The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Longevity with Blue Zones' Power 9® Values

In a world where the average life expectancy hovers around 78.2 years, it's intriguing to note that over 70,000 Americans have surpassed the century mark this year alone. What sets these centenarians apart from the rest of us? To unravel this mystery, Blue Zones embarked on a journey with National Geographic, delving into the lives of the world's longest-lived individuals and uncovering the secrets to their exceptional longevity.

Their quest led them to five remarkable regions, each boasting extraordinary rates of centenarians and remarkable longevity:

  • The Barbagia region of Sardinia, with its mountainous highlands harbouring the world's highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Ikaria, Greece, an Aegean Island renowned for its low middle-age mortality rates and minimal instances of dementia.
  • The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, boasting the world's lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the second-highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Seventh Day Adventists, particularly around Loma Linda, California, where individuals live a decade longer than their North American counterparts.
  • Okinawa, Japan, home to the world's longest-lived female population over 70.

With a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists, the Blue Zones team embarked on a quest to identify common denominators among these diverse populations. Their findings crystallised into the Blue Zones Power 9®, nine lifestyle habits shared by the world's healthiest, longest-lived individuals.

  1. Move Naturally: Instead of hitting the gym, centenarians from Blue Zones engage in activities that seamlessly integrate movement into their daily lives, whether it's tending to gardens or eschewing mechanical conveniences for household chores.
  2. Purpose: Dubbed "Ikigai" in Okinawa and "plan de vida" in Nicoya, a sense of purpose can add up to seven years to one's life expectancy, giving individuals a reason to wake up each morning with renewed vigor.
  3. Downshift: Stress is ubiquitous, but Blue Zone inhabitants have mastered the art of stress management through daily rituals like ancestor remembrance or afternoon naps, mitigating chronic inflammation and its age-related consequences.
  4. 80% Rule: The Okinawan mantra of "hara hachi bu" reminds individuals to stop eating when they're 80% full, preventing overeating and fostering weight management.
  5. Plant Slant: Centenarian diets are predominantly plant-based, with beans serving as a cornerstone and meat consumed sparingly, promoting heart health and longevity.
  6. Wine @ 5: Moderate alcohol consumption, particularly in social settings, is a common practice among Blue Zone residents, offering cardiovascular benefits and fostering community bonds.
  7. Belong: Membership in faith-based communities and prioritising familial bonds contribute to enhanced well-being and extended life expectancy.
  8. Loved Ones First: Prioritising family and investing in close relationships nurture emotional well-being and support a longer, healthier life.
  9. Right Tribe: Surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals who champion healthy behaviours fosters positive lifestyle choices and reinforces longevity.

While genetics play a role in longevity, adopting the principles of the Blue Zones Power 9® can pave the way for a healthier, more fulfilling life. As exemplified by Seventh Day Adventists, embracing a Blue Zones lifestyle could extend the average person's life expectancy by a remarkable 10-12 years. So, why not embark on this journey toward a longer, healthier life? The blueprint for a vibrant, centenarian existence awaits.