There seems to be a diet or wellness program for almost anything. Although we believe in bio-individualityand that everyone is different and therefore has different needs, we recognize that there are overarching principles that when it comes to increasing longevity and living longer, experts are beginning to look to the blue zones and for good reason.


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How You Can Live a Blue Zone Lifestyle Without Living in One

February 24, 2020

There seems to be a diet or wellness program for almost anything. Although we believe in bio-individualityand that everyone is different and therefore has different needs, we recognize that there are overarching principles that when it comes to increasing longevity and living longer, experts are beginning to look to the blue zones and for good reason. 

What are Blue Zones?

First coined by Dan Buettner, the term "blue zone" describes the environments and the lifestyles of the world's longest-living people. These blue zones are scattered throughout the world and contain communities exhibiting individuals with a much longer lifespan than any other areas. Some of the most well known blue zones include:

  • Icaira, Greece

  • Nicoya, Costa Rica

  • Sardinia, Italy

  • Okinawa, Japan

  • Loma Linda, California, USA
     

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What do Blue Zones Have in Common?

Through their research, Buettner and his team of demographers and researchers found the blue zones share nine specific lifestyle habits, which they refer to as the Power 9. Residents of blue zones:

  • #1 Belong to a faith-based community. When it came to their research, Buettner and his team discovered denomination didn't matter, but belonging to some form of faith-based community could potentially add 4-14 years of life. 

  • #2 Down shift. Stress happens to us all, even those who live in the blue zones, but residents of the blue zones have routines to shed their stress and let it go.

 


 

  • #3 Drink alcohol in moderation. Residents of blue zones drink alcohol moderately and regularly, usually 1-2 glasses a day.

Simple Tip: Swap out one of your weekly alcoholic beverages for an alcohol-free mocktail instead. 
 

  • #4 Eat a plant-based diet. Plant-based foods like legumes, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains are the cornerstone of most blue zone diets. Although meat is consumed, it is enjoyed only a few times a month and in small portions. 

Simple Tip: Incorporate one or more plant-based snacks or meals every week. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, plants are perfect to enjoy any time of day. 

  • #5 Focus on family. Residents of blue zones put family first. Whether it's aging parents, children, grandparents or life partners, family comes first.

Simple Tip: Carve out extra time for family each week by hosting a weekly family meal like a weekend brunch or dinner.
 

  • #6 Have a purpose. Knowing your sense of purpose can add up to seven years of your life, which is why residents in blue zones actively acknowledge their purpose in life. 

Simple Tip: Take a moment each day to think about your purpose in life and truly feel gratitude for it. 

  • #7 Move naturally. The world's longest living people live in natural environments that nudge them to move without thinking about it. Activities like climbing, gardening, walking and yard work are all a part of their everyday lives.

Simple Tip: Find a way to actively move every day. Incorporate office wide walking meetings or choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  • #8 Practice the 80% rule. Residents of blue zones eat until they are 80% full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be all the difference between losing weight or gaining it. 

Simple Tip: Listen to your body's natural fullness cues and stop eating when you are feeling 80% full. That may mean passing on that second serving of your favorite side dish, but you can always save it for leftovers the next day.

  • #9 Support one another. The world's longest living people belong to social circles that support healthy behaviors. 

Simple Tip: Find an organization or tap into a close group of friends and neighbors that support you and vice versa. 

Be Like the Blue Zones

Although you may not live in a blue zone, you can begin incorporating any, or all, of these lifestyle factors in your own life. Whether you decide to begin incorporating more plant-based foods into your daily diet or find an enjoyable way to move every single day, find a community that will support you in your more mindful habits so you can begin to incorporate practices of longevity in your own life. 

Visit us @SimpleMills and tell us how you plan on incorporating more of these Blue Zone lifestyle habits in your life. 

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