Being able to live healthily in old age and have a long life is the hope of many people. And it turns out, there are most people in this world who have a healthier quality of life and live longer lives up to 100 years or more.
Most of these people live in the Blue Zone area. Blue zone is a term used to describe several regions in the world where residents are known to have long and healthy lives.
Currently, there are five Blue Zone regions recognized worldwide, namely: Okinawa-Japan, Nicoya-Costa Rica, Ikaria-Greece, Loma Linda-California, and Sardinia-Italy.
It is not surprising that those who live in these areas have healthier lives and live longer. This is because they have healthy daily habits, thereby improving their quality of life.
Reporting from the Eating Well page, here are the daily habits of people in the Blue Zone that make them live longer. Listen!
1. Eat until you are 80 percent full
Eat until you are 80 percent full/Photo: Pexels.com/George Pak
People living in Okinawa, Japan have good and healthy eating habits. The concept of this eating pattern is called “hara hachi bu” which means eating until you are 80 percent full. They enjoy meals and snacks until their stomachs are 80 percent full, rather than counting calories or going on a strict diet.
Apart from that, they also consume various nutritious foods obtained from the surrounding environment.
“Nearly all the food consumed by centenarians in the Blue Zones is grown within a 10-mile radius of their homes,” says Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones American Kitchen.
The various nutritious foods consumed include grains, nuts, legumes, fruit and vegetables.
Meanwhile, according to a meta-analysis in February 2022 published in the PLOS Medicine Journal, a number of healthy foods consumed can increase life expectancy in blue zone communities for the next 10 to 20 years.
2. Limit your intake of added sugar
Limiting added sugar intake/Photo: Pexels.com/Pavel Danilyuk
Limiting ultra-processed foods will make you naturally consume less added sugar. Buettner emphasized that people in Blue Zones consume sugar not out of habit or accidentally.
“They consume almost the same amount of natural sugar as North Americans, but only a fifth of the amount of added sugar, no more than 7 teaspoons of sugar a day,” he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American adult consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar each day, two to three times the recommended amount. Most of these added sugars are hidden in sugary drinks, yogurt, breakfast cereals, plant-based milks, and more.
3. Cook your own food at home
Cooking your own food at home/Photo: Pexels.com/Alex Green
Although residents living in Blue Zones sometimes eat out, they are known to have a habit of cooking their own food at home.
When you cook your own food at home, you will have more control over the ingredients used. Apart from that, naturally the portions you eat tend to be smaller. And you will get the benefit of avoiding stress by making your own food from scratch.
Meanwhile, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, individuals who often consume food cooked at home have a lower risk of all causes of death.
4. Share Food with Others
Sharing food with others/Photo: Pexels.com/Julia M Cameron
People who live the longest in the world also have the habit of sharing food with others. They are born into a social circle that supports healthy behavior.
“For example, Okinawans who created ‘moais’ or a group of five people who committed to implementing the same lifestyle for life,” said Buettner.
Meanwhile, an analysis conducted in February 2021 published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that families who share food tend to consume more fruit, vegetables and health-promoting nutrients.
5. Incorporate Physical Activity into Daily Life
Incorporating physical activity into daily life/Photo: Pexels.com/Greta Hoffman
Most people who live the longest in the world have habits that encourage them to be active. For example, by caring for plants and doing house and yard work without high-tech equipment.
The habit of moving more will certainly have a good impact on overall health.
6. Optimize Sleep Time and Reduce Stress
Optimize sleep time and reduce stress/Photo: Pexels.com/Anastasia Shuraeva
Lack of sleep can increase everything from the pain associated with migraines, to the risk of heart disease and cancer.
According to Buettner, many people in the Blue Zones who live longer have general routines that can help relieve stress. Such as taking a moment to remember ancestors, pray, take a nap, and gather together.
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