blue zones

Blue Zones


A look at Costa Rica, Loma Linda, Sardinia, Okinawa


affect estimate as opposed to
genes longevity account (2)
globe spot (3) centenarian
dictate lifestyle disproportionate
distill de facto methodically
tortilla arguably counterpart
vigor papaya no such thing
wield calcium citrus fruit
bone process loaded (2)
artery machete property (2)
scrub credit (3) antioxidant
fuel (2) peninsula sense of purpose
tofu based on more likely
relieve estrogen concentration
phyto- intensity conservative





Genes vs. Lifestyle

How we live affects how long we live, and how healthy we’ll be as we age. By most estimates, lifestyle accounts for 70% of our longevity. Genes are responsible for the rest.

Even the healthiest lifestyle and the best genes will get you so far. We’ll take you to longevity hotspots around the globe to find the secrets they hold about long life.

Dan Butner is also looking for centenarian hotspots — not in long lived families — but in places in the globe where a disproportionate amount of people live a long time.

Blue Zones

He calls them “Blue Zones”, and he’s found them in Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, California.

“And because longevity is dictated by our lifestyle, as opposed to our genes, we believe that by going to these Blue Zones and methodically looking at what these people do, we can distill out a de facto formula for longevity.”

Costa Rica

On the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, men who reach 60 are four times as likely to live to a hundred as their counterparts in the United States or Europe.

Families are close here. Hard work is the norm. And there’s no such thing as retirement. This eighty year old has the vigor of a fourty year old.

Healthy Diet

These Costa Ricans also ear a healthy diet: plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables like papaya and citrus fruits. And the tortillas they eat are made with a special process that produces more calcium, helping to keep bones strong in old age.

Conchita is a good example: she’s a hundred years old, walks where she needs to go, and can wield a machete.

In Sardinia, Buettner says the local wine has special properties. “It has the highest levels of polypheonols, these artery scrubbing antioxidants, anywhere in the world.”


In Okinawa, Buettner credits “ikigai”, or sense of purpose. “They know why they’re on this planet. If their ikigai is a karate master, they continue to fuel the same passions.”

Okinawans also eat a low-fat diet rich in fish, fruits, and vegetables, and loaded with tofu. “I know tofu is a strange food for people, but it’s arguably the world’s most perfect food, high in protein, low in fat, full of minerals.

And it also contains something called phytoestrogen, which has been shown to lower your chances to get a heart attack, reduce your chances of getting breast cancer.”

Loma Linda

In Loma Linda, Buettner points to clean living and a stress-relieving Sabbath.

“What then shall we say brothers?”

“Loma Linda has the highest concentration of Seven Day Adventists, and they’re conservative Christians, a Methodist, which means they’re not drinking, they’re not smoking, taking 24-hours off every week to de-stress, get their exercise.”


Buettner says the Blue Zones offer a recipe for healthy living that could add eight good years to your life. And he offers this advice:

“Eat a plant-based diet, mostly plants. Number two, regular, low-intensity exercise. And number three, invest in family and friends.”

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1. Genes are more important then lifestyle to live a long, healthy life. Is this correct or incorrect?

2. Do all very long-lived people live in the United States?

3. Only medical scientists working in laboratories know the secrets of longevity. True or false?

4. What are the characteristics of the lifestyle in the Costa Rican village?

5. These old people live in nursing homes or retirement communities and need help. Yes or no?

6. Do Sardinians like Coca-Cola? What do they say about Sardinia?

7. What is ikigai?

8. Who lives in Loma Linda, California? Do they like beer and whiskey?

9. Dan Buettner’s recipe is . . . . .
A. Do you know any very old people? Did they give any advice on living a long life?

B. Are there parts in your country where people live very long? What are their secrets?

C. Does the news media feature long-lived people?

D. What are the secrets to longevity, according to what you see, read and hear?

E. What will happen in the future?

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