Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 PLACES TO MOVE ABROAD AND EXTEND YOUR LIFE

Today, there is skepticism whether any such place exists, but health scientists do scour the globe in search of medicinal remedies and other lifespan enhancements.

In fact, many “pockets” around the world have been identified as “Blue Zones,” where locals enjoy high quality of life and health in old age.

While failing to offer one “secret,” these regions share community factors such as diet, social integration, activity level, and outlook on life. While genetics plays a role in how long we live, researchers believe lifestyle factors account for 75% of our longevity.

 Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Surrounded by the Himalayas in Northeast Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was historically thought to be the mythical Shangri La. people live to 150 years old as claimed in the 1970s, but modern research supports that Hunza elderly boast enviable fitness levels. The diet is plant based, consisting mainly of wheat and barley and antioxidant fruits like cherries and plums. The rough terrain encourages high activity level among residents, leading to increased agility in old age. Residents are also known to have very positive outlooks on life and strong family ties.



Okinawa, Japan

Japanese rank high in lifespan studies, but Okinawans boast exceptional health. Inhabiting a tiny island in the East China Sea, locals have low rates of alzheimers, heart disease, and breast cancer, with 80% fewer cases of heart attacks and cancer than Americans.

The Okinawa diet has been studied intensely. Staples include fresh island fruits like pineapple and shikuwasa, bitter melon, sweet potato, seaweed, tofu, tea, green leafy vegetables, pork, and fish. Locals also follow the cultural tradition of hara hachi bu, or eating only until 80% full. The elderly are active, working on farms and exercising for leisure. Many live independent of nursing homes and daily connect with community.



Andorra

Situated between Spain and France, this small principality of 84,000 people has one of the longest life expectancies in world. Residents enjoy good water, a top-notch health care system, and Mediterranean diet. It is believed that stress levels are low due to Andorra’s remarkable social stability. There has been no standing army there for 700 years, and the region currently boasts full employment. Seniors take full advantage of public leisure centers, enrolling in art lessons and recreation classes.




Ikaria, Greece

Today people living on Ikaria, a mountainous Greek isle in the Aegean, reach the age of 90 at 4 times the rate of the average American. Their fitness is attributed to their activity level and unhurried lifestyle. Naps are taken regularly as locals have a laid back concept of time. The diet is low in meat, fish, and sugar and high in whole grains, potatoes, and green vegetables. People also regularly consume goat milk and herbal teas over their lifetime.




Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

For the 75,000 people who live in the Nicoya Peninsula, modern life closely resembles that of a century ago. Residents maintain solid relationships, eat a plant-based diet, and recognize active work as essential to quality of life. Many residents are sabaneros (cowboys who work on ranches) and small farmers. It’s not uncommon for food to be cooked on wood-burning stoves.

Locals eat a “Mesoamerican Trifecta” diet, consisting of corn tortillas, beans, and squash. The water supply is high in minerals that increase bone health. Because of the dry sunny climate, locals suffer from few respiratory diseases and get plenty of Vitamin D.





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