Why some people live so much longer than the average is still a mystery. Everyone has an opinion but nobody really knows. There are those who swear it is all about diet. Try the Keto, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, or Vegan, diet and you are sure to live longer. Really? Nobody really knows for sure. It’s just people pushing their own agenda. The question people should be asking is what is Blue Zone longevity and why should you care?
If you want to live a long and healthy life you should care. Who among us wants to spend the last years of our lives reverting back to our childhood? What do I mean by that?
Well, when you are a senior with poor quality of life that might lead to a host of diseases you will eventually find yourself in much the same situation you were in when you were just a toddler. Somebody will have to feed you, dress you, bathe you, change your diaper, and tuck you in every night.
If science is right and the average capacity of the average human body is 90 years, what’s the point of striving for that lofty mark if you are unable to enjoy a reasonable quality of life? In reality, many people don’t make it that far when you consider the average life expectancy is only around 78.
So what’s going on anyway? Why can’t we all live to be 95 or 100 and live in style and pizzazz? Who says we have to be bed-ridden and looked after for the final years of our lives whether we like it or not?
IS DIET REALLY THE KEY?
Diet has long been considered the key to living a long life. If you eat organic food some say, you are sure to live longer. Avoid all carbohydrates and go Keto or Paleo and you will live longer for sure. At least that’s what 10,000 books would have us believe.
Avoid all meat, milk, eggs, and processed food and you will practically live forever.
Sure you will.
No, you won’t.
Nobody really knows.
It makes no sense to tell the whole world they should go on a specific diet if they want to live longer. How can anyone possibly make that statement? It’s not possible because everybody is different. Everybody is impacted by certain foods differently.
Why is it so important for vegetarians or disciples of the Keto diet to look down on every other diet but their own? Just because a certain diet works for them doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.
For some people, a vegetarian diet might be perfect, and for others, a protein diet might work well. However, for most people trying to eat a diet of mostly fat and protein is difficult to maintain.
Some people can eat all they want and never gain weight. Why? Probably because they have a different metabolism than most people. Some people can walk past a chocolate cake and gain five pounds for the same reason.
One day a reporter asked a 110-year-old man what it was that he ate that helped him live to such a ripe old age.
“Well,” he answered. ” I really like sausages and waffles and eat them pretty much every day.”
I loved that answer.
In one fell swoop, he made a mockery of the famous Keto Diet and the dangers of eating carbohydrates and processed food.
Then there was the woman in Italy who developed Anemia when she was barely 20 years old. Her doctor told her to eat three eggs a day and it would help her. So for the rest of her life, she ate three eggs a day.
It wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that when she died she was 117 and the oldest person in the world. It was estimated she ate well over 100,000 eggs in her lifetime. So much for eggs being bad for you. Not only did she live to be 117, she never had live-in help until she was 115.
Pass the eggs, please. Make that a five-egg omelet.
MAYBE EXERCISE IS THE KEY
Since the London Marathon began in 1981, 12 participants have died. In 2018, Master chef semi-finalist Matt Campbell collapsed and died when temperatures hit record highs.
A few months later, two men died after crossing the finish line of the Cardiff Half Marathon. They were 25 and 32 and went into cardiac arrest right after crossing the finish line within three minutes of each other.
Between 2000 and 2010 the New England Journal ofMedicine looked at runners who completed marathons of half-marathons and reported that 59 runners had heart attacks and 42 died. However, to put things in perspective, the study included 11 million runners.
The stats are even more telling for triathlons. Researchers checked out data on triathlon participants between 1985 and 2016. During that time frame, 135 people died suddenly or had a cardiac arrest. The average age of those that died was 47 and 87 percent were male.
It’s not to say that exercise is a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s excellent for overall body conditioning except when it’s taken to the extreme. Regular, enjoyable exercise certainly plays a hand in living longer, but it’s not the only reason.
THE BLUE ZONE
As you may have guessed, living a long, healthy life is a combination of doing everything right. There are five Blue Zones in the world where the people seem to have it figured out and routinely live to be 90 or 95 and often over 100 years old.
The main thing to remember here is that they are not just living longer, they are living longer with a high quality of life with very little in the way of the diseases that haunt much of the rest of the world.
THE FIVE BLUE ZONES
(1)The Italian island of Sardinia
(3)Loma Linda, California
(4)Costa Rica’s isolated the Nicoya Peninsula
(5)Ikaria, an isolated Greek island.
Everything boils down to lifestyle. The people in the blue zones have several things in common even though they are thousands of miles apart. They live lives that include a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a low-stress life.
Their lives hinge around family, purpose, religion, and meaning. When you look at that last sentence, it should give hope to everyone. Just perhaps longevity and quality of life can be greatly improved by being more in touch with the more meaningful aspects of life.
Something happened along the road of life that made many of us forget the importance of family, living your life with purpose and meaning. Also practicing your belief in a higher power, whatever it may be.
So maybe it’s not complicated medicine and modern technological therapies that are the secret to a long life as so many people assume.
BLUE ZONE DIET
So, what the heck is a healthy diet anyway? It appears that it’s a diet that leans heavily toward vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and low in meat, sugar, and fat. Bye, bye Keto, Paleo, and Atkins Diet.
Also, most of the blue zone population drinks red wine with their meal. It’s not that complicated. Eat the good stuff like fruits, vegetables, and fish and ditch the meat, fat, and sugar.
There’s a reason why heart disease and diabetes are pretty much 100% attributed to years of being overweight along with a poor diet.
There have also been thousands of studies that documented the severity of major diseases that include Alzheimer’s and cancer can be prevented by a healthy diet.
It’s no wonder that people living in the blue zone suffer from 50% less heart disease and 20% less cancer than people in the USA. There are more healthy people in the blue zone over 90 than anyplace in the world.
BLUE ZONE EXERCISE
Regular exercise is also common across all the blue zones. But not the exercise we are accustomed to in North America. They don’t put the pedal to the metal and run and don’t visit fitness centers three times a week.
Their exercise comes as a normal part of their daily routine. They climb mountains, work the land, walk through the hills and use their bodies as they perform daily tasks. Their exercise is easy and relaxing as opposed to going as fast as you can.
When they perform these everyday routines they are working their muscles, circulating blood, and burning calories. For the most part, they are a hardy, healthy people that use their everyday routine to keep them fit and alert. Even just moderate exercise like this is enough to break down toxins and waste, and in the process, fight disease.
Sure there are people in North America who live to be 90. The problem is, many of them are frail and weak, sitting in wheelchairs and filled full of numerous medications. On the contrary, the people in the blue zone who are 90 or 100 years old live healthy active lives and are medication-free until the very end.
THE MESSAGE IS SIMPLE
Is there a message in all this that’s not too complicated and should give us all hope that it’s not too late? Yes, there is. If we are generally happy with our lives and interact with others more frequently we will lower our stress levels.
People who are in a constant state of stress have rivers of cortisol inundating their bodies. There is a huge danger in the long term effects that can be very dramatic. There is normally a huge spike in blood pressure, and increasing the onset and severity of many major diseases including heart disease.
Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts. It’s not about working out hard one day and then doing nothing for the next six. Eating healthy is not putting a few vegetables on top of a greasy pizza.
You can’t repent spiritually one day and figure that it will eradicate decades of stress and anger. If you want to live a long and healthy life, it requires a daily and constant lifestyle of enriching both your body and your mind.
Make exercise fun and not a burden. Find the physical activity that you love and do it often. Experiment with your food choices and look for ways to make healthy food taste amazing. Share your low-stress life with others and get plenty of sleep. Adopt these few things as a regular part of your lifestyle and you can indeed extend longevity and improve quality of life.
So the next time someone asks you what is the Blue Zone Diet and why should you care, you can share these words of wisdom with them and hopefully inspire them to make all the right choices that will give them a far better opportunity to live a long and healthy life.
There are many books on the Blue Zone that you might find interesting and helpful.
ALSO, READ THIS WEBSITE POST: HIGH PROTEIN LOW CARB DIET