"Blue Zones" Showcase Habits That Can Help You Reach a Vital Old Age
Having watched my parents age over the past 10 years (and watching my mom die) has caused me to think about what I want my life to be if I live to be 80 (or beyond). This thinking has caused me to reevaluate my daily activities and routines.
So what really works and what doesn't? Thus, The Oprah's Show entitled "Ageless Living with Dr. Oz" proved to be a lure Tuesday. The show focused on National Geographic freelance writer Dan Buettner's quest to find the places in the world where the greatest number of people who are 100 years old live (called blue zones) and what their lifestyles are.
First of all, four blue zones were identified - Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Okinawa, Japan. The reports on these four areas had some similarities, like making healthy eating choices, exercising and a sense of community and purpose. And there were some surprises, including:
- Hard water that is high in calcium and magnesium is good for you (Nicoya Peninsula).
- Eating food that is grown locally, whether in your own garden (which gives you exercise) or locally (Nicoya Peninsula, Sardinia, and Okinawa).
- Get moderate sun exposure (Nicoya Peninsula and Sardinia)
- Do exercises to build your quadriceps (thigh muscles) to prevent falling.
- Eat a big breakfast and smaller meals throughout the rest of the day
- Change to goat's milk, which may protect you against Alzheimer's and heart disease (Sardinia).
- Drink wine in moderation (Sardinia).
- Eat a plant-based diet with meat as a side course (Sardinia).
- Volunteer (Loma Linda).
- Create sacred time (Loma Linda).
- Eat a vegan diet (Loma Linda)
- Have relationships with like-minded people (Loma Linda).
- Have a sense of purpose (Okinawa)
- Eat natural foods (Okinawa)
Some of these are easy to integrate. Some will take thought (like looking for goat milk in the grocery store). And some (like eating tofu) are not likely to make it into my routine. But thanks to this study, at least we have some ideas of ways to reach our goals of aging well (even if we don't implement all of them).
Additional information on the blue zones is available at