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Nicoya Península

Experience Maximum Healthy Living

Okinawa : Japan | Aug 12, 2010
By Debbie Nicholson

Learn the Secrets of living like those in the blue zones

Journalist Dan Buettner and National Geographic uncovered the long held claims of people living easily to ninety years old or more. The places where people actually achieve this without the use of medications contaminating their bodies are called blue zones. Several legends were created based on the long-life secrets of these areas.

The inhabitants of the blue zones seem to have a special life recipe. Did they discover some long hidden secret among ancient scrolls of the past? Or was it some kind of scientific discovery they kept silent for years, only to be passed on to future generations?

Journalist Dan Buettner in cooperation with National Geographic and a team of world’s top experts in longevity have set out on the pursuit of the hidden truths of the blue zones.

They have identified five blue zones in the world:

• In Italy, the Island of Sardinia
• In Japan, the Island of Okinawa
• In California, the city of Loma Linda
• In Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula
• In Greece, the Island of Icaria has

A glance into the Costa Rica Blue Zone

The Nicoya Peninsula is located very deep in the rainforest. Here are some facts about this area: The water there is very harsh. However, since it contains a lot of calcium and magnesium, it helps making bones stronger. Drinking water is a fundamental fact of life. In Nicoya Peninsula, they do not have nursing homes for their elderly: they remain at home with their families, due to the importance of strong family bonds. In this area, people just go to their backyard, pick a fruit off a tree and eat it (we can do the same thing in certain areas). Many people have fruit trees in their backyard. They grind corn by hand using stones. No food processors here. This is a natural exercise. We have become lazy to the point that I really do not remember the last time anyone I knew used a flour sifter, it’s just easier to go to the store and buy it pre-sifted. The people of this area eat a big breakfast and then just have small meals throughout the day.

The greatest secrets of this long healthy living have now been uncovered. The great secrets that enable this unbelievable rate of living years and health are the following:

• Family is first
• No smoking at all or at least, a vast majority does not smoke.
• Food is from plants: hardly any meat is consumed.
• Remaining physically active is a must.
• There is a high consumption of legumes and nuts, including clover, lentils, soy and peanuts. Let us not forget the Wisteria and Kentucky Coffee tree, which are also legumes.
• Basically, this is their lifestyle: a healthy diet, exercise, low stress, family, and religion. The motto is: live your life fully.

Healthy Diet

According to people in the blue zones, a healthy diet certainly does not consist of high fat foods, sugary foods or even the Big Mac at McDonald's. Their diet consists of massive amounts of vegetables, fish, fruit and nuts. Consumption of sugar, fat, processed foods and meat is considerably reduced. However, most of us today consume those foods in large amounts.

There are no great dietary secrets: they just by nature and habit give healthy foods to their bodies. We shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that they have very little major diseases, if not at all. Researches for cancer, diabetes and heart disease show that the major component in any treatment, whether conventional or alternative, is a healthy diet, which has been proved to help halt these serious diseases. It is not a surprise that people in the blue zones achieve life spans of ninety years old and over and they are far healthier than other people throughout the world

Exercise

People in the blue zones do not have a stair master or a membership of the local health club. For them, those kinds of exercise devices would simply be unnatural. Their exercise comes from their daily routine. The activities they perform daily, such as walking a lot, climbing mountains and cultivating the land on which they live, represent an excellent source of exercise. They do not run hectically or do power yoga. They just perform daily activities at a normal, relaxed pace. By using their muscles on a daily basis they are actually burning their calories and providing good blood circulation. They are physically fit and medications are simply not needed.

Recent news stated that people who just sit around for hours are actually cutting down their life span. Research has indicated that sedentarism and bad food choices are associated to type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

If we have the habit of consuming junk foods (processed, high fat and sugars) and then get very little if no exercise at all, it is no wonder that our life spans are decreasing. Unlikely, people in the blue zones eat healthy and just through day to day chores manage to get proper exercise without breaking a sweat or donating money to the local health club.

Low Amounts of Stress

I know it seems far-fetched, considering the way we live our lives, but people in the blue zones have actually found a way to reduce stress. Basically, their foundation for low stress is living a truly happy life, characterized by family bonds and a sense of self worthiness, encompassed by their spirituality and adequate amounts of sleep. Basically, if we are happy with whom we are and the role we play in life then the rest falls into place. If we are not happy, we need to re-evaluate our lives, looking deep down into our soul and find what makes us truly happy, a place where we feel we belong in life. Like I said before, once this is achieved, the rest falls into place. We start to get more daily activities, consume healthier foods and make sure we get enough rest, so that we are not just lagging our bodies throughout the week.

Journalist Dan Buettner has written a book named The Blue Zones, in which he describes four main steps to help us create a blue zone:

1. Move naturally: your home should go along with the natural way you move. Concentrate on things you like to do, such as gardening, walking, swimming or spending time with family and friends.

2. Express your ideas with a positive attitude and allow time for rest.

3. Eat wisely: forget those diet trends that force you to consume 20% less than normal. Do not consume processed foods and have a few glasses of red wine daily. Please remember: do not over indulge.

4. Be part of the right tribe: put those you love first and try and reconnect with your religion or connect to one you wish to explore.

Here are some other helpful tips:

Use television the old fashioned way. Nowadays, people maintain a love relationship with the remote: if it gets lost, they call 911 to locate it.

Unwind each day by taking a nap, meditating, or simply walk alone quietly to gather yourself and relieve the stress.

Go to a farmers’ market and buy some fresh fruit and vegetables to enjoy in your meal.

The glass is half full, not half empty. Try to look at the positive side of things.

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