Dan Buettner, author of the New York Times best selling book, The Blue Zone, travelled the world in search of Blue Zones. Blue Zones are places where the highest percentage of the population in relation to the rest of the world live the longest. They have more people living beyond 100 years than anywhere else on the planet.
Dan was curious to find out why or at least to find common elements in each place to help determine a key to longevity. The first place he discovered was Sardinia. Sardinia is an Italian island located 120 miles west of mainland Italy. It has a population of 1.6 million people. In all of the blue zones discovered by Buettner, there were common characteristics among the longest living populations. In addition to Sardinia, the other blue zones are: Okinawa, a U.S. city in Southern California (in particular the Seventh Day Adventists within this city) called Loma Linda, and Costa Rica. In all of the blue zones, Dan Buettner tried to determine key factors in the longevity of the lives of the inhabitants. The factors were very similar among each blue zone.
The Sardinian lessons were:
1. They ate a lean plant based diet:
This includes whole grain bread, veggies, beans, fruit, pecorino cheese made from grass fed sheep (high in omega 3 fatty acids). They only ate meat on special occasions. Therefore, their diet was “accented with meat”.
2. The Sardinians put family first:
Everyone in the family was cared for by each other. This included the elderly and the babies. Family helped family. This decreases the rate of depression and levels of stress.
3. They drink goat’s milk:
This may protect against inflammatory disease such as heart diseases.
4. They celebrate their elders:
Grandparents provide child care, financial help, wisdom and motivation for thier younger relatives. They promote traditions which, in turn, produces healthier children (emotionally and physically).
5. Sardinian’s (shepherds) walk at least five miles each day:
This provides great cardiovascular health as well as muscle and bone metabolism. It does not provide the joint pounding you get from running.
6. Sardinian’s drink 1 – 2 glasses of red wine per day.
This provides artery scrubbing flavonoids and may reduce stress.
7. They laugh with their friends regularly.
Sardonic sense of humor (have you heard of this?) comes from these people. They gather each afternoon to talk and joke. This lowers risks of cardiovascular damage and decreases health.
Dan’s book is so well written. It takes you into the heart and soul of each of the blue zones. You feel like you know the families he interviews personally. It really makes you want to visit each one of these places yourself. Furthermore, the book encourages the reader to do more to improve your own life and live a longer and healthier one. All of the advice given throughout the book is easy to follow and makes you feel so much better each day. I highly recommend it. Here is the link to buy the book: http://www.thebluezonesstore.com/