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Can 'Blue Zones' Help Turn Back the Biological Clock?

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#1 Matt

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 02:33 PM

Can 'Blue Zones' Help Turn Back the Biological Clock?


Sardinian sheepherders, Japanese grandmothers and Seventh-Day Adventists in
Los Angeles don't seem to have that much in common. But within these groups
there are some of the longest-lived people in the world.

Author Dan Buettner has scoured the Earth - not for the fabled Fountain of
Youth - but for the key to a happy old age. He spent five years visiting
areas of the world where people tend to live longer, healthier lives, areas
he calls "Blue Zones." Buettner talks about these hot spots and how he found
them in a new book titled The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the
People Who've Lived the Longest.

In researching the book, Buettner partnered with National Geographic and the
National Institute on Aging. Several demographers used census data to
pinpoint countries with the longest life expectancy.

The team then zeroed in on particular regions to locate Blue Zones around
the world.

Buettner says one such zone, the Italian island of Sardinia, has the highest
number of male centenarians in the world, while another, Okinawa, Japan, has
the longest disability-free life expectancy. In Loma Linda, Calif., a
community of Seventh Day Adventists has a life expectancy that's nine to 11
years greater than that of other Americans. And middle-age mortality is
lowest on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula - where Buettner says middle-aged
residents have about a four-fold greater chance of reaching age 90 than
people in the United States do.

One of the most striking people he met during his travels was 104-year-old
Giovanni Sannai of Sardinia. "He was out chopping wood at 9 in the morning,"
Buettner tells guest host Audie Cornish. "He started his day with a glass of
wine and there was a steady parade of people coming by to ask his advice.
That's one of the characteristics of the Sardinian Blue Zone - the older you
get, the more celebrated you are."

Buettner says that just for fun, he challenged him to arm wrestle. "And he
beat me."

In the United States, there's at least one Blue Zone, a small area about 60
miles outside of Los Angeles. Buettner describes the Loma Linda zone as more
of a cultural Blue Zone than a geographical one, and says it has the highest
concentration of Adventists anywhere.

He says their plant-based diet is inspired directly from the Bible - the
book of Genesis tells of God providing his people with grains and seeds -
and that every week, they take a Sabbath Saturday they call the "sanctuary
in time."

"No matter how busy, no matter how stressed out they are, they'll take that
24 hours and focus on their God," Buettner says. He also points out that
most of the Adventists he interviewed said 90 percent of their immediate
friends are also Adventists, so their social circle is very much supportive
of their cultural habits.

Although the aging process isn't fully understood, scientists do know that
there's a complex interplay of genetics and the environment that factors
into health and longevity. And Buettner says he was able to identify shared
patterns among people who live in Blue Zones.

"They didn't take any supplements or pills or wine extracts," he says. "They
tended to live in houses and environments that nudged them into bursts of
physical activity in kind of an effortless way.

"Okinawans sat on the floor; Sardinians lived in vertical houses; the Costa
Ricans had gardens. So they were doing little things all day long that added
up significantly over the years and the decades," Buettner says.

But, he says, the research also produced some unexpected findings.

"One of the idiosyncrasies we discovered is that people who eat nuts four to
five times a week, 2 ounces at a time, tend to live two to three years
longer than people who don't eat nuts. That was a big surprise for us,"
Buettner says.

Some may think the secret to longevity lies in strenuous physical activity,
such as running marathons or triathlons or pumping iron. But Buettner says
he has identified four things people can do that can potentially increase
life expectancy: Create an environment that encourages physical activity,
set up your kitchen in such a way that you're not overeating, cultivate a
sense of purpose and surround yourself with the right people.

"These are long-term fixes that have been shown over and over to add not
only more years of life, but better years of life," Buettner says.

Website here

Book Here


Anyone read it yet?

#2 jroseland

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 01:34 PM

I read it - it's ok but I have some criticisms...
I finished this interesting (yet a bit out of date) investigational health title, The Blue Zones. It's about five special places in the world that have a statistically outstanding number of centenarians, I actually spent some time in one of the places.
The book gets a few things wrong which I expose here, along with a rant about the vile human herd managers masquerading as “public health” professionals.

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