Think living a long and healthy life well into your nineties or even past one-hundred-years-old is only for those lucky few who hit the genetic lottery? Think again.
Lifestyle factors, such as the things you do every day over the long term, can add up to increase the number of quality years in your lifespan.
Look no further than the people of Blue Zones for proof of how powerful everyday habits are when it comes to staying healthy for the long haul.
The Blue Zones are regions around the world where people have very low rates of chronic disease and live longer compared to other populations.
They are located in regions of Greece, Sardinia, Costa Rica, Japan, and California, where a large number of Seventh Day Adventists reside.
Because these communities are home to the greatest number of people who live healthfully into their nineties and even past one-hundred-years-old, researchers have studied them to determine just how they do it.
Of course you don’t have to live in an actual Blue Zone to guarantee longevity. Instead you can adopt some of the well-studied lifestyle traits of these folks to promote health and longevity right where you are.
Here’s the top 5 life “hacks” of the world’s longest-living people:
Eat a Plant-rich Diet
Blue Zone residents eat a mostly plant-based diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains. Animal foods aren’t avoided; they simply eat smaller portions of meat a handful of times per month.
You don’t have to become a strict vegetarian or vegan, but it’s important to eat a variety of plant foods daily because they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation and protect you from chronic disease, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A simple rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal. Yep, every meal!
Include Healthy Fats
Eat heart healthy unsaturated and omega-3 fats in the form of olive oil, nuts and fish.
Getting enough omega-3’s helps decrease disease-causing inflammation and keeps your heart and brain healthy.
Eating enough fat also keeps you feeling fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating that leads to weight gain!
Stop Eating Before You Feel 100% Full
Avoid the clean plate club. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly gives your brain and stomach time to register that it’s had enough to eat.
Blue Zone communities avoid overeating and eating beyond feelings of fullness, which again, can help prevent weight gain.
Drink Red Wine
Enjoying a glass of red wine a day increases your antioxidant intake, which is thought to decrease inflammation and help prevent heart disease.
Moderation is key. Four ounces of wine is considered a glass, and drinking more than that is associated with negative health effects.
Move Your Body All Day Long
Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? Plain fact: it’s not good for your health to sit for extended periods of time.
Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain, obesity and increased mortality. Be sure to look for opportunities to add movement into your regular routines.
Below are some suggestions you might want to incorporate into your lifestyle:
- Stretching while you watch TV
- Taking an after-dinner walk
- Parking farther away from your destination
- Choosing stairs over elevators
- Taking standing and stretching breaks at work
- Using a stand-up workstation and fidgeting while you work (or dance!)
The world’s longest-living people live active lives that include daily physical activities, like gardening, walking and manual tasks.
How many of the above-listed habits do you follow? If you’re not doing any of the above, which one do you think you could fit into your life right now? Please leave a comment below. As always, we love to hear from you!