UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Everyone wants to live longer. People obsess over ideas of the fountain of youth and immortality. Health scientists and go to the ends of the earth in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements. And they have found specific places around the world where locals enjoy a high quality of life and old age. Scientists have deemed these locations “blue zones.” Last week we told you that taking a vacation could add years to your life. Below are some blue zones you should take a permanent vacation to for an even longer lifespan.
Japanese rank high in lifespan studies and Okinawans have excellent health even for Japan. Inhabitants of the tiny island have low rates of Alzheimer’s, heart disease and breast cancer. Okinawans experience 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans. Health scientists attribute this to diet. Staples of their diet include fresh island fruits like pineapple, melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of Hara Hachi Bu or eating only until 80% full. Perhaps there is a connection between the two percentages.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
The residents of the Nicoya Peninsula don’t live much differently than they did a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet and recognize active work as essential to the quality of life. Many residents work on ranches and small farms. Locals eat a Mesoamerican Trifecta diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals and increases bone health. The dry, sunny climate offer locals better respiratory health and plenty of Vitamin D, both of which adds to their lifespan.
Ikaria is a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean. The residents of Ikaria reach the age of 90 about four times more often than the average American. Locals take naps regularly and have a much more laid back concept of time compared to the hurried lifestyle of Americans. Their diet is low in meat, fish and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, green vegetables, goat milk and herbal teas. Scientists point to the Ikanrian activity level and unhurried lifestyle to explain their longevity.
Hunza Valley, Pakistan
Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri-La, a fictional place whose people are almost immortal and age very slowly in appearance. Of course, there is no evidence that residents are immortal, but modern research supports that they live long healthy lives. The people are vegetarians with a diet consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties which also tacks on years to their lives.
While it may not be realistic to live the rest of your days in a blue zone, it is certainly possible to adapt the healthy habits of their residents into your lifestyle, wherever you happen to be living. Do so, and you may outlive your term life insurance policy.