There are 7 blue zones across the globe, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California, Ikaria in Greece; province of Ogliastra in Sardinia, Italy; the Seventh-Day Adventist community in Loma Linda, California; and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
These people have a set of things in common- their lifestyle. This lifestyle is not a rigid list of things on a piece of paper which they tick off once achieved but rather an ingrained way of life learned from generations before, and in tune with feeling good and overall health. The blue zones lifestyle is also incredibly simple and centred around taking things slower with less focus on material things.
What are some of the principles they’ve adopted?
And like many Japanese, your food should be made up of mostly plants, beans/legumes, vegetables and fruit
Over 300 centenarians (people aged 100 and older) were interviewed by Blue Zones researchers; and one interviewee stood out in particular. He is 102-year old Sicilian man who shared his daily habits for a life well lived.
He eats pasta with olive oil and garlic every day, as well as one glass of red wine with lunch. Over and above pasta, his diet consists mostly of toasted fava beans, or broad beans, green beans, wild greens, bread and figs. And all of these foods are available locally and grown in the region. Interestingly, this man did not grow up eating meat or fish and does not include it in his diet. One thing he made sure to mention was his fait in God and that he attended church weekly.
With the advances of modern medicine, and people leading healthier and more active lives, the number of centenarians worldwide, has doubled.
Can you imagine running your first marathon at the age of 89? Well, one man named Fauja Singh did exactly that and today at 100 he is still running. He says the keys to a good life are laughter and happiness. Easier said than done but I am sure running helps a bit too.
There is a global record of the number of people living to 100, and most of the babies born today will certainly reach, if not exceed their 100th year. The number of people living to 100 in the UK has almost doubled every decade since the 50s! Projections says that by then end of the century there will be more than 18 million centenarians globally.
If people are living to 100, or just beyond, then why do they die? This is a question weighing on the mind of scientists; and it seems many centenarians die of ‘old age’ not chronic or dread diseases, and the medical world wants to know more. As a generation, worldwide there are 77 million people aged between 56 and 74. And now more than ever people have access to all the health-centred info they need to live their best lives. With people living longer, the retirement age of 65 just isn’t old anymore. In fact, every day in the US alone 10 000 people turn 65. Generally, this generation is better educated than their parents and are more health-conscious and active therefore they are living longer and better.
What’s really interesting is that many of these centenarians died in a care home or similar, and only a few died at home. Previous studies have shown that elderly prefer to spend their last days at what they call ‘home’. Home is not necessarily the four walls of your property but rather a place where you feel safe and secure with a sense of belonging. This is where care centres step in- they are valuable in bridging the gap between one’s family home and the much-needed care the elderly requires. If this is the case, then at least nationally, we need to ensure we provide assisted living and frail care facilities in a homely environment.
If the number of centenarians is growing then we need to understand more about people’s needs- where and how they want to live in their latter years and how they want to be treated so they can have a good quality of life and live well. The reality is that with this ever-growing generation, society overall needs to pay more attention to this group as they will become a prolific age group in years to come.