Understanding Blue Zones

The long life and how it’s done.

Adopting the lessons of Blue Zones can lead to longevity.

Blue Zones

Adopting the lessons of Blue Zones can lead to longevity.

Amanda Mourelo, Editor of Student Opinion and Features and Extras

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Blue Zones began as a National Geographic expedition to find out what regions have the world’s longest-living human population. With their studies, they discovered that there are five areas in the world where people are living to at least 100 years old or beyond. The reasons why they can live so long are categorized as the Power 9The Power 9 comprises the nine commonalities the population of the Blue Zones have in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Danish Twin Study concluded that 20 percent of why people are living so long in these areas are because of their genetics. The other 80 percent, though, is their lifestyle. 

Henry Ford states that to achieve the Power 9, people should be moving naturally. That doesn’t mean go to the gym every morning and workout for two hours. It is simply just engaging in physical activities that are cardiovascular or strength-based, such as gardening or picking up boxes. A mentality of the way you see life should be positive. “Pura vida!” say the Costa Ricans, which translates to “pure life. ” An individual needs to manage stress, which can be accomplished through simple meditation. Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are totally full. Make sure you are getting enough nutrients as well. Decrease intake of processed food and meat. Alcohol should be consumed moderately. Studies have shown that moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. It is also recommended to find something to believe in and identify with, such as a religion. Be close to family and around loved ones often. It is especially important to find community and prioritize one’s social life.

According to Houston Methodist, the five Blue Zones are Okinawa, Japan, home to the longest-living women, Sardinia, Italy, home to the longest-living men, Loma Linda, California, a community that outlives any other American area, Nicoya, Costa Rica, where people are likely to live more than the average American and typically live until 90 years old and Ikaria, Greece, a tiny island where chronic illnesses are more rare than anywhere else in the world. 

Although rare, Blue Zones can teach the rest of the world how to live well. Longevity is something that many prize, and by using the Power 9 it can be achieved. It’s important to remember that what you can control about your lifestyle can have critical impacts, both positive and negative, on your health.