Blue Zones: What They Are & Where to Find Them

In 2003, journalist Dan Buettner discovered 5 places in conjunction with National Geographic, where people tend to live longer and healthier lives than those around the rest of the world. Dubbed the “Blue Zones” because of “the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map,” the inhabitants of these locations have a high average life expectancy, with large percentages of people living to be over 100.

People who live in these 5 regions do so often without the aid of medications and hindrance of chronic illness. Their longevity can be attributed to a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise and low stress levels. A sense of purpose stems from family, religion, and regular social engagement within their communities. Food is consumed fresh, and consists mostly of plant based dishes made from native vegetables, fruits, fish and nuts. Daily activity dictates that locals traverse by foot, so physical movement, sustainability and socialization come naturally.

Visit one of the 5 blue zones and you’ll find warm beachy weather and a love for nature. However, even if you never jet set from coast to coast, perhaps there is still a lot one can glean in the hopes of pursuing a better life style. 

The 5 Blue Zones

  • Sardinia, Italy

    • The first zone to ever be identified, Sardinia is home to the biggest population of male centenarians in the world. Due to it’s geographical isolation, genes have been passed down from generation to generation containing the M26 marker. This M26 marker has been linked to a longer life span. 
  • Okinawa, Japan

    • Okinawa makes up the south pacific islands of Japan. Here the women happen to live longer than other females across the globe. They value support groups, or what they call “moai” a lifelong group of peers there to help you through life’s struggles. They also work hard to develop “ikigai” or a reason for being that helps center, motivate, and fulfill them. 
  • Loma Linda, California

    • The only zone within the U.S., Loma Linda is a city in San Bernardino County, California. The Seventh-day Adventist Church (a Protestant Christian denomination) is prominent in the community. Those that reside here outlive their fellow Americans by a full decade. This is possibly due to a strict adherence to the Sabbath (a day of rest), the fact that their health is central to their faith, and that they don’t partake in tobacco or alcohol use. 
  •  Nicoya, Costa Rica

    • Located on Costa Rica’s pasific coast, this Latin American paradise has a thriving healthcare system and economy.  The locals have what they call a “plan de vida” or life plan that provides them with a purpose and enables their elders to continue to seek an active life.  
  • Ikaria, Greek

    • Ikaria is an island in the Aegean Sea known for it’s islander’s pride and traditional values. Here it is normal to live into your 90s. The people come and go as they please, as the concept of time is less rigid than in the modern world. 

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