There are a few unassuming communities on earth that are home to an uncommonly high number of centenarians (people that live past 100 years old). These areas became known as Blue Zones and have piqued the interest of demographers and doctors alike as they race to study what it is that makes people living within blue zones live abnormally long lives.
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the 20 regions of Italy. Residents of this island live a traditional healthy lifestyle. To this day, the residents of Sardinia still fish and harvest the food they eat. The Sardinian diet consists of wholegrain bread, fruit and vegetables, with only 5% of the Sardinian diet being meat. Most notably, Sardinians eat a lot of pecorino cheese which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan located on the Ryukyu island chain southwest of the island. Once known as the land of immortals, the island has built a reputation for being home to the world’s longest living women. Okinawans have eaten an almost completely plant-based diet for their entire lives, with a particular emphasis on sweet potato and soy bean. The fermented soy foods often eaten in Okinawa have particularly contributed to healthy intestinal ecology and long lifespans amongst the island’s population.
Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The island has historically been the target of invasions by Roman, Persian and Turkish forces which has driven the island’s native residents further inland from the coast. This resulted in an isolated culture that is rich in tradition and unique lifestyles. 1 in 3 Ikarians live to their 90s. Ikarians eat a variation of the popular mainland Mediterranean diet, which mainly includes vegetables, whole grains and olive oil. When the Ikarians do eat meat, it is nearly always fish which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and great for gut health.
So, what are the common threads between lifestyle and longevity..?
All of the people living in the above mentioned blue zones live a slow and easy going lifestyle where small, tight-knit communities spend time together. Their diets are each made up of 95% vegetables with a particular emphasis on meat and dairy that contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish and goat’s cheese).
Although most Blue Zone cultures live isolated lifestyles – away from the busy 9-5 work schedules and tempting fast food drive-throughs – it doesn’t mean that you can’t change your daily diet in small ways in order to improve your lifespan. There is one simple way you can incorporate a healthy habit into your routine – add a teaspoon of 100% Pure Emu Oil to your breakfast cereal to boost your omega 3 intake!