Dan Buettner, a former National Geographic employee, came up with the concept of “blue zones” a few years ago: areas where people live longer than average. In the series, he talks to people in those blue zones to get the secret of longevity from them.
Dan Buettner “While I was working for National Geographic, a study came to my desk that showed that the people of the Japanese island of Okinawa had the highest life expectancy in the world and the longest healthy life. We then set up an expedition to investigate why this happened, while also looking into what If other regions elsewhere have significantly older and healthy populations.During the search, we found two more towns: Sardinia and Loma Linda, a town of about 25,000 people in California.At the same time, two more islands were added: the Greek island of Ikaria and Nicoya, a peninsula in Costa Rica.
– What do those blue areas have in common, except that they’re so far away?
Butner “Especially because the environment forces residents to live healthier lives. In the US, you have the perfect conditions to make yourself sick: everyone takes the car, you get bombarded with junk food ads, and there are very few stores that offer healthy food… And in the blue zones, People are encouraged to make good choices.Everything is close to each other, so it’s easier to get around on foot or by bike.Fresh vegetables are everywhere and the local cuisine is geared towards this: people eat mainly grains, nuts and beans, which is the diet of farmers. the family Melissa From Sardinia, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest in the world, eats the same thing every afternoon: sourdough bread, a bowl of minestrone and a small glass of red wine. This is how I want to be 100 (He laughs)”
Is aging seen more positively there than elsewhere?
Butner Sure, you can tell from the vocabulary. In Okinawa they don’t have a word for “retirement.” They talk about “ikigai,” which means “why do I get up every morning.” In Costa Rica they call it “life plan” or “life plan.” In the regions Blue, you admire your wonderful age.Those who are 100 years old do not waste their money, but still consider themselves an important part of society.This attitude helps to stay healthy for a long time.
What can Westerners who have run themselves through during their short existence learn from this?
Butner I think Western society as a whole has a lot to learn. When it comes to health, focus is quickly placed on individual responsibility: you must eat healthily, you must not smoke, and you must exercise regularly. But changing your own behavior is hard: After six to nine months, most people lose their discipline and relapse. Instead of spending money on expensive campaigns, the government would be better off implementing changes with long-term effects: building more and better bike paths, or banning cars from cities. It is our environment that shapes our daily habits, not the other way around.
Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones
Available on Netflix from August 30th
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