Karah's Reviews > The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
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's review
Dec 29, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read 2 times. Last read December 29, 2013 to January 18, 2014.

This book was written by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic journalist who studied aging in specific cultures. He noted that scattered across the globe, pockets of centenarians existed, and he set out to discover what these cultures did differently to increase longevity. The book is interesting to read and the findings didn't necessarily surprise me. They more reinforced the importance of living a healthy lifestyle as a preventative means, rather than trying to react to disease and injury after the fact.

Buettner points out these nine similarities that exist in each of the Blue Zones:
1. Move Naturally-- Walking is best
2. Eat until you're no longer hungry-- not when you're full
3. Avoid meat and processed foods
4. Drink red wine in moderation
5. Purpose now-- have a reason to get up each morning and feel needed in this world
6. Down Shift (take time to rest and relax)
7. Belong-- participate in a spiritual community
8. Loved ones first-- make family a priority.
9. Right Tribe-- Surround yourself with those who share Blue Zone values

Here were a few other gems. (I had bookmarked several more but Goodreads suddenly quit on me and my first and more intense review went away!)
* In America, being young is celebrated and growing old is dreaded. In the Blue Zones, the older members of society are respected and revered.
* Most Blue Zones are in sunny locations. Vitamin D is an important part of the lifestyle and may prevent certain types of cancers that most Americans die from
* Keep physically active. Centenarians in Blue Zones are often able to get up off the floor easily, and do so several times a day.
* Americans tend to emphasize biological aging, Japanese cultures focus on social, environmental aging.
* Okinawan culture is losing life expectancy as the younger generation is not as healthy as the current elders due to Western influence
* Snacking on nuts seems to reduce heart related diseases
* Vegetarians tend to live about two years longer than meat-eaters
* 100 year old Marge Jetton begins each day with a mile walk, a stationary bike ride, and some weight lifting. "I ride between six and eight miles a day, except for the Sabbath. But yesterday I only rode five because another girl was in a hurry and wanted to get on, so I'll go a little longer today."
* Dr. Ellsworth Wareham is 91 and an assistant open heart surgeon
* Americans employed full time work an average of 43 hours a week and take the shortest paid vacations in the industrialized world. Then when they do take off time, 20% stay in touch with the office. We hold working and being productive in high regard; being busy often wins us esteem. Blue Zones tend to encourage slowing down, unwinding, and de-stressing.

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