Health and Longevity Lessons from the Blue Zones

We all want to live long and healthy lives. Scientific research can certainly guide us on how to achieve this goal. But perhaps even more compelling would be to look at the populations on this planet who have exceptionally long health spans and life spans. Many of you may already be familiar with the Blue Zones, 5 longevity hotspots, where individuals are healthy and vital into their 90’s and even past their 100th birthday.


These 5 amazing regions were discovered by Dan Buettner and his team of anthropologists, historians, geneticists, and dietitians. He reported his findings on the Nov. 2005 issue of National Geographic. The 5 Blue Zones initially reported are located in Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.


There are many published books and articles on the health and longevity secrets of these regions and individuals. In many respects, they are quite different from each other, but there are a number of traits that unite these diverse regions:

  1. They predominantly eat a whole food plant based diet that incorporates beans.
  2. All engage in constant moderate activity–walking, gardening, biking etc.
  3. Have very strong familial and social bonds.
  4. Individuals have a sense of purpose and/or faith in their lives.
  5. Downshift to reduce stress.
  6. And, they don’t smoke.


The venn diagram below illustrates the commonalities between the 3 of the most well studied blue zones.With the lessons learned from the blue zones, Dan Buettner and his colleagues formed the Blue Zone project. This project has been started in many cities and communities across the USA. Blue zones project communities have experienced, “Double digit drops in obesity, smoking, and BMI (body mass index). Millions of dollars of savings in healthcare costs. Measurable drops in employee absenteeism.”


Let’s work together to make ourselves and our communities healthy so we can form new Blue Zones!

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