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Blue Zones

Did you know the U.S. ranks 42nd in the world for life expectancy? If you’re looking to life a long, happy life, you’re starting out with a definite handicap.

Looking at average life spans can give us a few clues. The French, Italians and Greeks – who eat a Mediterranean-style diet – all live longer. So do some Asians – such as those living in Singapore and Japan.

But national averages give you very little to work with. If you want more useful information, you have to dig deeper. And that’s exactly what National Geographic researchers decided to do a few years ago.

They looked for specific places where people tend to live a long time. Where the local lifespan was remarkably long. And they found five.

They named these areas “Blue Zones.”  And people who live in the Blue Zones tend to enjoy unusually longer, active lives.

The five Blue Zones are…

  • The Greek Island of Ikaria
  • Nicoya – a remote peninsula in Costa Rica
  • The mountains of Sardinia in Italy
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • The Loma Linda area of California

That’s right. There’s a community here in the U.S. where folks tend to live 10 years past the national average.

Do these widespread regions share any secrets? That’s what the researchers wanted to know. They spent almost a decade sorting through the data. And they found nine habits all these groups have in common.

  • They all have a sense of purpose.
  • They put family first.
  • Though their faiths are different, faith is central to their lives.
  • The community encourages healthy behaviors.
  • They have effective stress-relief strategies.
  • They may not exercise in a formal sense, but they’re naturally active.
  • Their diets are plant-based, and they avoid processed foods.
  • They stop eating before they’re full. In Okinawa, they say, “Hara hachi bu.” Which roughly means “80% full.”
  • They drink wine… but in moderation and usually with family and friends.

As I read through these nine points, I realized I’d read most of them already… in Best Life Herbals Wellness Team’s newsletter articles.

So HB and I are reviewing the points and comparing them to what we’re doing now. We’re pretty sure we can make some adjustments. It seems simple enough that most of us could create our own personal “Blue Zones.”

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