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The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest Paperback – November 6, 2012
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Read about one of the Blue Zones in this October 2012 article from The New York Times, "The Island Where People Forget to Die": http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
“Blue Zones adds a segment on Ikaria…[Buettner] would like to draw a big blue circle around the entire USA.” –USA TODAY
About the Author
DAN BUETTNER is an internationally recognized researcher, explorer, and author. His company, Blue Zones®, specializes in educating people about health and well-being, based on the latest in global science, social science, and psyschological research through massive community public health initiatives. In addition to his notable presentations at the TED conference and two featured appearances on Oprah, he has been a guest on Fox and Friends, CNN and Dr.Oz. Visit Dan Buettner's website at www.bluezones.com. The author lives in Minneapolis, MN.
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I've read all the comments on here, and for those who keep complaining about it's not scientific enough, well they just don't get it and probably never will. The problem with most people is they want to know which foods to eat, which supplements to swallow and what kind of exercises to do at the gym and how often. As the author states it's not about that. It's a combination of many things and all about doing things naturally.
Ikaria was the most laid back place I've ever been to. No one is in a hurry there and they have no concept of time. It took me a couple of days to adjust to it, but after working years at a job where your boss freaks out if you are 2 minutes late, it's was a refreshing place. Plus visiting the historic sites, eating the food, interacting with the locals who live there, and visiting the thermal springs, was all refreshing. If there ever was a fountain of youth, this place was it. Everyone was so friendly and treated us like family. We went during the very end of the tourist season to get a better of idea of how the locals really are instead of having to deal with tourist. The wine is different than other wines, the honey is unique, the teas are unique. In fact everything about Ikaria is unique. It's easy to make healthy choices since this place nudges you into them. Even the walks don't seem like exercise because the scenery is so beautiful. Even getting to the beaches at many places requires a climb down the rocks.
My point is the author wrote the perfect book in the perfect way. I didn't want to read some dry boring book about scientific charts and numbers. The author writes from an explorer's point of view and there is no better way to put the points across. So open your mind and forgot your normal way of thinking. Or better yet, get off your butt and actually go visit a Blue Zone area like we did. You won't regret it and the book will make even more sense to you after experiencing it yourself.
With the backing of National Geographic, Buettner and his crack team of top-notch scientists went around the world and found 5 places that fit the strict Blue Zones criteria: the Italian island of Sardinia; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; the Seventh-Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California; and the Greek island of Ikaria. These regions have a disproportionately high population of centenarians, up to 50 times the US average. But even more remarkably, their centenarians are independent at a rate far higher than in the US and Europe: 90% vs 15%. What’s going on?
Having gone to medical school and read the NYT Magazine article, I thought I knew what was in the book and thus postponed reading it. That was a mistake. Buettner and team are incredibly thorough in their approach, uncovering details about living a good life that casual observation would miss. And they back every one of their conclusions with as much data as they can.
Definite patterns emerge amongst the various groups. All of them foster a strong sense of community and intergenerational cohesiveness. In Costa Rica, there’s a 99-person village all descended from one person, and there’s a touching picture of a blissed-out 104-year old lady holding her great-great-granddaughter. People hang out with family and friends every day, and the elderly live with their offspring.
All the communities eat a mostly plant-based diet. Exercise is also built into their daily activity. Although it’s safe to say that none of these people have ever stepped into a gym, every day they till fields, work gardens, tend sheep over hilly terrain, and walk around.
Some other data points also emerge. Several of the communities incorporate goat milk products in their diet, which is more nutritious than cow’s milk. Red wine features prominently in the two Mediterranean communities, with Sardinian Cannonau offering an extra dose of antioxidants. Almost all the communities eat diets rich in beans.
Although I hope you find this review useful, there are several reasons to read the book in its entirety. First, there are a lot of practices worth incorporating into your own life that I don’t have room to mention in detail, e.g. “ikigai”, your reason to get up in the morning; “moai”, a group of friends who meet regularly; and turmeric.
Second, by reading the stories of all five communities, you not only get the details but also the gestalt of living a long and fruitful life. Is there a worldview that predisposes to healthy longevity?
Third, the healthy, functioning centenarians profiled will turn your preconceptions of aging upside down. They also have sterling advice to offer: “Eat your vegetables, have a positive outlook, be kind to people, and smile.”
Fourth and most important: do you really have something better to do than learning how to live a long, productive and healthy life? If so, I’d like to know what that is. In the meantime, I also got the book for my parents, and would encourage you to do the same. Its life-affirming message is wise and invigorating for all future centenarians.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4 years, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine
their US government backed, bad living habits so deeply, they will give up an extra 3 decades of life to willingly remain unhealthy. Most will exit in their 70's to diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Interesting that the masses are following the wrong pied piper.
It confirmed what I've read elsewhere; that the social contacts one has is most important for longevity. And, also, having purpose in life.
I found it interesting that, in most Blue Zones, people who live longer eat meat, eggs and dairy. However, these foods are not a high percentage of their diet. Plants make up the highest percentage of their diets. One problem I have with the Blue Zone premise, though, is that there needs to be a review of non-Blue Zones where people have social contacts and purpose in life when they are older. I, personally, know people from cultures where this is true but they don't practice healthy life styles like exercise and plant based diets. People who have adopted "western diets" do not live longer even if they do have good social contacts.