Blue Zones

There are a few areas of the world where people regularly live to be 100 years old.
They happen to call them Blue Zones.
Not because they are full of blue haired people.
But because someone just circled the areas in blue marker on a map.
There are five such communities and they are in Italy, Greece, California, Japan and Costa Rica.
Scientists have studied what it could possibly be that allows or causes the residents in these locales live to be so old.
They have narrowed it down to a few things.
Among them are food, exercise, and socializing.
All of these places are somewhat remote.
Isolated slightly from mainstream culture and society.
I personally feel it may have more to do with the food than anything else.
There is likely no chance these people consume any processed food whatsoever.
Everything they eat is from the land, or made directly from ingredients from the land.
Whether it be protein, dairy, vegetables, wheat, rice, etc.
Not a chemical to be found in anything.
Not a saturated or trans fat in the mix.
Just pure, unadulturated vitamins, minerals, proteins, nutrients.
For we are what we eat.
I truly believe that what we put into us ultimately becomes and defines us.
My own diet could use some improvement.
I dearly love a few potato chips in the late afternoon.
I bet none of those Blue Zones have those.
I also love the occasional frozen meal in a box.
I definitely know none of those Blue Zones have those.
I bet there are no grocery stores on such a massive scale as we see here in North America.
Where we can find anything and everything and if we can’t, check the frozen food aisle.
No, their isolation has been their blessing.
And whether they want to live to be 100 or not, that is the gift they have been given in exchange for living so healthily and mindfully, consciously or not.
Quality of life comes to mind, because who wants to live to be anywhere near 100 if they are confined to a bed 24/7.
I believe all of these Blue Zone communities have a good quality of life, so much so they are mobile and lucid and there is not much dementia or even a walker or cane to be found.
I read recently that the human body itself cannot live much more than 115 years.
That has something to do with senescence, telomeres, and the like.
Our cell structure cannot sustain us for any longer than that, all things being equal.
Notwithstanding the French woman who recently passed away at the age of 122 years.
The rest of us mere mortals have only 115 years at most.
That is a lot.
And quality of life plays into it in a big way.
In my experience and observations, once we enter our 90’s, things change dramatically.
We either have mobility or our minds.
Not both.
What would we choose?
It doesn’t matter.
For our genes and our DNA have already chosen for us.
And what we choose to do with and to our bodies decides the rest.
The Blue Zone people, (there should be a movie), often also have alcohol.
Except the California group, as their religion dictates they don’t have it.
I do enjoy a small glass of fermented grapes at happy hour, sometimes at dinner, and sometimes a night cap as well.
I say it kills any bad bacteria.
But everything in moderation, right?
Except for chemicals and processed foods.
I believe that living naturally, as these communities do, is the key factor in their longevity.
Not definitively and scientifically proven, as the studies are ongoing.
But a big part, I have no doubt.
Why a population in Africa, or France, or India, or Canada, or the U.K. isn’t among the Blue Zones is anyone’s guess.
All of these Blue Zone locales are fairly warm in climate, and near the ocean as well.
It seems to have nothing to do with the Happiness Chart, as cold climes such as Finland and Sweden and Denmark seem to top those every year.
So happiness has nothing to do with healthiness or living longer.
I don’t know if any of my habits or food or imbibements may or may not contribute to living close to 100.
I do try to get in a 30 minute walk every day, as well as a 20 minute yoga session.
I take a double dose of Vitamin D every day, some joint health supplements and a calcium tablet for good measure as well.
I start the day with a small glass of a “smoothie” – a concentrated blast of (hopefully) good ingredients.
Then a coffee – good for antioxidents!
Then oatmeal – even though processed, it can’t be that bad.
Then a cup of fruit.
Then in the afternoon some protein in the form of an egg or nuts; more calcium in the form of cheese or yogurt; a glass of vegetable juice; and a snack or grain in the late afternoon.
Dinner is protein and veggies in the form of steamed or sauteed broccoli or a salad.
An herbal tea finishes off the day, and the happy hour glass of wine or two.
I don’t know if what I do is right or wrong and one will never know until a lot goes right or something goes wrong.
In the end, all any of us can do is be mindful and cognizant and aware of each and everything that goes into and onto our bodies and hope that our quality of life is present until the end.

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