There are several places in the world famous for longevity, what inspiration can the lifestyle of the local people give us? Sina Science and Technology News Beijing time on May 15 news, according tomedia reports, there are several places in the world known for longevity, the way of life of local residents can give us what kind of inspiration? Do we have a chance to live to 100 in general?
Among these places, one is a small town surrounded by tropical forests and beaches, popular with surfers; two are rugged islands in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean; the fourth is at the end of the Japanese archipelago; and the last is a small city in California with the name “Beautiful Mountain”.
The five places are Nicoa in Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, Icarja in Greece, Okinawa in Japan and Linda of Rome, California. At first glance, they appear scattered in every corner of the world, looking very different and seemingly irrelevant. But for those who yearn for a long and healthy life, these may be the places they most want to be born. This is the so-called “blue zone”, where the proportion of the world’s longest-lived people is 10 times more likely to live to 100.
The term “blue zone” was originally coined by Italian epidemiologist Gianni Pace and Belgian demographer Michel Plane to investigate the mortality rate in Sardinia. At the beginning of the 21st century, they found a group of people with a particularly long life in Nuoro province, Sardinia. Since then, they have identified several other areas of the world’s longevity. On the basis of this work, a book on the blue area was published in 2008 and has gone on to the fore.
Over the next 12 years, many scientists continued to study blue areas and made interesting hypotheses in an attempt to explain the longevity mysteries of their inhabitants.
Eat eight cents full at dinner
Let’s start by understanding the general pattern. The lifestyle of the inhabitants of the blue area has certain common characteristics.
The first is diet. Especially in the past, many people living in blue areas tended to eat moderately. In Okinawa, for example, older people follow the old “abdominal octave” rule, which means eating eight cents (which, according to scientific studies, is about 10 percent less than the current recommended calorie intake for the average adult).
This does seem to delay aging. Rosalyn Anderson, who studies metabolism and aging at the University of Wisconsin, has long-term animal studies that show that macaques have a significantly lower risk of age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease when they follow a similar “calorie-limiting” diet. They even look younger, such as fur that lasts longer before they turn gray.
We don’t yet understand the full mechanism behind these effects, as if “calorie limits” could reduce the accumulation of toxic free radicals, which are often the result of the body’s metabolism and damage our cells. Some scientists believe that the body also sees the reduction in calorie consumption as a very mild stress, with more focus on how to sustain cells than on building new tissues.
Reducing calorie intake reduces the risk of destructive mutations in the body’s DNA that can lead to diseases such as cancer. “Heat restriction seems to reduce DNA damage and promote DNA repair, and genetic integrity seems to be a common feature in centenarians. In addition to reducing calorie intake, the diet of residents in the blue region is mostly plant-based, which helps to keep the heart healthy and bring greater benefits.
The study found that social connections and spiritual beliefs are prevalent among centenarians in Places Okinawa
In addition to eating habits, the social life enjoyed by these centenarians is equally important: the population of the blue region tends to live in highly integrated communities. It is now widely believed that maintaining social connections can help reduce the effects of stress, and that the responsibility of maintaining friendships among people encourages more comprehensive mental and physical activity. In a meta-analysis, it was found that the quality of relationships is as important to our health as exercise or diet.
Religion is one of the important sources of social connection in the blue region. For example, the inhabitants of Rome Linda are mostly followers of the Seventh-day Adventist sect; the inhabitants of Nicoa and Sardinia are mostly Catholic; the inhabitants of Icarja are Greek Orthodox; and in Okinawa, the locals believe in the Sukyudo. All but five of the 263 centenarians in the blue area interviewed were members of a certain spiritual or religious group.
In addition to providing social connections, religious activities also provide a sense of purpose in life and comfort in times of low mood. Taken together, the researchers believe, these factors can increase life expectancy by one to five years. This may seem like bad news for atheists, but people who don’t have faith can get the same benefits in other ways. Some cities already have secular gatherings that provide time for meditation, meditation, and social support for like-minded individuals. In theory, these gatherings also have the effect of improving the quality of life, not necessarily the need to believe in gods. The awe we feel in nature may have similar benefits.
Is it time for a hot drink?
Greek coffee is thought to be particularly good for human health because it contains certain compounds that inhibit inflammation
In addition to these common similarities among the inhabitants of the blue region, some of their more unique quirks can also inspire us, perhaps including the secret of longevity.
Some eating habits are noteworthy when it comes to certain elements contained in food. For example, a study has found that residents of the Greek island of Icaria drink a few cups of tea and coffee every day, which appears to be associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease in the region. The findings also appear to coincide with longitudinal studies elsewhere. These studies suggest that drinking a few cups of hot tea or coffee a day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This may be because these hot drinks contain many trace elements and compounds, such as magnesium, potassium, niacin and vitamin E, which can be used as antioxidants to remove toxic free radicals that can cause many diseases.
Greek coffee is usually ground into fine powder and cooked in a tall, narrow pot. Some argue that this “concocted” coffee is particularly beneficial to the body because it releases polyphenols, also known as chlorpyrifos, which help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can lead to many age-related diseases, such as rapid growth of arterial plaques, leading to heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, frequent use of anti-inflammatory polyphenols (e.g. chlorpyrifos) can reduce this damage.
These drinks can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Through a variety of pathways, compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties , such as chlorpyrifos, regulate the energy intake of cells and prevent them from producing insulin resistance – a precursor to diabetes, thereby stabilizing our blood sugar levels, and the local population’s love of these drinks promotes the beneficial metabolism of glucose.
Caffeinated drinks are certainly not long-lived drugs, but combining a moderate, low-calorie diet may help us live longer and healthier lives. Like Okinawa and Sardinia, Icaria residents have a low proportion of meat and a high proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables. They eat far less fish than the average person imagines the islanders.
The role of bitter taste
Similarly, the longevity of Okinawans has led to strong interest in two common ingredients: sweet potatoes and bitter melons. Many people believe that these two foods may have the effect of prolonging life.
Although most of Japan’s main carbohydrate is rice, sweet potatoes have been the most common carbohydrate in Okinawa since they were first introduced in the 17th century. Unlike foods such as white bread, sweet potatoes have a low sugar index, meaning that their energy is slowly released into the bloodstream. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins A, C and E, which are antioxidants that remove harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium to help lower blood pressure. The tubers are also rich in fiber (required by a healthy gut microbiome) and have low cholesterol and saturated fat. All of these characteristics can theoretically help reduce the risk of chronic disease.
The other food is bitter melon, which looks a bit like cucumbers with a lot of pickaxes and a bit like black tea. In Okinawa, bitter melons are made into a variety of dishes , from salads and tempura sashimi to juice drinks. Like Greek coffee, which is consumed by Icarja residents, the compounds contained in bitter melons also stabilize glucose absorption and metabolism, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
In the coming years, we may find more similar examples. For example, the food of the sea, which is rich in seagrass, algae and kelp, which Okinawans eat, may also have the effect of delaying aging-related diseases, and is therefore receiving increasing attention.
Impact of terrain
Doing enough exercise every day may be one of the keys to longevity for centenarians around the world
There is less research on the effects of landscape on life expectancy, but it is equally tempting. Where these long-lived people live, there may be some clues about longer life.
Sardinia, for example, has an extremely mountainous blue area with unusually beautiful scenery. The rugged terrain that stretches from there to the coast is often referred to as the “blue wilderness zone”. Most of the centenarians living in Sardinia are farm workers, and the steep mountains add a lot of physical activity to their already hard-working daily lives. Influenced by the natural landscape and traditional way of life, the local population became an athlete.
On the other side of the Aegean Sea, the level of radioactivity in the blue region of Icaria has attracted the interest of researchers. The island is essentially divided into two different geological regions: the east is formed by sedimentary metamorphic rocks, while the west is home to a granite bed that releases radioactive radon into the famous spring.
Surprisingly, those areas of mild radioactivity seem to have the highest life expectancy, while the eastern population has a slightly lower life expectancy (the spring in the western part of the island is even known locally as the “long-lived spring”). This may be a coincidence, but U.S. studies have also found an inexplicable correlation between low environmental radiation levels and longevity. Some animal studies have also found that very low doses of radiation can cause anti-inflammatory reactions and DNA repair, which may be the same as heat restriction – small, beneficial pressures can trigger protection mechanisms within cells.
For now, the discovery remains a mystery. Whether these models can be explained by other factors and their potential mechanisms requires more research. Of course, the researchers don’t think radioactive drinks are a panacea for long-term health, and the idea that radioactivity is good for health is dangerous.
The principle of moderation
Obviously, the extraordinary life expectancy of residents in the blue area cannot be limited to a single magical factor, but rather a combination of many factors. Some of these factors are prevalent in different regions, while others are endemic. It may not be as attractive as finding anti-aging drugs or superfoods, but we can learn a lot from it.
A moderate diet, more fruits and vegetables, more exercise, coffee and tea, and space seeking spiritual comfort, whether it’s going to church or climbing mountains, are all things that can be incorporated into our daily lives and help extend our lives.