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100 Years to Live: What the Blue Zones Teach Us About Health & Longevity

100 Years to Live: What the Blue Zones Teach Us About Health & Longevity

Are you ready to take charge of your health? Schedule your free 20-minute discovery call with our New Patient Coordinator to see how you can become a patient at MaxWell Clinic and start your healing journey today.

Have you seen the Netflix series “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”?
These are just a few of the captivating scenes that have inspired millions of Americans searching for a healthier life. Frustrated by our own chronic health issues and declining life expectancy, the idea that certain populations seem to have discovered the secret to longevity is intriguing, to say the least.

And it’s incredibly hopeful at best.

What if we could harness these secrets for ourselves, our families, and our communities?

MaxWell’s dietitian, Alisson Kothera, RD and Mary Scalf, PA-C have always enjoyed traveling and experiencing new cultures. They’re both fascinated by the Blue Zones and what their lessons mean for patients and their health.

Okinawan centenarians crouch and lift themselves off the floor like limber teenagers. Sardinian seniors make the daily climb up and down hundreds of mountainous stairs to church. Groups of mixed generations gather to eat, laugh, care for each other, and play games.

Watch Alisson and Mary in this webinar as they dive into the Blue Zones: 

  • Learn how to improve your environment so you can feel your best and age gracefully
  • Discover what activities and habits support longevity
  • Find out what foods to eat and what foods to avoid to support a long and vibrant life
  • Learn why longevity is not onlyabout what you eat

It’s never too late for a fresh start. If you want to live a longer life, and truly live it well, tune in to this webinar.

Blue Zones: Unlocking the Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life

Blue Zones are remarkable regions around the world where people tend to live exceptionally long and healthy lives, often well into their hundreds. These areas have attracted the attention of researchers and health enthusiasts alike, as they offer valuable insights into what contributes to longevity and well-being. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating secrets of Blue Zones and how their lifestyles can inspire us to lead healthier lives.

The Blue Zone Hotspots

Blue Zones have been identified in various parts of the world, including:

  • Okinawa, Japan: Inhabitants of Okinawa have some of the highest life expectancies in the world.
  • Sardinia, Italy: The region of Sardinia is renowned for its high concentration of centenarians.
  • Loma Linda, California: Loma Linda is home to a community of Seventh-day Adventists who often surpass the average American lifespan.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: This Central American region boasts one of the world’s lowest mortality rates.
  • Ikaria, Greece: Inhabitants of this Greek island experience lower rates of chronic diseases and a vibrant aging population.

Diet and Nutrition

One of the common threads across Blue Zones is a predominantly plant-based diet. While the specifics of their diets vary, the emphasis on whole, natural foods is evident. People in Blue Zones consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. They tend to avoid processed foods and prioritize meals cooked from scratch. The Mediterranean style of eating, characterized by olive oil, unsaturated fats, and moderate fish consumption, is a notable dietary pattern.

However, it’s important to recognize that while plant-based diets can be incredibly beneficial, they come with certain considerations. For example, those following vegan diets should be mindful of vitamin B12 and iron levels, as these nutrients are typically found in animal products. A balanced and varied diet is essential for obtaining all necessary nutrients. Experts also recommend incorporating colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure you receive a wide range of vitamins and antioxidants. In the United States, there is often a deficiency in purple foods, so consider adding purple cauliflower, eggplants, and berries to your diet.

Physical Activity and Lifestyle

Physical activity is a fundamental part of life in Blue Zones. Unlike the sedentary lifestyle common in many developed nations, people in Blue Zones engage in regular physical activity. They often work in their gardens, walk, and use low furniture, which requires them to sit and stand multiple times a day. This lifestyle promotes better muscle tone, balance, and overall health.

Incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine can be as simple as going for regular walks, tending to a garden, or avoiding excessive sitting. It’s not just about structured exercise but making movement a natural part of your life.

The Role of Connection and Spirituality

What’s equally intriguing about Blue Zones is the strong sense of community and spirituality that prevails. Residents of these regions often have deep connections with their friends, families, and faith-based communities. They meet regularly, provide support, and share their lives with one another. The sense of belonging and emotional connection plays a crucial role in their overall well-being.

Whether you have faith in a higher power or not, connecting with others and forming a community can have a profound impact on your health. Loneliness is a significant concern in modern society, with the rise of social media often leading to shallow connections. Blue Zones emphasize the value of in-person, deep relationships. Building connections, reaching out to friends, volunteering, and attending social gatherings can help foster a sense of purpose and belonging in your life.

Pets and Longevity

An interesting aspect of life in Blue Zones is the presence of pets, particularly dogs and cats. Having a pet can contribute to your overall well-being by promoting physical activity, providing companionship, and reducing stress. Studies suggest that pet owners often experience increased happiness and a sense of purpose. This might just be the secret to living longer, as it’s said that every dog you own increases your life by 30% (with a dash of humor, of course).

The Challenges of Chronic Diseases

While Blue Zones offer valuable insights into a preventive approach to health, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges faced by individuals living with chronic diseases. Adopting the Blue Zone lifestyle may not necessarily reverse chronic conditions but can help individuals find emotional and mental wholeness and peace.

Healing, even in the presence of chronic illness, involves finding a sense of wholeness and making peace with your situation. It may not cure the condition, but it can help you transcend the limitations imposed by it. Each person’s healing journey is unique and often goes beyond the absence of physical ailments.

Takeaways for Your Health

Embracing elements from the Blue Zone lifestyle can help you make lasting changes for a healthier, longer life. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Adopt a primarily plant-based diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Prioritize natural, whole foods over processed options.
  • Engage in regular physical activity, aiming for a more active, less sedentary lifestyle.
  • Cultivate deep connections with friends, family, and your community.
  • Explore spirituality or faith-based practices that bring meaning to your life.
  • Consider adopting a pet to enhance your emotional well-being.

Remember, health is not just the absence of disease but a holistic state of physical, emotional, and social well-being. Blue Zones offer a glimpse into how simple changes in our daily lives can lead to greater longevity and quality of life.

If you’re interested in learning more about Blue Zones, you can watch the documentary “The Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life” on platforms like Netflix or read “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” by Dan Buettner.

As you embark on your journey to better health, embrace the wisdom of the Blue Zones and make choices that promote longevity, vitality, and fulfillment.

Are you ready to take charge of your health? Schedule your free 20-minute discovery call with our New Patient Coordinator to see how you can become a patient at MaxWell Clinic and start your healing journey today.

everyone Hi Welcome to our webinar on Blue zones thank you so much for joining
us and if you’re listening to this later thank you for you know coming back and and watching or listening we are so
excited to get to talk about blue zones uh my name is Alison I am the registered dietician here and with me I have Mary
scull physician assistant yeah so we wanted to talk about this topic because
we want want to expand on why why we learn about other other places other areas what the
importance is of of learning from from other places I love to travel I love to see how other people live and and
learning from that um blue zones if you don’t know they places in in the world that have the healthiest and longest
living population they are living upwards of a hundred they are centenarians so we wanted to see how
they’re doing this and kind of lessons we can learn from all the different blue zones across the world yeah like I’m always curious how do we do Health
better and how do we do it more than doing more supplements or medications
Etc right and it’s not always just about a diet either nutrition is so important in our health um but there’s so much
more to that I’m always curious about what are what’s the commonalities in these areas that help to promote that
longevity because in our in our country I don’t know about you but it’s almost
like we are we’re just going to succumb to getting old um not being able to do
as much as we once did not be able to move it’s expectation that that’s just what’s going to happen we’re just gonna
get sick that’s it and have some chronic disease and have three or four doctors in our pocket and several medications oh
yeah like it’s just what that’s just life here right no it’s not in these
blue zones not at all they’re living not just to 100 but they’re living healthy
lives up to 100 they’re independent or they have Mobility they have less um you
know cardiovascular issues they have uh just ability to to live um up into the
hundreds not just be there I believe we most fear these chronic diseases that
Rob us of Our Lives getting a heart attack or stroke that might limit our functionality in life and our
capabilities to function independently to recognize our family Meers the dementia cognitive decline the devast
diagnosis of losses of cancer and that’s just not what these blue zones are seeing as much of they
are not in fact the global average for um according to the World Health
Organization the global age um is about 73 71 for males 76 for females again
they are living upwards of of 100 um and well into the hundreds as well um it has
been shown that in the United States or developed countries 50% of premature death are due to um modifiable lifestyle
behaviors like smoking or nutrition or exercise so we know that there are things that we can prevent these are
modifiable we can change them um we’re not helpless to these things we can do something about it exactly so um I do
have a few fun facts of of these places for example um in I there there are six
blue zones now and one of them is in airia Greece and dementia among people of 8 five is rare it is um over 75% less
common than those living in the United States now cancer there’s 20% less cancer than in other countries when you
compare iira Greece there’s 20% less cancer in in that region that’s just incredible that gives
us hope and why we want to be studying them and why we we are looking at them
um as a way to have 20% less cancer and to have 75% less chance of of dementia
as as we get older um Okinawa is one of the other blue zones it is in Japan and they are called the land of the
Immortals they have been producing centenarians the absolute longest um it
they have the greatest Health span um out of all the blue zones they’re more rural aren’t they they are they are uh
kind of where all the islands are and a little bit South kind of separated um from from a few of the islands however
there are uh there is a new Blue Zone in Singapore and it is an engineer Blue Zone it was implemented over time so
wait you’re saying that we could change everything we’ve kind of messed up in our country maybe if work at it if you
think about Singapore their population is pretty large and in that City they’ve been able to become a Blue Zone based on
all the changes so they have taxation on Transportation um which encourages people to do some walking they have
public exercise spaces that everyone you know has access to so not just a gym membership but public spaces that
everyone could could utilize with weights and and all of that um and healthy food is subsidized so it is
encouraged rather than um you know in the United States where it’s more expensive to eat healthier foods as
well so Singapore is one that I love looking out because we can create create it we we’ve seen proof that they’ve been
making changes now it’s not just individuals but the whole city um kind of falling in line and and now they’ve
become a Blue Zone in this day and age yeah because conversely we’ve kind of created our state of life here I believe
it was like in the 880s maybe only 15% of our population was obese and in our
current time I think the rate is about 45% of our population is considered obese and what is what was the big boom
in all of this there is more availability of fast foods in this time
portion sizes got larger por ingredients um are not as good in those Foods um so
that’s part of it there is a Blue Zone in the the United States it is in Lolinda California and on average they
live 7.3 years uh longer than other Californians so it’s just not California
it is not just California but um it is an Adventist Community uh in in lumbera
California that is considered a blue zone so it has been done in the United States and it can be done elsewhere we
want to kind of discuss like I said some of these patterns that they’re doing so you can create a Blue Zone in your home
that you can be stri towards this um something that stands out in all these boot zones is activity and exercise um
it is a predictor of longevity in Sardinia how steep your village is so the steeper your village the longer you
live and that speaks to movement that makes me think about like in my neighborhood kind of to get to my house
there is what is kind of a hill yep um and if I walk that I do feel it um in my
pregnant state currently but um it’s like we don’t need to fear that it’s like our body is telling us that
struggle it’ll eventually get better as we build that cardiovascular capacity and it’s something that they’re doing over and over and over it’s not just a
gym membership that they go to you know two times a a week although if that’s what you’re doing and if you’re doing it
consistently great yeah but some of what we’ve noticed with these blue zones is that they are finding activity in just
their everyday lives they are in okinowa their Furniture is quite low and so they’re getting up and down up to 30
times a day and we are talking about people that are 80 90 years old getting
up and down from the floor their balance is a lot better they’re essentially doing squats which are going to help
kind of with quadr strength hamst strings chus strength um that helps with
longevity yeah so that was like Mak to think of one of our colleagues here um
who uh mother recently passed but she loves to with three three yeah um and
she had told her children at one point that when she was0 in her 80s she wanted to
strengthen her abs and and quite that possibility of strengthening her ABS
helped with her longevity when we heard about this we kind of giggled a little we were thinking at 80s she’s thinking
about her ABS but that is part of why we think she’s lived to she got to live 203
which is incredible um in aeria gree she that is a population that has been studied the most again there are some
newer blue zones but IA Okinawa and Sardinia have been studied a little bit more and therefore we have more
knowledge on them but um in Aira almost nine out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women reported daily physical activity
whether that is walking gardening or occupational a lot of them are Shepherds um or they may not be Shepherds anymore
but they go out with their sons who are Shepherds and go out with them um to you know help out and so they’re doing the
walking part of the work as well um so they didn’t say they made it to to CrossFit or Orange Theory or bar or
anything like that they just they we’re just doing chores and and walking versus
using Transportation there is a practice of weaving in Okinawa that most women
practice all the way up into until they pass and so again that’s that constant daily activity most uh people in Okinawa
have Gardens and they’re always out there in their in their Gardens working again up and down all day long uh
keeping that Mobility I think it’s true that when also we work with our hands and we work with the Earth that will
kind of lead us into another we’ll talk about later about connection um absolutely and purpose so I found that
in the recommendation for exercise that we always tell patients is 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity and at
least twice a week of uh strength training all all of your muscles um and doing so can actually reduce your
mortality by 20 to 31% that’s huge like
150 minutes a week plus twice a week of strength training reduces your mortality by 20 to 30% if that were a medication
it would make billions of dollars yet we have found that only 23%
of people in the United States do this oh my gosh only 23% of people are doing
this and so we we do see that here in in the United States and in developed
countries we’re maybe not seeing the the movement um so I I was thinking what can we do what can we add in now whether
you’re you know 20s 30s 40s 50s maybe you’re upwards of you know’ 70s what what’s something that you can do and you
hear these recommendations and they sound kind of silly but how often are you parking at the end of the parking lot rather than catching the first one
oh yeah is it is it usually like G it’s been a long day gotta run in out I W take time I get home I make dinner
there’s this busy problem that we have in our country or standing desk yes how
often are we actually using standing desk because we just sit for eight hours at work and then we go home and maybe
sit for dinner and then sit to watch some you know Netflix at the end of the night um and so in in that routine what
what are some little disruptions that we can do so that we get more movement so uh when you get to the office skipping
the elevator and going up the stairs yeah I’m committed to that here every time I see Mary going up the up the
stairs whether she’s scaring a million things or not she’s walking up the stairs parking further away um using
that standing desk or going on walks during your lunch break taking a break from sitting and going on on a quick
walk and it doesn’t have to be like doesn’t have to you don’t have to make it 30 minutes just think like it’s to
make an impact To Your Health and Longevity even if you just had that intentionality to do like I’m going to take 10 15 minutes of my lunchtime to
just go on a walk it adds up at the end of the day it adds up again they are gardening they are doing just their
everyday activities so that’s something that you know that we can do um I often see people on the phone walk and talk
that’s the best you know even if you’re pacing back and forth that’s one of the best things that you can do is walk and talk and again adds to that connection
piece that we’ll get to later um but other than exercise I think diet is one
of the biggest ones and I think this is what brought on wanting to talk about blue zones I have heard of Blue Zone
diets or wanting to eat you know the Blue Zone way and um while I love the
thought of this truly there is no evidence yet that allows us to recommend
you know the adoption of specific diet and claim it as a Blue Zone Diet yeah I think would you say like the broad
connections because there’s not going be one like specific food or that they have
corre not that like we hear about these superfoods occasionally that purple potato in Oka well I would encourage you
to have it is delicious and it is very nutrient dense it’s not what people in Sardinia are eating it’s not what people
in Singapore are eating or it’s not the one key to it all yeah would you say
it’s more that these the Comm in these diets and what they consume is more that
they are nutrient dense fiber rich and calorically low overall whereas we are
exposed to calorically dense nutrient poor yes and fiber poor
foods do you think that would give a good like basic yes thoughts on that the you know the diets in the Blue Zone are
based on the consumption of healthy real foods which are mostly plant-based and that’s something that I hear for example
in the Adventist community in in California um those that live the longest are uh plant-based or vegetarian
however not all of the blue zones are vegetarian you do find like in airia Greece they are um actually eating Meats
pul trees and and fish and finding that those that eat fish actually do well mentally in terms of uh preventing Mena
do they eat those like three times a day or they eat those a few times a week or month or you know I have seen that it’s
about 5% of their diet so it’s not every single meal compared to the meat and
potatoes standard American diet kind of thing I think it’s dramatically less consumption of oh yes definitely we’re
not trying to say meat is Evil by any means but it’s just interesting to think about these these areas a pattern and
something that I always remind patients is you do not have to be plant-based a reduction even in the meats can be
helpful what you’re choosing to eat in terms of meats is beneficial and also um
I always push patients on protein because a lack of protein is also not a good thing but don’t forget that they
are eating protein just plant-based protein they are eating uh legumes um
beans lentils or in Okinawa tofu is it’s a very common food they’re eating on
average four ounces of tofu a day in AWA so they are getting protein through their Foods it’s just not meat they are
consuming as much and I would say the quality of these Foods too have differences right oh yeah it’s like
they’re their vegetables or plants they probably I’m going to guess they’ve taken better care of their soils and
their farming practice they have their own garden so a lot of it is coming from their own backyard so they probably are getting more
minerals and and nutrients in their Foods whereas like I feel that a lot of
patients that we see we see these deficiencies or inadequacies in nutrients we have to try to build with
diet changes but also supplementation to help meet the needs of those depletions in the body yeah and I mean I will say
there are some what I would say cons or deficiencies that can happen with just a plant-based diet or or vegan diet
specifically you know you have to be mindful of your B12 you have to be uh mindful of your iron levels if you are
not eating any Meats at all um again the Adventists several of them are doing it
and it’s absolutely uh something that we can do but we just do want to be mindful of of those deficiencies it’s not like a
one- siiz fits all here right I generally think it’s it’s good to try but we need to be wise and and check on
these things and be aware of these things yeah anything else in terms of of food food and diet anything that stands
out to you I think something that I love is Mediterranean style of eating there’s
a ton of research on it um and it is what aarans and Greece are are mostly consuming so in case you don’t know what
that is they are eating tons of olive oil so those mon unsaturated fats um you know increased consumptions of fruits
and vegetables legumes like I mentioned nuts whole grain cereals um and then
there is that moderate consumption of of fish and poultry so you know you have
the plant-based fully vegan vegetarian but you also have the Mediterranean sty of eating so again what we see from all of
these is that plant heavy yeah do you think they’re eating a lot of things out of boxes and processed foods and
packages no no they’re making their own Breads in Sardinia they are you know cooking from scratch in in most of these
places and there is of course less sugar less uh processed
carbohydrates less pesticides that treated the flowers for the breads they
make and um that’s I think is is amazing is that we could go to another country and enjoy
bread or dairy products too or dairy products and not have any issues it tells you that it’s not necessarily the
food that always causes the issue but and how the food is prepared and grown and um produced so absolutely so in
terms of food what I always and will always recommend to my patients is increasing your fruits and vegetables
make half of your plate vegetables at every meal that makes sure that you’re getting enough fiber enough nutrients
throughout the day um make sure you’re adding some legumes regularly if you can or you know nuts in complex
carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates different colors I love a colorful plate you’ll hear me saying eat
the rainbow as many colorful fruits and vegetables as you can because you are getting different viton nutrients from from each one um so that’s something I
always share don’t forget your purples we are defici in purples in in the United States so Pur cauliflower your
eggplants your berries um really high in antiox purple red cabbage yeah purple
cabbage if as much as you can instead of going to the green if you’re doing a good job on on eating greens so keeping
that in mind yeah it’s a big one and toxins are really beneficial to reduce our aging process of the body so yeah
now the next one is an interesting one I picked this one because I find that most people tend to remember this one the
most as a recommendation but something that has um been found as a commonality
in almost all but not all we hope this is not the only takeaway you have from
this we’re hoping but I did want to bring it up for that reason um mainly um in these Regions they’re consuming wine
red wine is something that is consumed in Greece uh I think the uh 75% of iians
are drinking one to two glasses of of red wine a day now is a wine that they
produce in that region um same as Sardinia it’s called aano now type of
wine in Sardinia so it’s it’s a very specific wine uh that they are drinking so I want to point that out there we
probably want to do more research into like what that is so get the benefits of the antioxidants and what could be
protective against uh cardiovascular disease from uh those kind of wines now
there was a large uh ecological study that reported the red wine intake in other regions of Greece that did not
have the uh longevity that iians do so I’m just going to throw that out there so it’s not just one you’re saying that
is exactly what I’m saying also Adventists in uh California do not drink any alcohol so there are there is a Blue
Zone entirely that does not consume alcohol so I want to point that out I’m not discouraging you from wine but I am
saying it is not the only thing that I would want you working on as you hear this um with that if you are going to
drink I would say be mindful of how much you’re drinking and opting for low sugar
antioxident um dense red wine can yeah but also like what’s this supposed
specific like a glass of wine is four or five ounces or 5 ounces so that’s a
glass not not a glass not the whole bottle bottle um and I I do want to
point out something that struck me when seeing you know their documentaries books and and studies on on these
regions and when they do drink wine they are doing so at happy hours they are doing so with friends with family Not
Alone um and I think that speaks to a bigger part of of this pattern that I I
I am drawn to because it doesn’t get talked about as much but I do think it’s one of the most important things that we
see in all of these blue zones and that is connection you’re drinking with friends and family after work getting
together with people um and I think it may not just be the wine it’s more so the connection that you build when
you’re enjoying a meal or or a drink with someone not necessarily drinking alone after like I’ve had a long day I’m
really stressed I need to relax or due to that lack of feeling connection it’s not self-medicating
more it’s not used as a coping um it’s more so as an opportunity to get
together with with people um and with that you know something that struck me greatly was that wanting to Americans
feel isolated and alone wanting to and reading that statistic I’m
going how that’s like if you if for the sample size one of us one of us feel
alone yes that is that is Extreme the person you work next to is likely to feel alone if
that person isn’t you yeah and that’s striking we all need connection I think
we were built to have connection we were meant to be alone to be segregated made to be that yeah and I think in this day
and age with social media we are connected but not truly connecting um you know blue zones have established um
this is in in all blue zones they have established family as a highly valued Institution um and so they
are you know living longer with someone they’re not alone in their own homes um
in airia the iyan study one of the you know biggest studies done um on one of the blue zones um shows that almost all
or a large majority have someone living with them they all have a living spouse or
maybe it’s their children um they are not living alone in a home and I think that speaks volumes because in America I
believe if you’re 50 years old you have a 50% chance of going to a nursing home
you’re not necessarily going to uh be with family in their homes yeah and I
think that adds to the to the loneliness feeling as well um in Sardinia there are
there are not very many nursing homes most of them are living with their children or with their grandchildren um
you know in Okinawa they have groups uh called the MU and these are groups of
friends that form together and rely on each other it’s a Social Circle yeah a Social Circle that was kind of invented
to help bear the burdens of one another but they also show up for one another um
and so if they have a friend that goes in the hospital they help to make their ends meet or pay for their bills but
they’re also checking on them and they’re also meeting and regularly and
being together and sharing life together so they are there for each other they
show up for each other so they feel have a purpose because they care for someone else um and and they also get taken care
of when when needed and lalinda volunteering is actually a very big deal and you know it that is a way to create
Community it helps give you a sense of of purpose and they’ve shown that it helps improve you know memory and higher
levels of happiness when you are helping someone else um and again goes back to just that having that Community yeah and
having that sense of purpose and meaning is is really beneficial to our health and that’s something uh here at the
clinic if you come here already hopefully we’ve you know what is your purpose what is your
why because what why does the what does our health even matter do we just want
to feel good and that’s it yeah there’s usually reasons why we want to spend it with families or we want to get to do
this with our people we want to travel we want to create something that benefits others and Legacy yeah I mean
I’ve gotten I want to go to Disney World with my grandkids one day and you know that’s important we want to help you get
there be able to do that um so I I I will say finding the right connection is
also important um I have found it interesting that they done studies that health is contagious so whoever you hang
out with whoever your group is closest four three or four people three or four people impact your health the most so um
you know find friends who enjoy walking who are using you know active
recreational activities rather than than sedentary activities it wouldn’t help to find a friend who likes to eat more
plant-based and or you know as a healthy eater they found that whoever orders that a table first has a big impact on
everyone else around and what everyone else is ordering makes you rethink like oh they’re getting this maybe I should get this and that’s that’s important
that’s huge yeah so if your friends exercise you’re more likely to if your friends smoke you’re more likely
to so we do we become what we’re around absolutely they influence us greatly and
so finding that uh that connection that Community is important but also being
mindful of who they are um you know uh one of the the things that we wanted to
talk about is well what can you do to create more connection if you are feeling lonely if you are feeling like you’re not you know part of a group part
of a city part of a community what are some things that you can do and something that came up for both of us is
some of us have friends we’re just maybe not reaching out as much we’re not actually setting plans and saying on
this date let’s meet up and I think that’s important I think we assume everybody’s busy we don’t want to bother
them or we feel we don’t want to we don’t want to burden them with our things we don’t call them even because
we’re thinking oh they must be busy they’re doing something they must be tired after work like I am yeah and so
reaching out is going to be a big one because if there is someone there we want you to reach out um yeah it’s like
I have a group of women I we try to meet once a month make plans and it just
makes me laugh because like in college I we we thought we were so busy but we
would literally be like do you want to go uh get coffee in like 15 minutes and you could that doesn’t
happen a little harder a little harder especially when some of the connection that we get relationships are going to
be at our workplace where we come from kind of different parts of the city and it’s more strategic and how we get
together yeah a little bit further apart but it it takes to planning and being intentional about it so you come
together so think about who are the friends you have reached out to in a while um and say like hey you know try to get
together and then if that goes well see if they’d like to make it like kind of a standing day like every second Thursday
of the month or something or every second weekend my husband and I we have a couple of friends that we get together
every third weekend of every month just to keep that together because even though they’re really busy with their
careers and we’re busy we just block the calendar block the calendar it’s intentional yeah like things don’t
happen just by chance often yeah and if we want to see this change if we want to see improvements in our health and in
our life and in this connection intentionality intentionality yeah now if you’re you know new to the city or
you know you maybe don’t feel like you can reach out to anyone you don’t have as many friends that you feel like are good to have in your circle you know I
would say volunteering is something that you can participating and and just finding group activities that you can
join whether it’s with your with your church or whether is with your work you know trying to reach out to co-workers
and trying to uh build friendships you know I moved here about a year or so ago and I started at Maxwell and you know
we’ve become friends and you meet friends through work and I mostly do remote so even that is is doable
reaching out to people at work um group activities or volunteering um even just getting out of your house and going
grocery shopping instead of ordering in groceries it sounds silly but you get that interaction instead of going
through the self checkout um I always loved one of my favorite memories of my dad is was kind of so embarrassed
growing up and my dad would kind of chitchat with the um the person checking us out yeah absolutely I thought it was
so kind just how he recognized that person as a person and that they have
concerns in a day and maybe he used their name which might sound creepy but you know they do wear name text but not
creepy at all it’s nice to just not be like oh how are you doing okay great and keep going they he was asking you know
about them yeah that’s even like gives us a sense of connection ction because like how many people do we just walk
down the street or walk in a hallway and we completely ignore and we think that’s normal like how is that or even like up
high and then walk away awkwardly yeah we all do it so I think we have to embrace the awkwardness we don’t have to tell our life story but I think just
saying hello have a good day is just helps make the world feel a little less
um big you feel less lonely in a day if someone talks to you for a bit so why
are we not doing it to reach out to some else you don’t know what they’re going through in the day and how lonely they feel yeah we have to we have to get more
off screens and that false connection that we have built and been take it out into this more tangible spaces and
physical components like yeah so yeah that is a big one now with that there is
one more pattern that we have seen in blue zones and this is I think my favorite and the least talked about I
wanted to mention too connection we didn’t mention this do you like pet
oh yes that’s a good one I love that one I’m sorry I haven’t talk about getting a
pet can actually be helpful towards that loneliness it can get you out into the streets because you have to walk them um
also groom them you talk to someone and just having them at home when you get home brings out more of that happiness
so I’m encouraging you to get a dog or a cat if you are feeling that way too yeah really statistic ones that I believe
that having a dog I think it like spands your life 30% or something I’m not really sure about that a point but I
laughed because my husband and I for some reason we decided to get three dogs over the stand of 10 years and that was
a mistake but you know so we’re gonna live 100% longer because of that you never know worth a try right each dog
increase by 30% if you have them simultaneously but um yeah like let’s
move on to this next kind of commonality that we see the blue zones that well
this one has been linked all blue zones share this one and I think that’s something that’s stands out to me we’ve
talked about diet and exercise and how they kind of May Vary but I will say all blue zones share this in common and that
is that they have um been higher levels of Faith uh based Community is found in
all of these blue zones so there is more I don’t want to say religion but there
is just faith in those areas all of them they’re all different some the same but they all
have and share that faith based communities it’s a spirituality and recognize that we’re connecting to something other and something Beyond
ourselves and a belief in something higher yeah I mean believing in a higher power was linked with higher individual
self-esteem and better psychological Health overall um you know ninawa they pray to
their ancestors in Sardinia they’re major mostly Catholic uh the Adventists
are are mostly Christians um and so again it’s not to say um I think it it
all comes back to believing in in something and um going to it regularly I
mean aarans uh the study with aaran showed that 90% of them believed in God
but also 81% of them participated in religious events so it’s not just a believe of it but they’re also
participating in in events whether it’s going to church or you know uh groups
with their friends and family yeah and then in Sardinia if you have to walk uphill to um your place of worship and
you’re doing that every day you get the exercise the community and that spirituality piece of it as well it’s
just part of the their everyday life that’s what’s amazing about this and that’s what’s like it’s the simplistic
Beauty about this and this just several different factors and I think it’s all of them
coming together um and that is I think what’s creating the centenarians this is what’s allowing people to live upwards
of a hundred and now just live to 100 be healthy in their hundreds oh yeah not just be like
stuck to a bed to 100 but up and about like yeah they are gardening they are
you know able to off the floor up and down 30 times a day how many it’s like
this is one of the things about our longevity that we can look at individuals in our country is how well can you get up from a chair as you age
because we don’t use these muscles to help our cores and our legs that they atrophy they we lose that muscle tone
and so like if you see somebody that has to like rock get up that’s that’s not a
good sign and that like can even get up from a chair let alone the Flor floor
they are sitting on mats or really really low Furniture so they are up and down all day long they’re able to
balance themselves you know with their arms at 90 years old um there was a man
in um nikoya that um was riding horses he was still a Rancher and he was was 99
or over 100 I believe there were women there too that would be with a machete
like cutting down coconuts these are people over their 90s being able to do
this so they are not just living up to 100 they are living healthy lives without Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Parkinson’s cancer um that’s a big deal it’s not just getting to 100 but it’s
getting there in in a way that you feel healthy and you have a purpose and you have con ction and you matter to people
you matter to the world so um you largely still have much of your Independence in a lot of ways too right
I think we fear being a burden on our loved ones as we age well one of our own
here his mom was independent until she was 99 she was living on her own until
she was 99 going to the beauty parlor I heard once a week she was able to do all
things up until she was 99 which is incredible um I think that’s like that’s
generally I think what we all kind of Desire is like we don’t just want to get
sick and be out for the next like in our 50s 60s and be out for 20 30 years and
just wait wait around to die yeah um or hope that we this is kind of Mor well
they want to live I think that’s a better way to say you want to truly live um yeah we Tru want to live and have
life In Those Years not just staying alive that’s it yeah
so these are some ways that you can I mean I hope that we brought you know some ideas and um some hope in that hey
I can age much better and and healthier um and some strategies to do so but for
me the biggest thing is this is possible people are doing this I can do this um
again in Singapore they were able to do this with a whole city in this day and age and I think that’s incredible by by
making those changes so any of little takeaways that you had any of the things that you can start doing um all will be
helpful even if you’re the person that has to rock you know yourself out of the chair we know okay well let’s try to get
more activity so that you have better Core Balance and so that you can continue to have balance as you age so
no matter where you’re starting um there are things you can do right and then just at least test can you get out of a
chair without using your your arms to get out so and then if you can if you can do that can you get up off the
floor um and keep going from there keep going from there um so um we’ll see if
we have any questions here you’re going need your
mouse let’s see you want to read that
all yeah I get that I know and and this
question is is more that there is struggle when you’re in that disease State and how like this may not be
practical for everyone um and largely some of them as far as like how
you feel connected and what you connect with um and even how you connect
spiritually are really important when there’s of chronic disease
States because there you can have so this this says I follow the principles of good
exercise in a Mediterranean diet but struggle with epilepsy and lyic um en
sephtis these are great led to cognitive decline chronic fatigue and loss of
balance some maybe due to the meds I’m on for sure um and some and and for some of us
I do want to point out that while your suggestions are great they aren’t enough for chronic diseases yeah so um this is more to look
at how these regions have less chronic disease to begin
with and potentially reflect on some of why we have led to chronic disease in
our country would you say that yeah definitely it is a I guess more preventive if you will um they have
lesser rates of chronic disease now if you uh do have um chronic disease I do
think that some of these things can be helpful like the connection and spirituality that can help you
um help you through this um and help you through as you live with whatever
chronic disease it is absolutely I always say that there’s there’s a difference between cure and
healing um cure is going to you know suggest an absence of that disease and
and healing is actually a sense of wholeness and healing transcends
whatever the current state is so even while you may not find the freedom from
the entis you don’t find the cure for it yeah you may not you may not find the
Cure you can find much relief with some of these things that maybe you do however um we can transcend what is I’m
making peace with it this is not to say what what you’re going through isn’t significant or it’s not painful and it’s
not sad uh but I know I’ve gone through my own journey of something that I
thought was impossible and I thought it was hopeless and I had to choose a path
forward um you found healing I found healing even though I didn’t find a cure
so yeah I do appreciate that standpoint and that and just so we can make that
clear that so of suggestions aren’t going to necessarily
overcome whatever is already in place this is more a way of life
changes so we can avoid chronic disease so and it’s it’s some of the
things that we don’t do in our country we do have done differently that have set us up for these disy
states and just makes me really sad so yeah hope you guys found this helpful
um and I I think I wanted this to be encouraging for everyone um
Let’s see we do have someone else commenting in she said I don’t see a place let’s
see here’s my observation the wholeness is also emotional and mental if I can’t be in a close relationship with someone
without a measure of Peace that’s the place to start to live a long life of
quality yeah relationships yeah I would I would agree
with that statement yeah the wholeness is emotional and and
mental so really how you’re feeling and how you see your chronic diseases as well yeah for me it was that connection
and that spirituality piece that kind of led to my wholeness itself help to find peace and you know
through all the trouble through all that was that I just had to accept and and move forward so um no I hope like
overall this brings out this like curiosity if you haven’t yet or if you do have
Netflix um Dan buner the man who studied these blue zones a journalist and
Explorer with National Geographic um he has a special 100 years to live yeah uh
secrets to the blue zones I believe it’s called secret to the blue zones and so I think it was great to see that to
actually see these people that were in their hundreds being able to do these amazing things that we just I did not
think that a 90-year-old could do like be a Rancher at 99 like riding a horse
at that age um it’s something that it’s it’s incredible to get to see so I I
would definitely um encourage you guys to see that um he even has a book and um
yeah we’re not I don’t know if we can do branded content on it but you know no if you’re like interested too if you’re
just like this where do I start um because I grabbed this book at Blue zones challenge just out of four weeks
to try to for a longer better life take it with a grain of salt for whatever it
is um but it’s it’s just about it’s about
achieving kind of some that wholeness in life um improving our health in that way because health is much more than the
absence of a disease yeah so just yeah I hope you guys are curious
we are so interested in this topic we find it incredible to get to see how is this done elsewhere how can we learn
from from other uh countries and other areas here in our backyard in California how are they doing this um so yeah so is
this like the encouragement to stay curious and realize that some of the things that we’ve been exposed to have
actually in our country have contributed to the decline in our overall health as a country so and there are choices we
can make to change it we’re not completely helpless yes because it can be frustrating because some of these things we can’t change like what’s put
on our food sometimes but there are certain things that you can do like hey if you can grow something in your garden
that would be great um or if you can you know choose uh Whole Foods over going
out to eat that kind of thing can be can be helpful so even if there’s a lot of things we can’t necessarily do on our
own we need the city and the country to be on board there are things that you can do in your own home to yeah so
improve your health kind of takeways like if it is hard if we’re already in the throws of a chronic disease um
because there’s already we’re further along in that process um but
generally when we see this disease grow in our country we I have we have so many
patients to come and they’re concerned will it be them because they know so many people that seemed fine until they
weren’t so I think this is more about what that’s about and what can we do to help
create and shape Health from a community perspective
absolutely absolutely thanks for spending this time with us everyone yeah this was great to get to talk to you
guys about this um there’s no other questions we’ll see you guys on the next one right bye take

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Alisson Kothera, RD

Alisson Molinares, RD is a registered dietitian who loves working one on one with her patients to help them tailor a nutritious food plan.