My Grandmother’s 100th Birthday!
Celebrations with family and friends are such an important part of life, not only because they mark important religious and social rituals but also because they play an essential role in our health and well-being. This past week, many of you celebrated Easter and Passover, some will celebrate Ramadan in June, and we all are entering the ceremonious season of graduations and weddings. Although we sometimes over indulge in food and drink during these celebrations, which is typically not conducive to good health, these festivities provide a vital connection to our families and communities that ultimately strengthen and enhance our well-being. One of my favorite books on health and longevity, The Blue Zones, emphasizes the importance of family and social connections for not only living longer, but also living healthier and more vibrant lives.
The Blue Zones, authored by Dan Buettner, looks at the diet and lifestyles from communities around the world where people are living healthy, productive lives at 100 years old and beyond. Buettner identifies 5 areas of the world, which he calls the Blue Zones, that have the greatest number of centenarians: The Barbagia region of Sardinia; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Through his study of these geographically diverse regions, Buettner found 9 common lifestyle principals among these populations that lead to remarkably long and fulfilled lives.
Now if you are going to live to be100 years old and beyond, you have to have healthy bones, right? If we become frail and our bones break, they certainly won’t support us to living vibrantly at 100! By incorporating the 9 common lifestyle habits of the world’s longest living and healthiest people, we can in turn adapt a lifestyle that will not only encourage strong, healthy bones, but also a healthy, happy, more vibrant life.
Lessons from the Blue Zones
1. Move Naturally. Build activity into your routine and daily lifestyle.
2. Have Purpose. Why do you wake in the morning? What are you passionate about? How do you enjoy using your talents? What is truly important to you?
3. Down Shift. Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease, including osteoporosis. The world’s longest-lived people have routines that neutralize stress. Take time every day to rest, pray, meditate or socialize with friends.
4. 80% Rule. Stop eating when you are 80% full. People in the Blue Zones also eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Plant Slant. People in the Blue Zones eat 2 vegetables at every meal as well as making beans and lentils, not animal proteins, the centerpiece of meals.
6. Wine at 5! People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately. Moderation is important because excessive alcohol negates any benefits you might enjoy. Drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine a day with friends and/or with food can be beneficial.
NOTE: Alcohol is NOT conducive to building strong bones, so MODERATION is key!
7. Belong. All but five of the 263 centenarians interviewed in this book belonged to some faith-based community. Studies have shown that attending religious services (1-4 times a month) may make a difference in how long a person lives. It is thought that adherence to a religion can help to alleviate stress and belonging to a spiritual community can foster a supportive social network.
8. Loved Ones First. Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. Make a point to spend time with your family, take vacations together, and celebrate together.
9. Right Tribe. The world’s longest lived people are born into or chose social circles that support healthy behaviors. It is much easier to adopt good habits if you are surrounded by people who also practice them.
It is commonly thought that degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis are inevitable side effects of aging. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Studies have shown that adopting a healthy lifestyle can actually stop, slow down and even reverse chronic disease. You can’t stop the aging process, but you can adopt these 9 lifestyle habits that can help you prevent or minimize the impact of age related disease and allow you to live a long life with greater health and vitality.
For more information on the nine commonalities that support a longer, healthier, happy live you can visit the following website:https://www.bluezones.com/ or enjoy the book The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner