Blue Zone

Blue Zones

According to Wikipedia:
Blue Zones are regions of the world where it’s claimed that people live much longer than average. The term was coined by Dan Buettner, and first appeared in a 2005 National Geographic magazine story, “The Secrets of a Long Life”.

Five regions have been identified as “Blue Zones”:

• Sardinia, Italy.
• Okinawa, Japan.
• Loma Linda, California.
• Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
• Icaria, Greece.

Residents of these places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more years of good health.

So how can we learn from the Blue Zones?

Although there has been speculation that the very old ages claimed in some rural areas are not always substantiated with birth certificates, there’s not much doubt that these populations are getting more healthy years than most of us.

These factors are common to the different groups studied:
• Little or no smoking
• Semi-vegetarianism
• Constant moderate physical activity
• Social engagement

The dietary aspects are consistent with the advice we get from many sources, as well as the advice on physical activity and not smoking.

But Social Engagement is interesting. All of the studied groups had strong social and/or family relationships. We know that depression can lead to weakness in the face of infection, so maybe the real benefit of social engagement is to fend off diseases by reducing isolation and depression.
Whatever the reason, for people on their own, it’s strong justification for getting out and joining any sort of group or activity that involves social contact.