“The Blue Zones” is a New York Times bestselling book written by National Geographic health journalist, Dan Buettner.
Dan’s goal was to find the top cities in the world which had more people reaching the age of 100 than any others. He calls these the “The Blue Zones” and I encourage you to read his book, and check out his website at www.BlueZones.com.
What are the common denominators found?
The world’s all stars don’t go to the gym. They move naturally walking, working, caring for gardens. They are consistent. They do things that aren’t convenient.
Sense of Purpose
They know why they wake up each morning. They have something to live for. Buettner says “knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.” Wow! That says so much!
Routines to Shed Stress
Stress is a killer causing chronic inflammation. These heroes had routines to shed stress including Prayer, daily moments to remember ancestors, napping and a daily time happy social hour with friends.
I heard about this phrase from Dr. Caroline Leaf. She and her family have incorporated it. “Hara hachi bu” said before meals by Okinawans reminds them to stop eating when they are 80% full. Buettner says this 20% gap “between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.” Blue Zone all stars eat their largest meal at lunch and not dinner.
Little meat in small servings is eaten about 5 times a month. Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of many centenarian diets.
Wine @ 5
This one is a new thought to me. John and I were discussing this and remembering that people in the bible drank wine. Even Jesus turned the water into wine. Longevity All Stars drink moderately, no more that 1 to 2 glasses of wine per day. There is a product Called Vivix created by the Shaklee Corporation that provides a wonderful and powerful concentration of juice from the grapes used to make wine. Shaklee created this almost ten years ago. Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, on staff at Shaklee research, won a Nobel prize in this area of longevity in 2009.
Marilyn, one of the Fabulously Fit Team members, said one of her good friends uses Vivix (maybe a teaspoon or so) in a wine glass mixed with bubbling sparkling water as an evening ritual to look forward to.
“All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community.” ~ Buettner. Research revealed that those attending religious services, even infrequently, added 4 to 14 years to life expectancy. We have learned from Dr. Caroline Leaf how 12 minutes of focused prayer can change the brain to the extent that it actually shows up on a brain scan. Belonging to a faith-based community seems to have similar benefits.
Loved Ones First
Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones had family as a high priority. They kept aging parents and grandparents nearby. They made commitments to a life partner (adding possibly another 3 years of life expectancy says Buettner.) Families invested time and love into their children.
They invested in relationships. They had great social circles that favorably shaped their health behaviors. Buettner: “Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious.
“To make it to age 100, you have to have won the genetic lottery. But most of us have the capacity to make it well into our early 90’s and largely without chronic disease. As the Adventists demonstrate, the average person’s life expectancy could increase by 10-12 years by adopting a Blue Zones lifestyle.” ~ D. Buettner November 10, 2016
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