Everyday Steps to Promote a Long and Happy Life. The Blue Zone™ Way.
A Blue Zone™ is a phrase that is used to identify a demographic or geographical area of the world where people tend to live longer lives. Researchers, Pes and Poulain studied characteristics of populations with the longest living people and did a Venn diagram to determine the common characteristics shared by the five blue zones. Here’s what they found:
Top 9 Characteristics of the Blue Zone™ Lifestyle:
1. Move Naturally.
Get exercise from your everyday tasks: walk your dog, clean your house, shovel the snow or rake your leaves.
2. Eat 20% Less. Eat whole foods, mostly plant-based, and eat until you are 80% full.
Avoid processed foods (canned vegetables, meat products such as bacon, convenience foods like microwave meals and those sugary cookies, pastries and cereals). And eat in the late afternoon or early evening – it could mean the difference between gaining weight or losing it.
3. Choose a Poly Meal.
This is a combination of foods shown to combat heart disease and is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. There are lots to choose from but some include:
- ¼ cup of dark chocolate
- About 2 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables
- 1/8 cup of garlic
- Handful of nuts a day – almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, etc. (Try not to eat nuts covered in sugar)
- ½ cup of fish per day four times each week
4. Drink Red Wine.
People in Blue Zones drink wine moderately and regularly. No more than 2 glasses for men, 1 for women per day.
5. Plan de Vida!
Translates to “why I wake up in the morning”. Find that thing that you are passionate about (outside of work) and do it once every day. It could be helping others, creating art or music, or playing a sport. Find what you love and do it.
6. Down Shift.
Everyone gets stressed – and that can lead to inflammation of the body. Combat this by scheduling some relaxation time to give yourself a mental break and allow yourself to reset. Meditation, journaling, praying, turning off media, and daily exercise are just some of the ways Blue Zoners unwind. Discover more ideas to reduce stress here.
Being a part of a faith-based community regardless of the denomination has been shown to increase longevity. The feeling of belonging and inclusion leads to increased social activity and that results in lowered blood pressure and enhanced immune systems.
8. Right Tribe.
Surround yourself with friends or groups that support healthy lifestyles or behaviors (intramural sports, book clubs, etc.). The social networks of long-living peoples were found to help reduce stress and anxiety and promote healthy living.
9. Loved Ones First.
Blue-Zoners keep their families close. They keep their parents and grandparents nearby or are in constant contact with them – and it has been shown to lower the mortality rates of their children. They also commit to a partner for life and invest time and love in both their partners and children. Make time for your family by turning off the media and maintaining dinner nights, holiday visits and even simple phone calls.