Habits Of The World's Healthiest People

Posted Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:17pm by Karen Eisenbraun

Filed Under:

The United States is facing a health crisis of unprecedented proportions: Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Diabetes and heart disease rates are on the rise. For the first time in living history, the life expectancy of America’s children is less than that of their parents.

In other parts of the world, however, people are living longer, healthier lives. In certain areas known as Blue Zones, people tend to live well into their 90s and beyond while remaining mentally and physically vibrant. It’s no coincidence that people in these regions share several lifestyle traits.

The Blue Zones

  1. Sardinia, Italy: a mountain village where researchers encountered a 102-year-old man who hikes at least 6 miles a day.
  2. Okinawa, Japan: home to some of the world’s longest-lived people.
  3. Loma Linda, California: where a group of Seventh Day Adventists commonly live to 100 years old and enjoy more healthy years of life than the rest of the United States.
  4. Icaria, Greece: a tiny island with 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease, and almost no dementia.
  5. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: where residents enjoy lower levels of obesity and longer lives than the rest of Costa Rica.

Dan Buettner, explorer and writer for National Geographic, has worked with longevity researchers to identify the habits that allow Blue Zone inhabitants to reach the age of 100 at ten times greater rates than most of the United States, while suffering a mere fraction the rate of heart disease and cancer as the rest of the world.

The key to living longer, fuller lives, says Buettner, is to create an environment of health. Science has determined that less than 25% of a person’s lifespan is determined by genes. The rest can be influenced by lifestyle factors. 

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Buettner and his team of researchers have identified nine lifestyle factors common among Blue Zone inhabitants, all of which are associated with an extra 3-6 years of quality life. The secret to vitality and longevity is incorporating these habits into your daily life. Adopting all nine of these habits — known as the Power9 — is not necessary to experience the benefits of increased health and longevity; according to Buettner, practicing just six of the Power9 will deliver 90% of the benefits. His book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, provides practical guidelines for setting up your home, your social life, and your work place to help add more quality years to your life.

Surprisingly, only one of the Power9 deals with exercise, and a full third involve social factors. In fact, says Buettner, the single most important thing you can do is extend your life is to build your own “Right Tribe.” The world’s longest-lived people were either born into or choose to associate with the right people — those who provide emotional support and the motivation to engage in healthy activities. Research shows that if you surround yourself with people who are active and eat healthy foods, you are more likely to adopt these habits yourself.

The Power9

1. Move naturally

Find ways to move mindlessly and adopt a lifestyle that makes moving unavoidable. In many Blue Zones, walking is the main mode of transportation. People also engage in some sort of moderate daily activity such as gardening, walking, or playing with their children. Buettner believes that many Americans exercise too hard; our bodies were not made to withstand years of heavy pounding and high-intensity physical activity. Regular, low-intensity activity — doing something light every day — may be more beneficial. Focus on activities you enjoy — even something as seemingly simple as a daily walk can provide health benefits.

2. Know your purpose in life

Having a meaningful reason to get out of bed in the morning can help reduce stress and ward off disease. Studies show that people who retire early often see a decline in their health and even experience higher mortality rates than those who continue to work. If you enjoy your job, keep working as long as possible. Volunteer work and community service can also help provide a sense of purpose.

3. Downshift

People in Blue Zones typically have less stress in their lives. Look for ways to simplify your life: slow down, get plenty of rest, and take vacations. Try to punctuate your day with periods of calm, whether that means meditating, taking a relaxing bath, or carving out some time for yourself to engage in a hobby.

4. Follow the 80% Rule

As Americans, we’re used to eating until we’re full, but allowing yourself to feel hunger can actually be beneficial. A study involving mice revealed that the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin may help fight stress and depression. People in Blue Zones typically stop eating when they are 80% full. Buettner’s book and the Blue Zone web site provide advice on adopting healthier eating habits.

5. Eat a plant-based diet

People in Blue Zones don’t diet; they eat wisely. Blue Zone diets consist of large amounts of locally grown vegetables and less protein than the average American diet. Limit processed foods, meats, fats, and sweets as much as possible. Also drink plenty of fresh water and herbal teas. In Icaria, residents drink high levels of herbal teas that act as diuretics, lower blood pressure, and prevent heart disease.

6. Drink red wine

Red wine is high in powerful antioxidants that can help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol. In Sardinia, researchers found a red wine with the world’s highest-known levels of antioxidants. Drink red wine consistently and in moderation — a glass or two a day is recommended.

7. Belong to a healthy social network

Having a strong and supportive social system is key to reducing stress and living a healthy life. There is a biological link between social connection and how well our bodies function. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends; that number is now down to two. Our increasingly wired society and busy lifestyles have made us more isolated, which can shave years off our lives. Make an effort to spend time with friends and nurture a face-to-face network instead of just connecting with people online. Proactively build friendships with people who practice healthy habits. Participating in social exercise groups or volunteering are great ways to meet healthy, like-minded individuals.

8. Have a belief system

Having some sort of faith system or spiritual practice has been shown to have health benefits. Participating in a belief system doesn’t have to mean organized religion: Okinawans believe in ancestral worship; yoga and meditation are also forms of non-religious spiritual practices. “People who feel their life is part of a larger plan and are guided by their spiritual values have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and cancer, and heal faster and live longer,” says Harold G. Koenig, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.

9. Put your family first

People in Blue Zones make family a priority and nurture supportive relationships with their loved ones. Studies have shown that the average working American parent spends just 19 minutes a day engaged in childcare. As you work on simplifying your routine, look for new, beneficial activities you can do with your children and extended family members. Complete a craft project together, get the family together for a bike ride, or involve the children in making dinner and choosing healthy foods for the family.

For more information, visit the Blue Zones web site, which features a Vitality Compass for gauging your current state of health and life expectancy.

Additional Resources

The Island Where People Live Longer
Find Purpose, Live Longer

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links

This post was included in The Homesteading Carnival, Edition #144.



Great article. The Blue

Submitted by Fred Lee on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 3:31am.

Great article. The Blue Zones speaks volumes to me. Nice job.


Wow, superb blog layout! How

Submitted by Aloe Ferox Cleanse on Fri, 02/27/2015 - 2:47pm.

Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for?

you made blogging glance easy. The total look of your web site is wonderful,
let alone the content!


An intriguing discussion is

Submitted by WEb Cash System on Thu, 03/05/2015 - 12:25pm.

An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to publish more
on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but
usually people do not discuss such issues. To the next!
Kind regards!!


What i don't realize is if

Submitted by glock back plate on Sat, 03/14/2015 - 11:04am.

What i don't realize is if truth be told how you're no longer really a lot more neatly-preferred than you might be right
now. You are so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in terms of this matter,
made me in my view believe it from a lot of numerous angles.
Its like men and women don't seem to be interested except it's one thing
to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent.

All the time handle it up!


I don't even understand how

Submitted by Free Money System on Sun, 03/15/2015 - 5:43am.

I don't even understand how I ended up right here,
however I thought this submit was good. I don't know who you
might be however certainly you're going to a well-known blogger
in the event you are not already. Cheers!


Binary alternatives iis a

Submitted by binary options trading software on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:36am.

Binary alternatives iis a reallly very simple way to trade tthe international stock, currency and commodity markets.


That is a good tip

Submitted by watch the gunman full movie on Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:14pm.

That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
Short but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.

A must read post!


Very nice post. I just

Submitted by write my essay on Mon, 04/06/2015 - 9:07pm.

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts.
In any case I'll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope
you write once more very soon!


Today, I went to the

Submitted by Original Pure Forskolin Weight Loss on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 11:31am.

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave
it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear."
She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally
off topic but I had to tell someone!


Regular moderate exercise

Submitted by knee braces on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 1:48pm.

Regular moderate exercise does not recognize the natural movement immediately ater ACL
surgery, known for their scholarship, oor othogeeks knee braces bench attachment, the bone.
But its real function, people aged 65 and older, othogeeks knee braces found what ails you yet?
Remember not to be safer and more active. I feerl really comfortable.


Enjoy spectacular sea views

Submitted by شركة نظافة فلل بالرياض on Mon, 04/20/2015 - 8:35am.

Enjoy spectacular sea views through the large pool or one of
the many terraces and relax with your luxury air conditioned
room with en suite bathroom and 4 poster bed. All the chauffeurs are very well learned in routes of Krabi and
also the near towns and suburbs. Afterwards, head approximately see the
15th century Malaspina Castle which sits on a hill
overlooking the city.


Finally the Combined policy

Submitted by https://ratevape.com/activity/p/19250/ on Tue, 04/21/2015 - 3:20pm.

Finally the Combined policy is the motor traders most appropriate
option in the quote to discuss something personally or about insurance.


I think everything said made

Submitted by miami interior design on Wed, 05/06/2015 - 12:08am.

I think everything said made a ton of sense. But, what about this?
suppose you composed a catchier post title? I ain't suggesting your content is not solid.,
but what if you added something that makes
people want more? I mean Healthy Theory is kinda
vanilla. You ought to look at Yahoo's home page and watch how they
create article titles to get viewers interested. You might add a
related video or a related picture or two to grab readers excited
about everything've got to say. Just my opinion, it could
bring your website a little livelier.


Hmm it seems like your blog

Submitted by endure beauty trial on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:48am.

Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I'll
just sum it up what I submitted and say, I'm
thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to the whole thing.

Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I'd genuinely appreciate it.


I'm gone to convey my little

Submitted by Facebook money maker online on Tue, 05/12/2015 - 4:40am.

I'm gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit
this web site on regular basis to obtain updated from latest reports.


I like it when individuals

Submitted by creative solution accounting software on Thu, 05/14/2015 - 7:37pm.

I like it when individuals come together and share opinions.
Great site, stick with it!

Real estate forums as well as consumer sites that review developers inside the island are also
good options for information. Be guaranteed to book a little while in Chianti, where you'll eat good
food, drink fine wine, and become surrounded by amazing beauty.
In fact families are finding villas placed in some of the
Algarve's most prestigious resorts are cheaper than staying in a very hotel
because same resort.


This is an additional aspect

Submitted by شركة شفط بيارات بالرياض on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 2:16am.

This is an additional aspect that needs to be looked at
closely when it comes to making sure that you're dealing with
a professional which is able to take proper the issues
that you are having. Here are a few helpful troubleshooting tips you can try before calling
for service after hours. However, today many showers
could possibly have supply around the ceiling as well as one or more walls.


So let's rapidly gone

Submitted by Small Business Insurance on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:13am.

So let's rapidly gone through a few of the various types of company insurance available and go over exactly what they cover.

He pointed out that copper was much superior to cardboard, especially as it
was going to carry water. If you'll need minor plumbing
work, call one of your local plumbers in North Dallas TX
' if at all possible, one you've caused before or one who's been known you by someone you
trust. There are numerous firms that have live operators to help you and also guide you in the much
better extent if there's any problem in your pipes or any
related equipment.


Hello! I'm at work surfing

Submitted by how to make t shirts on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:17am.

Hello! I'm at work surfing around your blog from
my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
Carry on the outstanding work!


This step is important so

Submitted by شركات عزل الاسطح on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 4:19am.

This step is important so that one knows just
what will be done. The items required to paint the walls
and ceilings are:. I also feel that this investment is fantastic now since it will soon become traditional place for everyone soon.


It's very trouble-free to

Submitted by videos xxx on Mon, 05/18/2015 - 6:04pm.

It's very trouble-free to find out any matter on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this paragraph at this site.


all the time i used to read

Submitted by 21 day fix on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 3:25am.

all the time i used to read smaller articles that as well clear their motive, and that
is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at this place.


They are very efficient that

Submitted by شركة نظافة بالخبر on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:13pm.

They are very efficient that they eat a wooden crate overnight.
You is sure to encounter the task of having to get the right
business specifically if the tariff from the services provided through
the agencies varies for some 100's of dollars. They seek their food in secret,
evading the observation of humans.


I do not know if it's just

Submitted by Watch Indian Drama on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:49pm.

I do not know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with
your website. It appears as though some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me
know if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my browser because
I've had this happen previously. Many thanks


Hmm iss anyone else

Submitted by Hadley Wood estate agents on Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:18am.

Hmm iss anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this
blog loading? I'm trying to find out if itts a problem on my end or if it's thee blog.
Any feed-back would bee grealy appreciated.


whoah this weblog is

Submitted by coque apple iphone on Fri, 05/22/2015 - 2:27am.

whoah this weblog is excellent i really like studying your
posts. Keep up the great work! You know, lots of individuals are searching
round for this information, you can aid them greatly.


An outstanding share! I have

Submitted by seo services on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:15pm.

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded
this onto a friend who was doing a little research on this.

And he actually bought me dinner due to the fact that I discovered
it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this....
Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some
time to discuss this topic here on your web site.


Saved as a favorite, I

Submitted by Garcinia Life Plus on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:18am.

Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


Hello there, I discovered

Submitted by meet a girl on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:08pm.

Hello there, I discovered your web site by the use of Google
while looking for a related matter, your site got here up,
it appears good. I've bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

Hi there, simply was alert to your weblog via Google, and located that it is
really informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels.
I'll be grateful should you proceed this in future.
Lots of other people will likely bbe benefited from your writing.


Wow, that's what I was

Submitted by _mayweather vs pacquiao live stream on Tue, 04/28/2015 - 3:34am.

Wow, that's what I was exploring for, what a data!
existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this web site.


This excellent website

Submitted by info bola on Thu, 04/30/2015 - 4:59am.

This excellent website definitely has all the info I wanted about this
subject and didn't know who to ask.


Hello there I am so happy I

Submitted by online pharmacy drug store on Sat, 05/02/2015 - 3:38am.

Hello there I am so happy I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Askjeeve
for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable
post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and
also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much
more, Please do keep up the awesome work. online pharmacy drug store


Hi there everyone, it's my

Submitted by eternity garcinia cambogia on Wed, 05/13/2015 - 3:56pm.

Hi there everyone, it's my first visit at this web site, and article is genuinely fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of articles.


Why viewers still use to

Submitted by green horizon garcinia review on Thu, 05/14/2015 - 2:09pm.

Why viewers still use to read news papers when in this technological world
the whole thing is accessible on net?

Controversy over ground-to-air missiles for the rooftops; traffic taken to a halt by Olympic lanes;
Mitt Romney saying he's not sure how it'll turn out. Trapping is the very best solution to get
rid of raccoons. In fact, some do not even know such a termite
looks like.


In the canine world, males

Submitted by murals on Fri, 05/22/2015 - 1:37am.

In the canine world, males are called dogs and
females are commonly referred to as bitches.


Here are some simple basic

Submitted by شركة تنظيف كنب بجدة on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 12:19am.

Here are some simple basic information about them that serves to
to arrest their invasion and banish them completely from your
control center. A typical cockroach has six legs with at
the very least 18 knees. Of course, these do break up over time which is when re-infestation tummy flatness,
although back.


To tell AOL for you the

Submitted by aol mail inbox on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 7:31am.

To tell AOL for you the email the subsequent time you register, click
about the "Auto AOL" button within the bottom right
on this window.


be optional'Microsoft will

Submitted by hotmail.loginssupport.org on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 7:48am.

be optional'Microsoft will be careful to not irk its users,
in fact, some ones will have experienced their quirky emails for
nigh-on many years, and they also may such as the dated Hotmail layout.
Some views on digital etiquette split down generational lines.


Hello Dear, are you

Submitted by watch full movie cake on Fri, 05/15/2015 - 8:53pm.

Hello Dear, are you genuinely visiting this webb site regularly, if so afterward youu will absolutely take pleasant


My family all the time say

Submitted by FDD founder Mark Dubowitz on Fri, 05/15/2015 - 9:58pm.

My family all the time say that I am wasting my time here at net,
except I know I am getting experience daily by reading such fastidious articles.


I absolutely love your

Submitted by the Foundation's Mark Dubowitz on Sat, 05/16/2015 - 3:50pm.

I absolutely love your website.. Very nice colors & theme.

Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I'm planning to create my own personal website
and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called.
Thank you!


Very good information. Lucky

Submitted by stop power of sale on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 10:13am.

Very good information. Lucky me I came across your site by
accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


His pitch gets their

Submitted by http://hillclimbracingcheatsz.wordpress.com on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 7:48pm.

His pitch gets their attention, and they all begin to gather around
the wagon. If not, it would be better to learn from a school instructor under the rigid
teaching syllabus. 'It almost seemed normal it happened so often',
he said.

Although somewhat cute and fuzzy, they have an inclination to wander the nation in packs, destroying my way through sight, and pooping everywhere with no respect for property rights,
comparable to American hippies. Now, termites carry this poisonous food to the whole
colony. Just since the Harijan class takes up
the pious responsibility of sweeping the city
in the same way the demigod class consumes the onus of fending off distortions and strife produced by demons.


Its not my first time to pay

Submitted by Luigi Wewege on Fri, 05/01/2015 - 12:51pm.

Its not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am browsing this web site dailly and take fastidious data from here everyday.


Inspiring story there. What

Submitted by Onyx Advertising Forum on Wed, 05/06/2015 - 3:17pm.

Inspiring story there. What occurred after?


It is meant to become a

Submitted by شركة تنظيف قصور بالرياض on Thu, 05/07/2015 - 4:27pm.

It is meant to become a pleasant experience through the moment they
take on the shopping centre, but are these claims possible
when it is unclean possesses a horrible lingering smell.
A typical cockroach has six legs with at least 18 knees.
The company will provide a completely integrated treatment program that takes your specific needs into consideration whilst offering
bug elimination services your home.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.