Five areas in the world where life expectancy is considerably longer than elsewhere are known as the “blue zone.” What can we learn from the inhabitants of Nicoya, Icarius, Loma Linda, Okinawa, and Sardinia?
1. Loma Linda, California (USA)
A third of the population of this city, living about a hundred miles from Los Angeles, are members of the Christian Adventist Church. Adventists are generally healthy, but those in California live on average four to ten years longer than the average US population. Loma Linda has a large number of centenarians. Blue Zone Researcher, Den Butner, believes that the reason is that Adventists give special attention to nutrition and health.
2. Nicoya, Costa Rica
“They have something in the water,” Den Bjutner says about the inhabitants of the large peninsula located in the west of Costa Rica. Water in this region is abundant with limestone, calcium, and magnesium, therefore, the bones of its inhabitants are stronger. This positively reflects on their lifetime, as falls and fractures often greatly limit the lives of older people. Another interesting fact: inhabitants of Nicoya are mostly vegetarian.
3. Province of Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy)
The middle part of the eastern coast of Sardinia is relatively poorly explored. Large tourist centers and cities are found in other areas of the island. Around towns such as Tortoli, Lanusei, Baunei and Arbataks life is still quiet. Residents walk large distances, and fish is often on their menu. For four out of five blue zones it is characteristic that they are found in remote areas.
4. Ikaria, Greece
The famous British newspaper “Guardian” wrote a few years ago about the centenarian named Gregoris Cahas from the island of Ikaria, who has been smoking a pack of cigarettes for 70 years now, yet he has experienced a deep age and can boast with very good health. His example shows that it’s hard to find something common in all blue areas. And among smokers, there are those who have reached their hundredth. Experts from the University of Athens have analyzed why so many people in Ikaria have lived for so long and found that they rarely consume fish and sugar, but they use potato and goat milk in large quantities.
5. Okinawa, Japan
The 2004 study of the population of the southernmost island of Japan showed that there are 400 people over 100 years old in Okinawa. Scientists often questioned their diet in an effort to find out why they live so long. What differs them from the rest of Japan is: in Okinawa, people eat less rice, but many sweet potatoes. They take in 30 percent less sugar than people in other parts of Japan. More recent studies show that Okinawa is no longer the first in the list of the longest life expectancy regions in Japan, but it still belongs to a “blue zone.”