How to live longer...Written by Amanda Higgins - The Health Nut
Reading Dan Buettners book ‘Blue Zones’ has reminded me of so many very important facts. To be able to live longer and to live longer healthily requires some incredibly basic common sense lessons and is easier than you think. I loved the lessons learnt from the Blue Zones of the world. The Blue Zones are essentially communities around the planet where common key elements in lifestyle, diet, and general outlook on life have led its inhabitants to have a better quality and quantity of life. They are the planets longest living people.
What are these common elements and is it possible to apply them to our lives away from these Blue Zones?
Get moving without thinking about it.
- Make your life a little tougher, inconvenience yourself ie: get up to change the TV don’t use the remote control.
- Have fun while keeping moving – do what you enjoy with exercise. Stop doing exercise for the sake of exercise.
Cut your portions sizes. You only need to eat till you are 80% full.
- Serve your food and then pack it away, so you can’t have seconds.
- Make your food look more, by adding more vegetables and salads.
- Use smaller eating plates.
- Make snacking on junk a thing of the past. Fill your cookie jars with nuts and dates.
- Purchase the small sizes of food not the jumbo size.
- Eat slower, sit down and relax while eating.
- Focus on your food while eating, don’t be watching TV.
Eat less meat and processed food
- Eat 4-6 vegetable servings daily.
- Limit your meat intake to 3x per week.
- Showcase your fruit and vegetables on your kitchen table so you want to eat them.
- Beans, beans, beans – this is a cornerstone of many Blue Zone diets.
- Eat nuts everyday.
Drink red wine in moderation
- One glass a day is enough.
- More than that per day and it is dangerous.
- Don’t stock pile for the weekend either.
- Buy good quality red wine.
- Set yourself up with a happy hour ( I love this) – a glass of wine, some nuts and some good friends or a spouse.
- GO EASY GO EASY – 1-2 glasses is enough to reap the benefits.
Live life on purpose
- Have a reason to get up in the morning.
- Find a partner who can help you in your life purpose – a friend, family member or colleague.
- Learn something new; take up a hobby, learn a language. Keep your mind sharp.
Take time to relieve stress – downshift
- Reduce the noise – rid your house of all the digital clutter.
- Be early, this allows you the time to slow down and focus.
- Meditate, take 5 minutes a day to breath.
Belong – find your community
- Get involved, whether it is with your church, running group or just a group of girlfriends or work mates.
- Explore new traditions. Step outside your comfort zone.
- Just connect – don’t be alone.
Your loved ones come first
- Get closer to your family. Spend time together everyday.
- Establish rituals – have those Sunday lunches every week!
- Create a family shrine – make a wall in your home a photo album. Put the pictures of the deceased love ones up on the wall.
- Family first means making time and energy dedicated to your children and your partner everyday. Honour your parents.
Find your tribe
- Find the tribe which can become your inner circle, to support and believe in your habits. Find people who challenge you mentally and who you can rely on.
- Be nice. Don’t be a grump, be likeable and friendly even if you are a bit of a loner.
- Spend time with your inner circle as often as you can. They are the ones who lift you up and leave you feeling amazing.
To conclude a passage from the book Blue Zone’s by Dan Buettner:
“….To me, they offered a lesson about decline. I know that our bones will soften and our arteries will harden. Our hearing will dull and our vision will fail altogether, and we’ll die. How this decline unfolds is up to us. The calculus of ageing offers us two options: We can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or we can live the longest life with the fewest bad years.”