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How to Live to 100 and Savor Every Moment

By Sandy Schroeder

Around the globe, five populations have the most centennials, people who are 100. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow, studied their lifestyles in Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Ogliastra in Sardinia; Ikaria, Greece; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. He named the populations “Blue Zones.” As I read about their lifestyles, it became apparent they had all learned how to savor life. Here’s how they do it.

They Keep Moving – They find ways to make movement an integral part of their lives, walking on trails, biking to see neighbors, baking bread, shaping pottery, playing with grandchildren, gardening or weaving. Wherever they are, they are active.

Plants Dominate Their Diet – Vegetables, fruits and whole grains fill their meals with all sorts of breads, tarts, side dishes and savory soups. Handfuls of nuts and beans of all kinds are major players. Meat, which is mostly pork, is eaten about once a week, along with some fish.

They Handle Stress – Chronic inflammation, triggered by stress, and bad eating habits, attacks the body and undermines health.  Centennials shed stress with meditation, naps, social gatherings, and lots of movement such as running, or walking as they age.

They Eat Slightly Less – They eat until they are only about 80 percent full, giving them a much better chance of staying trim. They enjoy their meals but never feel bloated.

They Value People – They know the rewards of interaction with friends, family, community and co-workers. They make the effort to maintain tight-knit connections.

They Are Self-Directed – They retain a sense of purpose. In Okinawa it’s called “Ikigai.” Most of us recognize it as, “the reason we get up in the morning.” Buettner says it is worth up to seven additional years of life.

They Put Family First – They value ties with their families, forging strong links through the generations. Old age is revered, and seniors are often cared for in the family home. Buettner says being in positive relationships may add up to six years to life.

They Drink Wine in Moderation – Red wine is seen as a healthy choice with its plant compounds and antioxidants. More than one glass a day for women, or two for men is seen as counterproductive.

They Treasure Faith – Most of the centennials were part of a faith group. Weekly service attendance can add up to 14 years, according to Buettner.

To read more about Buettner’s findings, look for his books, The Blue Zones, and The Blue Zone Solution or check his site, www.bluezones.com

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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