love and life , Grow Next Door