Think living a long and healthy life well into your nineties or even one hundred years old is only for those lucky few who hit the genetic lottery? Think again.
Lifestyle factors, i.e. the things you do everyday over the long-term – can add up to increase the number of quality years in your lifespan.
Look no further than the people of Blue Zones for proof of how powerful everyday habits are when it comes to staying healthy for the long haul.
The Blue Zones are regions around the world where people have very low rates of chronic disease and live longer compared to other populations.
They are located in regions of Greece, Sardinia, Costa Rica, Japan, and California, where a large number of Seventh Day Adventists reside.
Because these communities are home to the greatest number of people who live healthfully into their nineties and even hundreds, researchers have studied them to determine just how they age so healthfully.
Do you have to live in an actual Blue Zone to guarantee longevity? If not, you can adopt some of the well-studied lifestyle traits of these folks to promote health and longevity right where you are.
Here’s the top 5 life “hacks” of the world’s longest living people:
You don’t have to become a strict vegetarian or vegan, but it’s important to eat a variety of plant foods daily - they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation and protect you from chronic disease, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
A simple rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal. Yep, every meal!
Getting enough omega-3’s helps decrease disease-causing inflammation and keeps your heart and brain healthy.
Eating enough fat also keeps you feeling fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating that leads to weight gain - bonus!
Blue Zone communities avoid overeating and eating beyond feelings of fullness, which again, can help prevent weight gain.
Of course, moderation is key. Four ounces of wine is considered a glass and drinking more than that is associated with negative health effects. Also, choose a red wine that is organic. The grapes of many non-organic wines are heavily treated with pesticides and other chemicals that also show up in the wine.
Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain, obesity, and increased mortality. Be sure to look for opportunities to add movement into your regular routines.
You might try:
The world’s longest living people live active lives that include daily physical activities, like gardening, walking, and manual tasks.
Beans are a daily staple among the world’s longest-lived peoples, in all five blue zone regions, so stock up on red beans, chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and all other beans and pulses and enjoy this recipe.
Mediterranean Bean Salad
1. Combine beans, cucumber, pepper, onion, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl or sealed jar with a lid, whisk or shake together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper.
3. Toss salad with dressing and enjoy at room temperature or refrigerate unused portions.