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blue zone diet



5 Ways to Make Your Community a Healthier Place to Call Home

One of my favorite books is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Author Dan Buettner looks at areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, with large populations of people who live past 100.

He’s taken their life lessons to create The Power 9. These nine habits create a “blueprint” to living a longer and healthier life. The interesting thing is none of the people he studied consciously followed these Power 9 or set a goal to live to be 100. They just did. Their lifestyles and communities were set up to make long life possible.

green hands

Would you say the same of yours?

My community is working on it. We are working on taking the Power 9 principles and making Springfield, MO a healthier place to live. There are a lot of exciting ideas floating around, especially after Buettner’s visit to our fair city this month. In his presentations, he gave us examples of work in other towns (and almost the entire state of Iowa) using the Power 9 to create an environment that supports overall healthy and longevity.

Do you want to make your community a healthier place to live? Here are great ways to get started from his talk:
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What You Actually Get to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet

This week, the Mediterranean Diet was put in the spotlight after a highly regarded five-year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found it offers exceptional benefits for heart health. Even the researchers admitted to changing their own diets based on their findings, and people the country and world over are taking a second look at a style of eating that has been lauded as one of the healthiest around. There’s little you can’t attribute to the Mediterranean Diet – of course there is weight loss, but it also improves fertility, reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, manages diabetes, lowers cholesterol, and more. It even adds years to your life; those in the Mediterranean, specifically Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy, live in what are known as Blue Zones, places in the world where the population outlives anyone else.

What is everyone eating who follows this healthful diet? It’s certainly not rabbit food, and it’s not even what most people consider diet food. It’s some of the freshest, most flavorful food in the world. The Mediterranean Diet is largely made up of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, while fish and seafood are also large contributors to the meal plans, followed by less dairy and poultry, and very limited meat and sweets/processed foods. Healthy fats like olive oil are used in place of butter and fresh herbs and spices are used instead of salt.

Take a culinary sneak peek at what a day on the Mediterranean Diet might look like, and consider adopting this style of eating for yourself. (Did we mention there’s wine?)
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Blue Zones Hold the Four Keys to Longevity

Seems nearly every day new reports about aging and how to slow or reverse the process hit the airwaves. As Americans, we seem to be obsessed with staying young, however, it seems we’re not going about it the right way. National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner recently gave a TED talk regarding longevity and who in the world is aging the best.

Buettner refers to the areas of the world with the healthiest and oldest people as Blue Zones. In these zones he has found commonalities that link these cultures and their longevity. One myth Buettner’s studies dispel is that longevity is genetic. Buettner explains that only 10% of how long we live is dictated by our genes, the other 90% is dictated by our lifestyle. Furthermore, Buettner debunks the ideas that effort will allow one to live past 100 and that treatments exist that can slow the aging process. After observing the Blue Zones, it’s clear that lifestyle is key to the aging process.


Buettner focused on just three of the Blue Zones to draw longevity links. The spry 100 year-old men of Sardinia, Italy, the healthy great-great-great-grandmother in Okinawa, Japan, and the American Seventh Day Adventists in California that live nearly ten more years than their fellow Americans all have four common lifestyle traits that lead to their longevity.
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