Blue Zones: Places on Earth Where People Live Longest

If you are looking for a Fountain of Youth, forget pills and diet supplements. Adventurer Dan Buettner has visited four spots on the globe where people live into their 90s and 100s and outlines how they add years of good life in his book, ‘The Blue Zones.’

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The answer, Buettner says, includes smaller food portions, an active lifestyle and moderate drinking. “If someone tells you they have a pill or hormone (that extends life), you’re about to lose money,” Buettner says.

Buettner identifies four hotspots of longevity: the mountainous Barbagia region of Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy; the Japanese island of Okinawa; a community of Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, 60 miles east of Los Angeles; and the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, in Central America.

The term ‘Blue Zones’ takes its name from the blue ink Belgian demographer Michel Poulain used to circle an area of long-living Sardinians on a map.

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What Buettner found in his seven years of research and travel were common denominators among the vigorous super-elderly – close family relationships, a sense of purpose, healthy eating habits. He distills them into what he calls the Power Nine.

“Picking half a dozen things off of this al a carte menu, and sticking to it, is probably worth eight to 10 (extra) years for the average American,” says Buettner, a tall 48-year-old who hopes to live until at least 100.

Buettner turned to probing the secrets of the longest-living cultures after leading three long-distance bicycle expeditions – from the tip of North America to the tip of South America; across the United States, Europe and the Soviet Union; and across Africa – in the 1980s and 1990s. He also used the internet to take classrooms on interactive quests to solve everything from the collapse of ancient Mayan civilization to human origins in Africa.

Buettner made his first expedition to Okinawa in 2000 and eventually wrote a National Geographic cover story, ‘The Secrets of Long Life,’ in November 2005.

Living long – even forever – is a human desire throughout history, says Robert Butler, president and CEO of the International Longevity Center- USA in New York. But Butler says he’s skeptical of claims of places of long-living people. “There’s always been these rumors but they’ve always turned out to be inaccurate,” said Butler.

Sources: The Times Of India

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