There are some areas in the world where people live a very long time. One of them is a town surrounded by rainforests and beaches famous for surfing. The two territories are islands in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Another town is located in the last part of the Algerian Sea in Japan, and the fifth place in the series is a small town in the US state of California, which means beautiful hill.
At first glance, you may not understand any reason to consider any relationship or similarity between these five areas. Nicoya in Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, Icaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, and Luma Linda in California. All these areas are located in different parts of the world and there is nothing special in them.
But if you want a long and healthy life, these are probably the best areas to be born. These areas are called the Blue Zone, where the average life expectancy in the United States is ten times higher than the average.
The term blue zone was first coined by Italian epidemiologist Gianni Pace and Belgian demographer Michael Pauline. research was carried by the two men in Sardinia on death rates. During their research in the early 2000s, they used to mark areas where people lived longer. The two researchers were working with Dan Buttner, an American journalist. They identified many areas in the world where the average age was very high. The same research was published in a book in 2008.
Over the next 12 years, many scientists researched blue zones and came up with many interesting theories about the causes of longevity in these areas.
1: Less food, more age
Let's first look at the general trends. As Beutner writes in his book, there are some similarities between the lifestyles of people living in all blue zones.
The first thing is the food. In the past era, a large number of people used to live in the blue zones and ate less compared to they were hungry. Older people in Okinawa, for example, adhere to the ancient Hara Hachi Bo principle, which means to stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full.
Doing so slows down the aging process.
Long-term research on animals by Roslyn Andreessen, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin on metabolism (the chemical process of food in the body and its conversion into energy) and aging, shows that a breed of monkeys eats less than an appetite. As a result, they have a much lower risk of age-related diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and heart disease. Even these animals too young in looking from their age and their body's hair color also changes slowly ie gray.
The full reasons for these benefits are not yet fully understood, but it seems that limiting calories reduces the body's accumulation of toxins that are produced as a result of metabolism. These toxins destroy our cells. Scientists believe that eating less and fewer calories reduce or control body pressure and increase the chance to repair cells.
Limiting calories reduces the risk of harmful DNA changes, according to Didahili Govindarajo, a geneticist at Harvard University in the United States. These changes may be the cause of many diseases such as cancer.
"Reducing the amount of calories reduces DNA damage and improves repair work." In addition, most of the food in the blue zones consists of vegetables and plants, which helps maintain heart health.
2: Spiritual connection
Besides eating habits, it is also important to know the social life of these people. In the Blue Zone, people live in the form of communities and they are interconnected completely. It is now a well-known fact that being around people and feeling close to them reduces stress. It is better for health to be part of more mental and physical activities to maintain friendships and relationships in the community.
According to research by Julian Holtnstein, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in the United States, good relationships between people are as important to health as exercise and a good diet.
Religion is another important thing in social relations between people in the Blue Zones. Most of the residents of Luma Linda are Adventist Christians, while the people of Nicoya and Sardinia are Catholics, the Greek Orthodox Christians of Ikaria are Christians, and the locals of Okinawa follow the Ryukin religion.
American journalist Dan Butner wrote in an article that when he interviewed people in five of the 263 blue zones, he found out how people in those areas are part of a kind of spiritual community.
This spiritual connection not only provides a social connection but also the fulfillment of religious rites gives purpose to life, comfort in moments of pain. This can be the main reason to increase the life of people by two to five years.
3: Hot drinks
In addition to these similarities between the Blue Zones, some of the specific habits of the people there also provide information about the secrets of longevity.
When it comes to certain elements of the diet, it is interesting to note that the inhabitants of the Greek island of Icaria drink tea and coffee several times a day, and this habit is considered to be the reason for the reduction in heart disease in the region. Studies have shown that drinking this hot drink several times a day reduces the risk of heart disease. Probably a factor as to why they're doing so is that they contain micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium, niacin, and vitamin E, which help clear up toxins that cause many diseases.
Greek coffee made in thin cups is believed to be good for health because it releases substances that reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases the risk of many age-related diseases, such as the production of substances in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Hence, the consumption of beverages can reduce these risks. Such as Greek coffee is the best example.
These drinks also reduce the risk of diabetes. The chlorogenic acids keep the blood sugar level in the balance because it regulates the energy supply in the cells. Christina Krasioho, of the University of Athens in Greece, says it improves the body's ability to digest glucose.
These drinks are not a guarantee of longevity, but if the diet is balanced and less than hungry, they can help increase life expectancy and healthy life. Like Okinawa and Sardinia, Icaria also has a low meat intake and high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
4: Unusual vegetables and fruits
Okinawa residents regularly eat yams and bitter gourds. These two things are a recipe for aging. In Japan, rice is the main ingredient, but for the people of Okinawa, the same thing applies. One of the characteristics of yam is that it slowly releases energy into the blood. In addition, it contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are antioxidants that help cleanse the body of toxins and help the immune system. Potassium in yam also lowers blood pressure.
While, Okinawans, use bitter gourd in their dishes, such as salads, tempura, and juices. As Greek coffee in Akaria, crabs have such properties which keep the glucose level of the body in balance and the digestive system healthy. This greatly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
5: Specific structure of the area
Less research has been done on this, but the structure and location of an area may be affect longevity.
For example, Sardinia in the Blue Zones is in an area with mountains and beautiful valleys. Most people who live there work on farms. Walking on mountain trails is a laborious task which leads to good health. Because of the area's natural structure and traditional way of life, these people are like athletes.
6: The principle of moderation
It is clear that the secret of longevity of those living in the Blue Zone is not hidden in any one factor but it depends on many factors. Some of these things are common to different blue zones, while some are limited to a specific area. But we can also learn about longevity from the many things that people in these areas say.
Eating moderately, eating more fruits and vegetables in the diet, exercising regularly, drinking coffee and tea, and gaining spiritual satisfaction, whether it is going to a place of worship or walking in the mountains, these are the things we do. Make these things a part of your daily life forever.