Ever heard of a Blue Zone? If you’ve watched Zac Efron’s Netflix 202 series Down to Earth this term may sound familiar, but it was journalist and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner that coined it in 2003 after dropping blue pins over regions on a map where the average human lifespan is 100+! For over 15 years, Buettner partnered with National Geographic to study these longevity hot spots to uncover why they have such a concentration of centurions. Only five known Blue Zones exist in the world, spread across the globe in:
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Ikaria, Greece
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Buettner and team identified these oases of long-living by intensely studying each zone’s population to determine what healthy traits and practices inhabitants had in common. His findings were surprisingly simple, but in our fast-paced, results-driven American culture, what may seem like minor lifestyle tweaks can become quite challenging undertakings.
Secret #1: Take life out of the fast lane. Take time to be in the moment. Slow down.
While this may not seem like an idealistic goal, it can be achieved in small doses. Try not reaching for your cell phone first thing in the morning, and instead do a short meditation, read a few pages from a self help book, or repeat a mantra. Rather than eating lunch in your cubicle, grab your food, get up, and enjoy being in the sunshine outside. Do some deep breathing during your commute to the office to help calm your mind. Know that it’s okay to not always reply immediately to texts, work emails, and meeting requests. We are humans after all, and not machines. And most importantly, do your best to get a good night’s sleep. We push ourselves so much but often don’t give our bodies time to rest and recharge.
Secret #2: Eat more local vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods, and stop eating when you are 80% full.
One of the commonalities among the people in these blue zone regions is their diet. They eat mostly plant-based diets with lots of local vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods. In Ikaria, Greece the traditional diet is largely plant based and includes plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. They also consume moderate amounts of fish and dairy. While red meat and processed foods are kept to a minimum. This is in stark contrast to the typical American diet, which is often loaded with chemicals and additives and is heavily processed. The food industry in America is notorious for putting profits over health, which has led to an epidemic of chronic diseases. To promote longevity and health, it is recommended to stick to a diet that is based on natural, whole foods from the earth. As the age-old saying goes, “We are what we eat,” so filling yourself with nourishing foods throughout your day will make you feel more satiated and less lethargic.
Secret #3: Live each day enjoying what is now. Dance. Laugh. Love.
It’s easy to get swept up in the grind and watch your days fly by. Many people in Blue Zones have cultivated a deep appreciation for life, and have learned how to truly savor each moment. If you’ve visited Costa Rica you’ve definitely heard the phrase, “Pura Vida.” It’s widely used by locals to express happiness, optimism, and living life to the fullest. When was the last time you paused to smell a flower, marveled at the starry night sky, or danced around your home to your favorite song? These little things may seem inconsequential, but they are actually crucial to our overall health and well-being because they help us appreciate the joys of being alive. It’s easy to focus on the negative, but that is also a surefire way to add stress to your day-to-day life. Seeing life in a positive light can be challenging, but cultivating a mindset of longevity and peace can help shift our perspective and lead to a more fulfilling life. Make time to connect with those positive loved ones in your life. Staying connected to loved ones is essential for our well-being, as it provides a sense of belonging, comfort, and support, which can help us feel refreshed and revitalized. Also, volunteering can serve as a powerful reminder to be present and grateful for the blessings in our lives, as it offers a perspective that can shift our focus away from our own problems and towards the needs of others.
Though the majority of us aren’t currently living in a Blue Zone, we can adapt some of the key practices above to enhance our lives, reduce our stress levels, and help us reach our maximum peaceful state, for health and longevity. Also, keep in mind that all-natural CBD can further promote physical and emotional wellness. Take a moment to explore our inventory of holistic, vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO CBD products, all made in the USA. Questions? Reach out to us directly!