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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wilde


In 2005, National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner set out with a team of doctors, nutritionists, anthropologists and demographers to seek “longevity hot spots” around the globe.  Areas populated by centenarians and supercentenarians, some living over 110 years old, were given the title of “Blue Zone”, an area initially identified by investigators with a concentric circle drawn in blue pen on a map.  With open inquiry, Buettner and his team set out to uncover the lifestyle and habits in these villages, questioning the role of genetics in their longer-than-average life expectancy.

Around the world, five areas in differing continents were recognized for distinguished low levels of disease and disability: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; the island Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.  Despite the distance between these communities, they shared many common traits.  They eat plant based whole food diets rich in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and legumes.  They don’t overeat and tend to consume most of their food earlier in the day, finishing with a light dinner.  Any alcohol is shared moderately, typically amongst friends.  They are naturally active in gardening and walking a few miles each day, perhaps to and from the market or visiting neighbors and friends.  However, their habits go far beyond diet and exercise.

Blue Zone inhabitants focus on their individual and collective purpose.  Continued interactions with family and maintaining life-long friendships are encouraged.  Religious pursuits and spiritual activities are encouraged.  Health is influenced by maintaining low-stress environments and acknowledging their direct line of influence over what can be controlled - and what is meant to be left to a greater power.  These lifestyle factors appear to play a more significant role in their survival than genetic signature, protecting against a wide variety of chronic diseases including cancer, dementia and cardiovascular disorders.  A greater quality of life leads to quantity of years spent enjoying and thriving well.

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