At our latest INSPIREDtalk we heard from Dan Buettner, who's life's work has been identifying and studying extraordinary populations around the world and unlocking their secrets to longevity and happiness. Read our key takeaways and watch the video below!
At this INSPIREDtalk we heard from Dan Buettner, author of "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way", who works to find the path to long life and health by studying the world’s “Blue Zones”; communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age.
Read the top takeaways and watch the video below.
Dan Buettner's Top INSPIREDtalk Takeaways
Blue Zones Power 9: Lifestyle Habits of the World’s Healthiest, Longest-Lived People
1. Move Naturally
The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. 80% Rule
“Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Plant Slant
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.
6. Wine at 5
People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. Loved Ones First
Successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (it lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (they’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
9. Right Tribe
The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”– groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.
Watch the full INSPIREDtalk below!
About the Speaker | Dan Buettner
Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and a New York Times bestselling author. He discovered the five places in the world—dubbed Blue Zones—where people live the longest, healthiest lives. His articles about these places in The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic are two of the most popular for both publications.
Buettner now works in partnership with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities. Blue Zones Projects are well-being initiatives that apply lessons from the Blue Zones to entire communities by focusing on changes to the local environment, public policy, and social networks. The program has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date.
His books, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, and The Blue Zones of Happiness were all national bestsellers. Find the latest recipes here. Learn about wine here. Learn more about Dan here.
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Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is the authority on how to crush your inner critic so that you can live your life with purpose, fulfillment, and True Success™. As one of America’s most-trusted celebrity psychologists, Dr. E has helped Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola as well as being a regular contributor to the TODAY show, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, Forbes and The New York Times.