The world’s life expectancy is now about 68 years, although it varies greatly depending on the country (from 82.7 years in Japan to mid 40’s in several countries in Africa). Yet in most countries, there is typically less than one centenarian (a person who lives to be a hundred or more) per 5,000 people. This just shows how rare it is to live to be a hundred. So what does one need to do to join this highly exclusive club? Can we all live to be a hundred?!
It turns out that there are certain places in the world in which considerably more people live to be a hundred years old. These are called ‘Blue Zones‘. For obvious reasons, researchers have been studying the people inhabiting blue zones trying to find what makes them so special. Are they genetically more fortunate than the rest of us?
The answer turns out to be very encouraging, as lifestyle is the main factor in determining our life expectancy. In the image below, you can find what unique characterization each of the three blue zones has. The intersection of the circles reveals what they all have in common: the long-sought secret of longevity!
The people inhabiting Blue Zones share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity:
- Family is an essential part of their life.
- They don’t smoke.
- The majority of food consumed is derived from plants, so their diet is mostly plant-based (vegan) diet.
- Constant moderate physical activity is inseparable part of their lives.
- People of all ages are socially engaged.
- They consume legumes regularly.
Learn more about the study and its results by watching this fascinating 22-minute talk below by explorer and educator Dan Buettner.