Last week I wrote an article titled, Top 11 Reasons Why Living in Sardinia, Italy Rocks and my eleventh reason why I thought living in Sardinia is the bee’s knee’s is that Sardinia is one of the world’s healthiest places to live. Pretty fantastic, no?
I’ve dug a little deeper into the study of World’s Healthiest Places to Live and have learned that American explorer Dan Buettner, (who had cycled his way all over the world a few times) had started a study in demographics and longevity thus beginning his research into “the blue zones,” his idea of cultures that have the longest life expectancy.
He found himself in Sardinia at the beginning of the study and soon realized that Sardinia has, and always has had a large population of centenarian’s in the world. It is in these ‘blue zones’ that people reach the age of 100, ten times more than those in the United States.
In 2004, Dan Buettner and a team of scientists and researchers, went to the five ‘blue zones,’ to study and identity lifestyle characteristics, diet and physical well-being of those that live to a hundred years.
The Five Blue Zones are:
Loma Linda, California
Nicoya, Costa Rica
They found that each region shares the same characteristics despite culture differences and have appropriately named it Power 9.
The Power 9 shows you how to live longer, healthier and happier.
- Just Move – Come on, just walk. Your body will thank you for it. Centenarians don’t sit around waiting for the world to come knocking, they instead go out and seek it. In Sardinia the shepherds still rome and the cheapest way from A to B is by foot.
- Purpose Now – Why do you wake up in the morning? What is your purpose today? Find your purpose in your life and start living it.
- Down Shift – Find the time to connect with yourself either by taking a walk, running a marathon, meditating or cycling. Find a healthy place to remove life’s stress.
- 80% Rule – Stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. Eat your big meal for lunch, leaving smaller meals for the evening.
- Plant Slant – Limit meat to two serves a week, each serving the size of a deck of cards. Incorporate more beans like: fava, black beans, soy and lentils into your diet and you could also live to see one hundred.
- Wine @ 5 – Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. Scientists have discovered that by drinking 1-2 glasses of Sardinian Cannonau, your chances of making it to one hundred increases. However, scientists state that it’s not okay to save your glasses for the weekend and have fourteen in a row.
- Belong – Research shows that attending faith-based services four times a month will add 4-14 years of life.
- Loved Ones First – Put your family first. Bring ailing and elderly parents close, care for them. Studies show that blood pressure will decrease and happiness levels increase when caring for an aging loved one.
- Right Tribe – Find your tribe or group of people who support healthy lifestyles. This one seems easy but more often than not we find ourselves surrounded by negative and depressing people. Studies find that if we hang with depressed people we in turn will end up depressed. Let’s find the happiness!
After reading the Power 9 I decided to take the Vitality Compass – Years you’re gaining/losing because of your habits quiz.
Here are my results:
It is expected that I will live to 85 years of age.
My biological age is 35.4 (pretty accurate).
Healthy life expectancy age is 73.8.
If I were to lead a somewhat ‘more’ healthy lifestyle (like giving up the cigarettes) I could add another 3.7 years to my life. I’m hoping that just living in one of the blue zones that I will make it to 85 years of age, but that is still another 49 years away.
Almost five years ago, I can remember my future husband telling me “when you come to Sardinia, your body will change.” And I can remember feeling and being so insulted, wondering what’s wrong with my body now.
He was right.
My body did change, but I also changed. I now found myself in mountainous terrain without a license to drive. I walked and still walk everywhere, uphill! (I actually gave up driving many years ago, to the restrain of family and friends. I thought in a society about getting going, money, poverty and the will to travel, why did I need a car? I made an economic choice to not own a car. I wanted to get going, I wanted to travel, so I got rid of mine, and haven’t owned a car since 2005, but have driven.) I am extremely fond of the local fruit and vegetables that Sardinia produces annually. From the wild asparagus and mushrooms, to the local farmers selling fresh spinoso sardo or artichokes, apples, eggplant, figs, really the list can go on.
I vowed when I moved to Sardinia that I will eat and buy only within a 100 mile radius. My fruit and veg are grown 10k away, the cheese I buy comes from a local Sardinian shepherd just around the corner (sometimes delivered straight to our door) and the wine, that’s the best part right? Two glasses a day. It’s grown and produced so close to me, it may as well be mine.
I have succeeded in eating and buying within that radius.
My hope is to reach a ripe old age of (in)sanity, where I can still read and get my two glasses of wine in a day.
I have found my isolated, island paradise where I can live to one hundred.
How many steps will you take to reach one hundred?