There are several communities around the world where people live significantly longer than the global average. Nicknamed "blue zones," these locations often have specific lifestyles and eating habits conducive to longer life.
National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner spent the past decade studying these communities, culminating in the publication of his book, The Blue Zones Solution. Here are a few of the places highlighted in this book and the foods the people there claim are responsible for their longevity:
- Okinawa, Japan: These beautiful Japanese islands have one of the largest population of centenarians in the world, with nearly six times as many people reaching 100 years old as in the U.S. Okinawans attribute their longevity to their laid-back lifestyle and eating "something from the land and something from the sea" each day.
- Loma Linda, California: This community is home to the Seventh-day Adventists, who abstain from drinking, smoking and eating meat in accordance with their religious beliefs. This abstinent lifestyle adds about 10 years to their lives on average.
- Sardinia, Italy: Sardinia is notable because men here are just as likely to reach 100 years old as women are, whereas in the rest of the world the ratio is heavily female-skewed. Sardinians say that eating about 15 pounds of sheep's cheese per year and "making love every Sunday" are responsible for their long lives.
- Ikaria, Greece: This small island follows the Mediterranean diet, which has long been associated with longevity. The island's "longevity foods" include feta cheese, lemons, sage, marjoram and goat's milk, and the residents eat far less lamb and other meat than their fellow Greeks.
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