April 19, 2019

Finding the Fountain of Youth

“Around the world, people are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. One area this is most visible is in the number of centenarians, or people living to the age of 100. In 1840, there were 90 centenarians in the United States—one for every 189,000 people—according to United States Census Bureau records. Today, there are more than 53,000—or one for every 5,800 people. Though we know people are living longer, we don’t necessarily how they do it.

After discovering that there are longevity hot spots where people tend to live especially long, writer Dan Buettner spent over a decade locating and documenting these areas, dubbed “blue zones.” “I increasingly was interested in mysteries that dealt with the human condition,” says Buettner, a National Geographic fellow.

Through that research, he found several factors that might prolong health and life for people in blue zones. “Longevity is a consequence of constant, longterm little things,” Buettner says. “There’s no silver bullet.” Buettner shared the findings in his books The Blue Zones (2009) and Thrive (2010); here are some of the high points:

Ikaria, Greece: Enjoy a nap after tea

Residents of this Greek island are three times as likely to reach age 90 than people in the U.S. Living to nonagenarian status may be more likely when you get some bonus shut-eye.”

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