Want to live to be 100? People who live in the Blue Zones often do. They’re places in the world that researchers have identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians, including Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. So what’s their secret to longevity? They tend to move their bodies a lot with natural physical activity, like walking and hiking, stay active in their communities and stay connected to loved ones, and of course, they eat a healthy, nutritious diet. These are some habits we can borrow from Blue Zone residents to protect our health and boost longevity:
- Develop habits that prevent chronic diseases - Obesity and pulmonary disease affects fewer people in Blue Zones, thanks in part to their healthy diet and exercise habits. They eat a lot of plant-based foods, which gives them disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants naturally, and meats and sweets are saved for treats, not eaten every day.
- Support a healthy immune system - All those plant-based foods, like beans, nuts, fruits and veggies, help fuel their healthy gut bacteria, which supports a strong immune system.
- Grow a garden - Blue Zone residents tend to grow their own fruits and veggies and there are all kinds of benefits to starting your own garden. Not only will you save on buying produce and get the freshest items from your own backyard, research shows gardening can boost your mood and well-being, plus, it’s a productive physical activity that will help keep you fit.
- Healthfully hydrate - Beverages of choice in Blue Zones include water, coffee and tea, with limited sugary soft drinks and red wine is consumed with meals and in moderation.
- Stay close and connected to loved one - Beyond the nutritious diet and workouts, people who live in Blue Zones are often surrounded with friends and family in their community. Those strong social connections are as essential to their longevity as being active and eating healthy.
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