Blue Zones: 9 Lessons from the Healthiest People in the World

Blue Zones: 9 Lessons from the Healthiest People in the World

Studies of the healthiest people in ‘Blue Zones’ around world, found that while their locations were geographically many miles apart, there were common diet and lifestyle factors that tied these people together. As we approach the New Year it can be tempting to embark on a new fad diet or make unrealistic fitness plans that are only likely to crash and burn before January’s out. Instead of getting sucked into ‘New Year New You’ extremes, try and work some healthier habits into your routine that will last long term.

 

Here are nine lessons from the world’s healthiest ‘Blue Zones’ inhabitants to kick start your New Year.

 

MOVE MORE

You won’t find the world’s healthiest people at the gym pumping iron, or training for an ultra-marathon. But nor will you find spending excessive time bingeing on Netflix. They live in active environments. Many of them work the land and live without the modern technologies that allow us to become lazy. So next time you need to pick up some essentials, walk instead of driving and identify ways you can build more natural activity into your everyday life.

 

HAVE PURPOSE

Having a purpose to your day or reason to keep going is reportedly worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy. What was your reason for getting out of bed this morning? What’s your purpose? Figuring out the answer might just improve your life expectancy.

 

SELF-CARE

Coping with stress is essential to leading a healthy life. People in the Blue Zones have rituals and routines to combat stress, such as happy hour in Sardinia, a daily nap in Ikaria, or a prayer for ancestors in Okinawa. Try making time for meditation in your routine, or schedule regular breaks for self-care.

 

EAT UNTIL YOU’RE 80% FULL

A great tip for you if you’re planning to lose weight and improve your relationship with food. ‘Hara hachi bu,’ an Okinawan mantra said before meals, reminds diners to stop when they are 80% full. Overeating is a key cause of obesity, so eat slowly and chew thoroughly giving your brain time to recognise when your stomach is getting full. People in the Blue Zones also often eat their smallest meal of the day last.

 

PLANT-BASED DIETS

It’s plant-based elements that link the diets of the healthiest nations. Beans, including fava, black, lentils and soy are at the centre of most centenarian’s diets. Meat is eaten on average only five times per month so think carefully about the quality and quantity of meat you’re eating.

 

WINE O’CLOCK

The longest-lived people in the world (except the Seventh Day Adventists) actually tend to drink small amounts of alcohol, typically in a social environment. So, cancel your weekend binge (sorry) and enjoy one or two glasses of wine (choose a low-sugar option) a couple of times a week with a healthy meal and people you love.

 

HAVE FAITH

Of those interviewed, 258 out of 263 centenarians were part of a faith-based community. In fact, it has been shown that attending these faith-based services each week could add upwards of four years to your life expectancy.

 

FAMILY FIRST

Those that lived longest in the Blue Zones kept ageing family members in the home or nearby and put the care of their children and family members at the top of their priority list. It’s not surprising that having loved ones around to help look after you can increase your life expectancy. And ‘family’ doesn’t always have to mean blood relatives.

 

THE RIGHT CROWD

People living in the Blue Zones were often part of social circles, by birth, or by choice, that encouraged and supported healthy behaviours. So choose friends who exhibit healthy behaviours, as smoking, obesity and even loneliness can be contagious, research suggests.

 

Dan Buettner is an explorer, award-winning journalist and author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. The five ‘Blue Zones’ are: Barbagia region of Sardinia; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan

 



AILSA HICHENS

 

Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.

 

Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.

 

Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.

 

To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

NIKKI ANDRIANI

 

Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.

 

Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.

 

A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

STÉPHANIE ACHAR

Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.

 

Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.

 

To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.

INNA WEARN

Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.

 

Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.

 

Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!

 

To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.

ANIA MASON

 

Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.

 

After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.

 

Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 

 

To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.