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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blue Zones - Live Longer

I first heard about Blue Zones and Ikaria on Bill Weir's The Wonder List on CNN. These are places on the planet where people live the longest.

The Wonder List is about people and places that may not exist in the future so  I am not sure how the episode on Ikaria fits with his theme.  What may not be around in the future is the rest of us.

On the Greek island of Ikaria people live to be over one hundred. If you think you are going to live to one hundred, too, you may want to recalculate using the Vitality Compass.  This tool has scientists count for you.  A free newsletter helps you improve your score.

Bill's friend Dan Buettner has made it his mission to discover and create more blue zones and works with Healthways a business that encourages cities to develop comprehensive plans for well-being.  The blue zones identified to date include:  Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, CA, Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Buettner's website makes for interesting reading.

A quick look at  Power 9 attributes which the people who live in these places share is below.  But treat yourself to the long view and buy the book.

1. Move naturally. Don't do marathons or pump iron; work around the house, garden, walk, cycle, walk when talking on the phone.
2. Know your purpose. Have a reason for waking up in the morning.
3. Kick back. Find ways to shed stress, whether it's praying, napping or going to happy hour.
4. Eat less. Stop eating when you are 80% full.
5. Eat less meat. Beans are a cornerstone of most centenarians' diets.
6. Drink in moderation. Only the Seventh-day Adventists in California didn't have one to two glasses a day.
7. Have faith. Denomination doesn't seem to matter, but attending faith-based services (4 times a month) does.
8. Power of love. 
Put families first, including committing to a partner and keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby.
9. Stay social. Build a social network that supports healthy behaviors.

And since this is a food blog, I would be remiss in not providing you recipes from Dan Buettners book The Blue Zones Solution. The Sardinia Minestrone is worth the effort.

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