I’m always intrigued by stories of Okinawa and its reputation for having the healthiest, longest living people in the world. My grandmother lived here for several years and is still going in her late 90s. Perhaps some of this island’s lifestyle rubbed off on her. This got me thinking about other spots around the world where a long and healthy life is common and I came across some research by National Geographic and Dan Buettner which identified five “blue zones” around the world. These are places that where, not only do people live long lives, but also lives are relatively active and healthy through their final years. One thing I found interesting in these studies and others like them is that most centenarians (100 year olds) surround themselves with friends and family and tend to be outgoing and open. Sounds like these studies unveiled some great places to visit. The following are four of these so-called “blue zones:”
Okinawa, Japan: Japan’s southernmost prefecture enjoys mild, sub-tropical weather similar to Hawaii and its unique culture is a diverse blend influenced by trading partners throughout its history. Prepare for small portions of fresh seafood, one of the possible contributing factors to the high rate of centenarians.
Sardinia, Italy: There is no lack of diversity on this island in the center of the the Mediterranean. You’ll find beautiful sea water, protected marine areas, caves as well as inland mountains, lakes and lagoons. Try the red wine from the mountainous areas. High in antioxidants, some scientists believe this wine contributes to the long life in the area. Accompany it with some pecorino cheese and perhaps you’ll add a few more years to your life.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Beautiful beaches are in no shortage here, nor are the friendly folks. Indulge in the squash, beans and corn tortillas that are served up as they may contribute to a longer, healthier lifetime.
Ikaria (Icaria), Greece: You can’t go wrong with any ancient Greek island surrounded by the warm waters of the Aegean. However, you must try the ancient herbal teas that are brewed here as they’ll lower your blood pressure making for a longer, more enjoyable life.
IMAGE VIA: libraryman on flickr