There are places in the world where, curiously, people live longer, are happier and have iron health. Do you want to know what they have in common?
As the song says, we have all dreamed of being forever young, of being young forever. As we unfortunately know, we end up discovering that this is impossible and that, inevitably, everything good ends, our aspirations focus at least on living many years, with quality, and, also, have a full experience.
Did you know that the longest person registered to date, Jeanne Calment, lived 122 years? This gives us to think about what kind of life he led to reach that age. Well, it may surprise you to know that he smoked. Yes, yes, Jeanne Calment was a smoker for a hundred years. Incredible true? It can also leave you with your mouth open the fact that he drank wine daily and seasoned everything with olive oil. Ah! And he rode a bicycle until he was 100 years old. If we take Mrs. Calment as an example, perhaps we can find the secret of longevity. Does it lie in food, genetics, or is it perhaps determined by environmental factors?
Secrets kept for a hundred years
In the United States, for example, one in six thousand people is a hundred-year-old, and one in five billion is supercentennial, that is, it exceeds 110 years. In our country, according to the National Institute of Statistics, there are currently 17,424 people who are over one hundred years old, and only 558 of them are supercentennial, of which 77% are women. The results could lead us to assume that there is a relationship between longevity and genetics since extreme longevity is grouped by families.
That’s right, we are more likely to reach one hundred years if our parents, grandparents or siblings were also centenarians. However, it is difficult to identify which genes are responsible for longevity: studies have revealed that there are at least 130 involved, among which is apolipoprotein E, which increases good blood cholesterol (HDL), and FOX03, responsible for regulating blood sugar and eliminating free radicals.
If you don’t have a centennial grandfather, don’t worry! It has also been found today that genes can be modulated with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. We also know that HDL can be raised by eating a lot of omega 3, and our glycemic levels can be regulated by consuming plenty of vegetables. So, even if we don’t have such long-lived relatives, we can live longer and better if we take care of our lifestyle.
The blue areas of longevity
There are places in the world where there is a higher percentage of long-lived, healthy and happy people. But what do they have in common? Well, oddly enough, the centennial people are concentrated in specific areas of the planet very distant from each other: Okinawa, in Japan; Icaria, in Greece; Ogliasatra, in Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya, in Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, in the United States. These points of the globe, known as ‘blue zones ‘ have in common their location, between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer.
The lifestyle of the blue areas
The most common characteristics of the centenarians of the blue zones have been described by Dan Buettner, journalist, and author of The Blue Zones, who carried out an exhaustive study of the populations where it was detected that there were more people over one hundred years old:
- They practice moderate physical exercise regularly.
- They have learned to face life with calm and serenity (thanks to meditation, the habit of napping, etc.).
- They have a purpose in life, that is, goals that motivate them to move and move forward day after day. In Okinawa, this purpose is known as ikigai.
- They eat many foods of plant origin, and little meat and dairy.
- They do not smoke.
- They usually eat slowly and little.
- They take care of family ties and have the unconditional love and support of the family.
- Participate and collaborate in the welfare of the community.
- They think that social relationships favor a longer and happier life, and have an active social life.