Singing the Blues usually involves tunes of sad tales. Picasso said his Blue Period was partially inspired by the suicide of his friend. If you say you’re feeling blue it means you’re down in the dumps. Yep, the misunderstood color tends to have a pretty bad reputation... but that could all turn around if the idea of Blue Zones catches on.
You see, most people have a maximum life expectancy of 80 or so. That number is a bit higher in a few areas of the world and quite a bit lower in other areas, but overall, you don’t see many people in their 90s and 100s wandering around. If you reside in a Blue Zone, though, chances are pretty decent that you’ll live to see 100 candles on your birthday cake.
Five communities in the entire world have been identified as Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, a researcher who worked with National Geographic, the National Institutes on Aging and AARP to discover them. People living in Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica and Sardinia, Italy (pictured) tend to live much longer and healthier lives than the rest of the world. Despite their vastly different geographies, Buettner and his crew found similarities in the communities of Okinawa, Sardinia and Loma Linda.
In case you want to incorporate some of those little nuggets into your life, here’s what you need to do: focus on your family more than work and other stresses. Stop (or don’t start) smoking. Eat legumes. Avoid meat for the most part. Stay moderately active. And stay socially involved.
Makes sense, right? Apparently these traits are so engrained in the cultures of the people living in these five areas that they don’t have to work at living to a enjoy happy and healthy old age - it just happens.
In case you’re curious as to why Loma Linda seems to have such a high rate over any other city in the U.S., researchers think it’s because the town is a big center for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Seventh-day Adventists tend to stick to a vegetarian diet, are consistent about having a day of rest every week, don’t smoke and avoid beverages with caffeine or alcohol.
Photo credit: National Geographic