Five regions of the world are renowned for the longevity of their inhabitants. Their lifestyle and diet are the main causes.
Areas of the world where we live very old and with little or no disease? These corners of paradise, called blue zones, are located on five continents: the region of Barbagia in Sardinia, the Okinawa archipelago in Japan, the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica, the island of Ikaria in Greece and Loma Linda in California. All of their inhabitants have similarities in their way of life, which seem to contribute to their exceptional longevity.
In Okinawa, there are three times more centenarians than in France. Life expectancy is the highest in the world: 86 years for women and 78 years for men. On Ikaria Island, one in three people over 90 years old, in the region of Barbagia, one in five people is over this age. In Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula has 13% nonagenarians and 5% centenarians. In addition to exceptional longevity, these areas are also characterized by low incidence of cancer and chronic diseases.
A healthy diet
In these different regions of the world, the diets of the inhabitants have similarities. We usually eat little meat and in small portions, between 85 and 100 grams. In Sardinia, the traditional way of life is to eat meat only once a week. In the blue zones, vegetables are of great importance: everyone consumes them and in large quantities. They are often grown at home, in a kitchen garden. The inhabitants of Okinawa follow the Confucian principle of "hara hachi bu" which consists of restricting oneself during meals to never exceed 80% of satiety.
From physical activity to social bond
Physical activity also has a role in this exceptional longevity: all these nonagenarians and centenarians are physically active. This does not necessarily mean a sporting activity but rather a dynamic lifestyle. None of them abuse alcohol or tobacco, and they are spared from pollution. Their way of life also seems to be linked to their longevity: in these different regions of the world, the social bond is important and the elderly live in their families and not in specialized institutions. It also saves them from stress. According to Pascal Douek, author of The new keys to longevity, our longevity is 75% related to our lifestyle and our environment.