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sardinia italy

What are the Secrets of Blue Zones?

September 3, 2019

Want to live a longer, healthier life? The secrets of the Blue Zones are the key!

Having been to Sardinia with my children as guests of the Lustig family over twelve years ago, I was intrigued when invited by my friend Daniel Kinkade to hear Carol D’Anca, best- selling author of “Real Food for Healthy People” discuss Blue Zones, Sardinia and living the sweet life or as the Italians say, La Dolce Vita.

While eating a delicious dinner prepared by the chefs at Eataly, I learned that Blue Zones are categorized as places in the world where people are healthiest and have the longest lifespans. Sardinia, Italy was named the first Blue Zone in 1999. In Sardinia there are extremely few cases diabetes, heart disease or dementia; its inhabitants lead an active lifestyle, act much younger than their age and regularly live beyond 100 years of age. Fun fact: 1 in 5,000 Sardinians live beyond age 100, while only 1 in 20,000 Americans reach that milestone.

Why? Sardinians follow the 4 gifts of Italy which are now considered the 4 principles of a Blue Zone and the secret to longevity:

1. A simple and lean diet consisting of small portions, little meat, lots of fish, olive oil, wine and locally grown, seasonal and plant-based foods (think fruits, nuts and vegetables), with little processed food, if any.
2. A high energy expenditure lifestyle – consisting of walking at least 6 miles a day, gardening and working late in life all of which keep the body and mind healthy. As Carol mentioned, move and stay moving. Don’t sit still no matter how old you are!
3. A strong family bond and social network of friends and neighbors to ward off loneliness and isolation. Put your family first, find your tribe of people and pursue social connectedness. Be part of a community. Make sure to always share a meal with someone!
4. A clear sense of identity and purpose. Know why you get up in the morning. Make sure to find time to relax, mediate, nap or enjoy happy hour. Allow yourself to down-shift.

I am longing to go back to Sardinia… maybe a Blue Zone group tour lead by Carol will be on my list for 2020?

Susan Brunstrum
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