Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer wrote the best selling book The Blue Zones Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. In this book he explores four so called “Blue Zones” that have the highest concentration of long lived people. He explored the habits of people from Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
According to Dan Buettner, it is not a specific combination of foods and diet that have provided these centenarians in these “Blue Zones” their longevity. Instead, it’s a healthy combination of lifestyle, community and spirituality.
Here are the nine principles Dan recommends:
- Move. Be active without having to think about it. Physical activity and light exercise should be part of your lifestyle and not a daily burden. There are many ways to get moving without going to the gym.
- Have a Purpose. Knowing your purpose and why you would want to wake up in the morning is a great motivator for staying alive.
- Relieve Stress. Chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation in the body and leads to major age related diseases. Have something each day that helps you relieve stress such as meditating, praying, taking a nap, or even happy hours. Whatever works for you.
- Eat to 80% Only. The Okinawans have a saying “hara hachi bu” which means “eat until you are 80% full”. This supports the view of calorie restriction on aging.
- Eat Plants. Plants comprise the bulk of what these people eat. They are not vegetarians though. Meat and sweets are fine but treated more as treats and condiment, not as food staples.
- Drink Alcohol Moderately. The keyword here is moderation. Moderation varies from one to another and only you can determine that.
- Have Faith.
- Love Your Family.
- Join the Right Tribe. Habits and lifestyle are contagious. Surrounding yourself with a group of people with habits and a lifestyle that encourage longevity will help you live long too.