The Blue Zones are the parts of the world where people live longer and healthier lives than the norm. Author Dan Buettner and a team of researchers identified 5 areas in the world where a high proportion of the population live to be 100, have more years of good health than normal, and a much lower incidence of lifestyle and diet related diseases that plague the rest of the world, like diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc.
The research team travelled to these areas to find out the centenarians secrets, and what habits they followed throughout their lives to give them that incredible longevity. There’s no one secret to longevity or specific thing each community does that makes them healthy, as each of the Blue Zones lead very different lives, but the combination of all lifestyle and dietary factors is conducive to good health.
Although you’re not living in one of these areas, you can adopt some of their habits to help you lead a healthier and longer life.
We look at the Sardinian Blue Zone, on the Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. It is identified as the area with the longest living men, as there are as many male centenarians than women. These are some of the daily habits the local people follow which the researchers think gives them such vitality.
Drink goats milk
A glass of goats milk has 13% more calcium and 25% more vitamin B6 than regular cows milk. It also contains components that may help protect against inflammation.
Eat a lean, plant-based diet with moderate meat
Nearly half of Sardinians diets are made up of wholegrains, especially wholegrain bread, and they eat a lot of beans, vegetables and fruits. A quarter of their diet is made up of dairy, mostly from goats milk and sheeps cheese, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Also, they tend to grow and harvest a lot of their food in their own gardens, which means their diet is mostly seasonal.
Sardinians don’t do high intensity workouts or extreme exercises, which can be hard on the joints. They do walk a lot daily, which gives great cardiovascular benefits.
Drink red wine daily
They drink red wine pretty much daily, but in moderate amounts. The locally produced cannonau wine is very high in flavonoids, an antioxidant, that can help reduce incidence of cancers and heart disease.
They have very strong family values. Elderly relatives are looked after well and respected for their wisdom. This means a lower incidence of stress and depression.