Longevity secrets: 10 Blue Zone Habits for a healthier life
Do you wish yourself or your parents to be a part of the “special club” of centenarians? If so, then this list of habits people follow in blue zones for a long and healthy life can be useful for you.
Do you wish yourself or your parents to be a part of the “special club” of centenarians? Well, who doesn’t dream of seeing their parents reach their happy hundred? But, how often are we able to take any step toward it? This could be because most of us don’t have a clear understanding of longevity and ways to achieve it. This not only makes our dream a far-fetched fantasy but also affects the reality we live in.
Even though the estimates by the United Nations suggest the possibility of a significant jump in the number of centenarians from 573,000 in 2021 to 3.7 million by 2050. The question that arises here is “What is the secret behind longevity?” Among these, the sustainable health and longevity in blue zones do stand out as a beacon of light and the centre of attention of researchers and health enthusiasts alike.
What are Blue Zones?
Blue zones are places where human beings have lived manifestly longest. These zones were first identified by National Geographic explorer and author Dan Buettner in 2004. He collaborated with a team of scientists to study communities with an unusually high number of centenarians.
These regions include Okinawa in Japan, Ogliastra Region, Sardinia, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, Ikaria in Greece, and Loma Linda, California. Despite their geographical and cultural differences, these places share common lifestyle traits that contribute to their remarkable health and longevity.
10 habits of Blue Zones’ inhabitants you should adopt
Blue Zone communities prioritise plant-based diets rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. These foods provide essential nutrients, antioxidants, and fibre that support overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The 80% rule
Blue Zone inhabitants often practice hara hachi bu, a Confucian-inspired principle from Okinawa, which encourages eating until one is 80% full. This habit helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents overeating.
Physical activity as part of daily life
In the Blue Zones, people don't exercise purposefully by going to the gym. Instead, regular, low-intensity physical activity is integrated into daily routines in Blue Zones. Walking, gardening, and other non-strenuous activities contribute to longevity and overall well-being.
Strong social connections are a cornerstone of Blue Zone communities. Regular social interactions, community gatherings, and support networks contribute to reduced stress levels and improved mental health.
Sense of purpose
Blue Zone residents often have a strong sense of purpose and a clear understanding of their roles in their communities. This sense of meaning contributes to mental and emotional well-being.
Moderate alcohol consumption
While some Blue Zones allow for moderate alcohol consumption, it is important to note that excessive drinking is not a common practice. Red wine in particular, consumed in moderation, is associated with certain health benefits.
People in Blue Zones always put family first. Commitment to a life partner and spending quality time with children is common there. The other noticeable culture these people follow is they live nearby or in a house with ageing parents or grandparents. This is good for the health and well-being of children.
Taking time to unwind
Taking the time out to unwind from the chaos of the entire day’s responsibility, works as a much-needed break for your brain and body. The Ikarians (Greece) take mid-day naps, the Sardinians (Italy) go to Happy Hour, and the Okinawans (Japan) take a moment to honour their ancestors.
The process of unwinding could be anything that relaxes you and gives you peace and it can vary from person to person. So, take your time to explore different ideas and create your ritual to unwind at night.
Consistent and good night's sleep
A consistent sleep schedule means sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. According to Blue Zones, if one wants to live a long life, one should get around 8-10 hours of sleep each night to revitalise the brain and body. Getting consistent 8-10 hours of sleep helps in improving brain function, immunity, and energy levels.
The lessons on inculcating the right habits from Blue Zones’ inhabitants offer valuable insights into the search for a long and healthy life. Adopting a holistic approach that encompasses dietary choices, physical activity, social connections, and a sense of purpose, reminds us that longevity is not just about the number of years but the quality of life lived in those years as well.
However, it is important to understand that habits are not made overnight, it requires patience and consistent effort. So, be prepared for that. Remember, incorporating these habits into our daily routines could be your key to the secrets of a fulfilling, healthy, and long life.