Blue zones have been identified all over the world, and, if you are lucky enough to be living in one, you will find that you enjoy a longer and healthier life than average. Currently, there are five blue zones around the world that have been identified and researched through a collaboration with National Geographic and other journalists, and they all have certain factors in common. From a lack of pollution to a daily routine that encompasses plenty of exercise and activity to low stress levels and strong family ties, these five blue zones are all worth looking into if you have been considering relocating due to health reasons.
Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is the second largest of the Italian islands, and its dazzling coastline is often its main draw for tourists. It has recently been discovered that, genetically, Sardinians carry the M26 marker, which has been linked to exceptional longevity. Since Sardinia is a relatively isolated island, these genes have remained ‘undiluted’, which is why the island has been home to more centenarians per capita than most other countries in the world. Sardinians also maintain a traditional lifestyle, from hunting and fishing for food, eating a healthy Mediterranean diet, and keeping close ties with friends and family, earning them a top spot in the list of blue zones.
Loma Linda, California
Loma Linda in California is considered to be one of the healthiest communities in the USA. A large number of those who live in Loma Linda are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, meaning that they follow the church’s recommendations when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices. The church recommends a vegetarian diet, placing an emphasis on avoiding alcohol, drugs and tobacco. The church also heavily promotes “pure water, fresh air, and sunlight”, all of which feature heavily in the lives of the Loma Linda residents.
Okinawa consists of around a dozen small islands that make up the southern half of Japan’s Southwest Islands. The diet in Okinawa is one of the reasons why the region has earned itself a spot on the list of blue zones, as Okinawans generally enjoy a plant-based diet, featuring plenty of tofu, stir fried vegetables, miso, and sweet potato. Older Okinawans remain active, with the majority of Okinawan centenarians being enthusiastic gardeners, giving them a productive source of daily activity, a fantastic stress reliever, and a bounty of fresh vegetables to choose from each day.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Measuring about 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, the Nicoya Peninsula is not only the driest part of Costa Rica, but also one of the most isolated. However, residents of this beach paradise all share a few common factors; not only do they enjoy a longer life expectancy, but they also have lower levels of stress and an active and healthy lifestyle. One theory behind this that is related to the water that Nicoyans have access to, as it runs through limestone, meaning that it is high in magnesium and calcium, therefore leading to stronger bones and bodies.
Those who live on the Greek island of Ikaria thrive on an ideal balance of a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and strong social connections. Wild and homegrown vegetables feature heavily on the Ikarian diet, while physical activity is a beneficially necessary part of their lifestyle. Family and social ties are also important, meaning that, as they age, the social roles of the average Ikarian continuously increase.
Even if living in one of the blue zones is not possible for you, there are many aspects of life that each of these unique locations share. From a plant-based diet to a lifestyle that incorporates plenty of exercise to strong family and social connections, it would seem as though these are the factors that can help to guarantee a longer, and happier, life.