Blue Zones are five distinct geographic areas around the world—Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Ikaria Greece; and Loma Linda, California—where people tend to live longer, healthier lives. What can you learn from these unique locations about healthy living?
Here’s what you need to know:
- Focus on Healthy Eating Habits Each of the five Blue Zones have their own traditional diets that focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Red meat is typically only consumed a few times per month and in moderate amounts. Processed foods and sugary drinks should be limited.
- Get Active Every Day Residents of the Blue Zones make physical activity an integral part of their daily routine without dedicating large amounts of time to it. This could involve gardening or yard work or walking frequently during the day. They avoid sitting for long periods of time by integrating movement into their lifestyle.
- Enjoy Social Connections The elderly in each Blue Zone have strong social ties with family members and friends—something that is often referred to as having “social capital” in these communities due to its importance in promoting health and wellbeing.
- Find Purpose in Life People who live in Blue Zones prioritize activities that bring them joy and purpose such as spending time with grandchildren or volunteering in the community. This contributes to feeling a sense of purpose which is associated with longer life expectancy.
By paying attention to how the inhabitants of each Blue Zone live their lives, we can learn important lessons about how we can lead healthier lifestyles no matter where we live!