According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy rate in the United States, regardless of sex and race, is 78.8. It has been the highest since the 1930s, when people lived for only 59 years old.
However, some countries in the world have people who live at least 8 times longer than Americans. These tribes are the subject of the Blue Zone Diet.
Dan Buettner, a research team, and the National Geographic embarked on a comprehensive journey around the world in 2004. They tried to identify the key places on earth that were well-known for their longevity. They discovered 5 places:
- Ikaria, Greece
- Loma Linda, California
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
Based on their studies, they discovered unique characteristics in each of these places.
For example, Okinawa is considered as the “land of the immortals” because of how long the people lived. In fact, the island has the longest-living women in the world. Ikaria, Greece, meanwhile, has almost zero rate of dementia and 20% less cancer than the United States. Sardinia in Italy has the most number of centenarians.
Nevertheless, the study also outlines specific features that tie up all of these Blue Zones:
1. They adapt to the environment. They allow their environment to dictate them on what to do for the day. Most of all, they engage themselves in some movement all throughout the day.
2. They eat healthy. The word “healthy” is quite broad, so to be more specific, these people live on a diet rich in natural, unprocessed food. They also do not overeat. The Japanese adheres to the principle of “hara hachi bu,” or eating until they are 80% full. Most centenarians dine on beans and limit meats to only a few times a month.
3. They have a very strong sense of purpose. By simply knowing the reason why you wake up each morning, a person can add more than 5 years into his life.
4. They take the time to relax. The Italians, for example, spend a long time at the dinner table, drinking their red wine to help themselves relaxed. By reducing the level of stress, it also brings down the risk of chronic inflammation, which then leads to several serious diseases including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
5. They socialize. They belong to a tribe.