The concept of “Blue Zones,” founded by Dan Buettner, is a very interesting one that has contributed new ideas to longevity science and how people can ultimately be in control of their biological age in several ways. For a detailed explanation of how Blue Zones works, you can find the gist of the matter on the Blue Zones website. In summary, the idea behind Blue Zones is that there are specific zones in the world where people live longer and healthier lives than most. As stated on the Blue Zones website, these areas are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.
What do Blue Zones mean for epigenetics and longevity science?
Essentially, the concept of Blue Zones supports the idea that biological age can be controlled through factors such as environment and lifestyle. This gives added reason to believe that biological age testing and the lifestyle suggestions that come with it show tremendous potential in being able to demonstrate how you can slow down and even reverse your biological age acceleration and live a longer life. Blue Zones are exciting for those studying longevity science and for people who are curious as to how they can live a longer life because it is a primary example, supported by demographic proof, that your surrounding environment and lifestyle do play a part in longevity.
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What do Blue Zones mean for you?
The most obvious benefit that Blue Zones give to the general public is examples of lifestyles that can help you to live longer. On the Blue Zones website cited earlier, several lifestyle factors and improvements are listed that they believe to be key in living longer and healthier lives. These factors include consistent movement, a diet that is heavily based on fresh fruits and vegetables, relationships with friends and family, and having a strong sense of purpose in life.
While living longer is the clearest benefit of Blue Zones, there are other benefits that can potentially come with following the suggestions of Blue Zones experts. One of these benefits, at least in the United States, is lower healthcare costs. This comes in turn with people being generally healthier. As people start living healthier lifestyles, they become less dependent on healthcare. As people live these healthier lifestyles, they may start to not need medical care as frequently and can better fight off illness through natural means, not being as inclined to pay large amounts for health care.
Beyond benefits that can be measured, such as longevity and healthcare costs, there are other benefits that can be assumed that those who embrace a Blue Zones lifestyle experience. General happiness is one thing that can be assumed people experience. From a simplistic standpoint, it makes sense that someone who is living healthier will be happier. Another one of the values of a Blue Zones lifestyle listed on their website is finding a stronger sense of purpose in life.
Perhaps for those who may not feel as though they have found a strong sense of purpose in life, embracing a Blue Zones lifestyle can help to find that purpose, and help them live a happier life. A final potential benefit that can be assumed that comes with embracing a Blue Zones lifestyle is improving personal relationships. Again, one of the values of a Blue Zones lifestyle is strong relationships with friends and family, with it being stated that these relationships can help lengthen lifespans. Embracing this lifestyle may be able to help to clear your mind, and help look past what you dislike in people, and instead focus on what you like about others, allowing you to find stronger, more long-term relationships.
The Blue Zones diet
The Blue Zones diet is what can be referred to as a “plant-slant”. As mentioned previously, this diet is heavily based on consuming fruits and vegetables. The Blue Zones recipe page offers hundreds of recipes, primarily based on fruits and vegetables, which they state each follow the Blue Zones guidelines for longevity. The guidelines stated on their website reflect how some of the longest living people have consumed food and drink throughout their lives. All of the guidelines can be seen on the site linked previously. As a sample, some of the guidelines include a plant-based diet (with no meat), reducing dairy consumption, and lots of water. The website details how these factors (and others) can help you live longer!
For anyone interested in longevity science, wants to extend their lifespan, or just wants to explore ways in which they can live happier, more purposeful lives, Blue Zones could be an excellent place to start. While this is not to suggest that the Blue Zones guidelines will be a perfect match with anyone that tries them, it is at least an option worth trying that has been backed by scientific research. Even if some aspects of the guidelines don’t suit you, such as perhaps the diet or consistent movement, it is still worth looking into the other aspects for improvements in your life, such as improving personal relationships. Whether it be to live longer or just to live happier, Blue Zones science and its guidelines are something worth trying and following.