Where Do People Live the Longest? 

Socializing with friends is part of what makes the people in Sardinia, Italy have such long lifespans.

Villagrande is a small village on the island of Sardinia in Italy. The population is between 2,000-3,000 people. Out of that relatively small population, six people are over 100 years old. That is an incredible amount of 100 year-olds in one small village. Villagrande is in what is known as a blue zone. Blue zones are communities where people tend to live much longer, healthier lives than people in other communities. These blue zones include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.  

Why exactly do people in these communities live such long and healthy lives? This is a question that journalist and explorer Dan Buettner has studied for years. He has found these communities have many things in common. Learning about these traits can possibly help people in other communities live long, healthy lives.  

One of the key traits of blue zones is what people eat. The diets of many of these communities include largely plant-based diets of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When they do eat protein, they tend to be fresh fish, rather than red meat. In many blue zones, it is traditional to eat a large meal during the daytime, and then a much smaller meal at night. 

Another important aspect of blue zones is a sense of community and socialization. In Loma Linda, California, many of the residents share the religion and principles of the Seventh Day Adventist church. In Okinawa, Japan women belong to a moai, or a group of five close friends who meet to talk, share advice, and support each other. The moai helps people feel like they are not alone. There are more 100-year-old women in Okinawa than any other place in the world.   

One last thing blue zones have in common is that people there get plenty of exercise and sleep. Nicoya, Costa Rica has many outdoor activities that its residents engage in. People in Sardinia walk an average of five miles a day. In Ikaria, Greece, people take daily naps to make sure they get enough sleep.  

Learning from people in blue zones, everyone can build habits that will help them to have a long, healthy life. 

What Do You Think? What habits of blue zone communities do you want to start in your life? 

Photo Credit: Brigitte Protzel/mauritius images GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo