Embracing Nature and Longevity: What Blue Zones Teach Us

October 17, 2023

Hey there! Have you seen ‘Live To 100: Secrets Of The Blue Zones’? It’s a limited docu-series about the five places around the world where many people live to 100. The show travels to Ikaria (Greece), Loma Linda (California), Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan) and Nicoya (Costa Rica) to uncover the reasons why these populations experience above-average longevity.

Image Source: Blue Zones

Among them, there were nine commonalities:

  1. Natural movement.
    From household chores by hand to running errands by foot, day-to-day tasks keep them physically active.

  2. Found purpose.
    Known as “Ikigai” in Okinawa and “plan de vida” in Nicoya, their reason for waking up in the morning kept them motivated and hopeful for the future.

  3. Time for rest.
    Stress is linked to chronic inflammation and major age-related illnesses, so to cope, the longest-living individuals make sure to pray, take naps and enjoy happy hour.

  4. Eat differently.
    The Okinawan practice of “hara hachi bu,” a 2,500-year-old Confucian mantra, reminds them to stop when their stomachs are 80% full to prevent overeating. Blue Zone inhabitants consume their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and abstain from eating for the remainder of the day.

  5. Plant-based diet.
    Beans like fava, black, soy, and lentils are the foundation of most centenarian diets. Meat is consumed only about five times per month, in 3-4 oz. portions, roughly the size of a deck of cards.

  6. Wine in moderation.
    Except for the Adventists, people in all Blue Zones enjoy moderate and regular alcohol consumption. The key is to have 1-2 glasses per day, preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine, and to share it with friends or consume it with food.

  7. Believe in something.
    Nearly all centenarians interviewed in Blue Zones were members of faith-based communities. The specific denomination appears to be insignificant, but research indicates that attending faith-based services at least four times per month can extend life expectancy by 4-14 years.

  8. Prioritize loved ones.
    Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones prioritize their families by keeping parents and grandparents close and committing to a long-term partner.

  9. Community.
    The world’s longest-lived individuals deliberately select or are born into social circles that encourage healthy behaviours and take care of one another.
Image Source: Blue Zones

We were fascinated by the findings but not surprised, knowing the natural gifts Earth provides for us. A big part of why people flourish in Blue Zones is that their environments make healthy choices easy. We loved seeing how connected these individuals were to their surroundings by tending to their gardens, caring for their animals and going for long walks.

So, if you’re trying to live to 100, take inspiration from the Blue Zones’ way of life and embrace your natural environment as much as possible!