The Blue Zones Solution — Summary and Review

The Blue Zones Solution Book Cover

The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People

by Dan Buettner

Published: 2017 | 320 pages
Rating Amazon:  stars rating 4.5 
Rating by reviewer:  stars rating 4.8 
Author of the article: Baseerat Iqbal
Date of the summary: Jun 15, 2020

Longevity and healthy life were never easy to achieve before Dan Buettner shared the secrets practiced by Blue Zones people.

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The Blue Zones Solution Book Cover

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Introduction

The blue zone is a motivating book that includes ways and measures by which we can adopt habits of a healthy lifestyle practiced by people that possess comparatively longer life spans and healthy routines living in five different places in the world with a large population of citizens who have celebrated their 100th birthday.

The author explains the secrets of longevity, which are simple yet effective.

Interesting quotes from the book

Clarify your purpose and you reduce your stress.

— Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones Solution


Integrate at least three of these items into your daily diet to be sure you are eating plenty of whole food. 1. Beans—all kinds: black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils. 2. Greens—spinach, kale, chards, beet tops, fennel tops. 3. Sweet potatoes—don’t confuse with yams. 4. Nuts—all kinds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews. 5. Olive oil—green, extra-virgin is usually the best. Note that olive oil decomposes quickly, so buy no more than a month’s supply at a time. 6. Oats—slow-cook or Irish steel-cut are best. 7. Barley—either in soups, as a hot cereal, or ground in bread. 8. Fruits—all kinds. 9. Green or herbal teas. 10. Turmeric—as a spice or a tea.

— Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones Solution


No one thing explains longevity in the Blue Zones. It’s really an interconnected web of factors—including what we eat, our social network, daily rituals, physical environment, and sense of purpose—that propels us forward and gives life meaning.

— Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones Solution


Summary of the book The Blue Zones Solution

Since ancient times man has tried to look for the mythical fountain of youth that will keep you young and healthy forever, but till now no one has ever been successful in their hunt for the magical fountain of youth. Yet there are places in the world where people have longer lives and have lived beyond the age of 100 years. The author did extensive research on such areas as "The Blue Zones" where people have a comparatively longer and healthy life. The answer to all of this mumbo jumbo was no secret or magic but a few key things. And if we adopt them, we may also lead a healthier and longer life.

The author Dan Buettner researched for almost a decade in all those areas where people live the longest. He revealed that there are five areas in the world where people age gracefully without deadly diseases like diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart diseases, and other such diseases. Dan's blue zones includedIkaria, Greece, Okinawa, Japan, the Ogliastra region, Sardinia, Loma Linda California, and Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica. With a group of medical researchers, anthropologists, dietitians, demographers, and epidemiologists they conducted researches in collaboration with the local researchers to find the facts and the truth. While working and observing the people and their lifestyle the author concluded that it was not only the genetics that helped them to live longer but their habits and their way of life because of which they have achieved a healthier living and longer life spans. He discovered 9 golden rules in the blue zones that were the keys to longevity and healthier life. The following are the habits followed by people of blue zones.

Exercise is life

It is unnecessary to join a gym or run a marathon to stay active and healthy rather the people of blue zones had the exercise incorporated in their daily lives with simple tasks like walking, gardening, cooking and other activates of daily living. These people raise farms and grow gardens using no mechanical devices for the work. They walk stories of stairs, and interminable distances to visit a friend, go to church or to complete their daily chores. Exercise helps them maintain a healthy living and increases their life span. The exercise prevents these people from being affected by the lethal diseases.

Find the purpose of living

Every day when these people wake up, they know that they have an important task to complete and they do not relate these tasks to work but something more precious, something more important. According to the research, Americans die more in the first year of their retirement than they do in the last years of their work and that is because they have a purpose of living. It is a fact that if you are living without a purpose, it could be harmful to you. There should always be a driving force that wakes you up in the morning and forces you to stand. In Costa Rica's blue zone area, the Nicoya Peninsula people just don't stop living after they are 60 or 70 or any age rather they keep themselves busy because they believe in plan de Vida. This means they have a plan for their life. Because of this positive approach, they live happily and for a longer time.

Keep the stress levels low

Every person experiences stress and anxiety in their life and so do the people who live in the blue zones. But the difference is that these people have learned how to overcome their stress. Different blue zone areas have unique methods that help people to shed their stress.

In Okinawa, people take out some time to remember their ancestors and they believe this way they can shed stress.

In Sardinia, people have a wonderful sense of humor and they enjoy a friendly laugh together which helps them to get rid of stress.

According to the people of Loma Linda, Sabbath helps to keep their stress level low. Sabbath means to make time for others and family. To enough a friendly laugh with them for laughter decreases the risk of a heart attack and also lowers the blood pressure.

Sex is also important in one's life, for it also helps to reduce stress. In the blue zone of Costa Rica, people are very liberal towards sex because of which they even have kids, even if they are unmarried. They believe that sexual liberation keeps their stress level low and keep them happy and relaxed.

In Ikaria, people take a nap to keep the stress level at bay.

Stop eating when you are 80% full

HARA Hachi Bu is the rule of 80%. According to people of Okinawa you should stop eating when you are 80% full. They believe that the remaining 20% is where we either lose weight or gain it if we consume it.

This may be one reason for the longevity of blue zones people because they consumed fewer calories and exercised more.

Diet is important

Another important thing observed among the people of blue zones was that 95% of their diet comprises plants based things. The meat consumption in their diet was only about 5 times a month and only serving 3-4 ounces. The major portion of the diet comprised vegetables, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, soy, fava, etc. Consuming a diet rich in the above things helps to reduce the risk of fatal diseases which expands the life expectancy.

Moderate consumption of alcohol

A common practice observed among people of blue zones is that they drink wine in a moderate amount and not overdo it. According to the studies, if we consume only 1 or 2 glasses of wine then it will decrease the risk of death.

One thing common in Ikarians and Sardinians was that they had only 1 or 2 drinks a day.

Sardinian Cannonau wine is made with Grenache grapes, which is why it's high in antioxidants.

The consumption of antioxidants can prevent damage to the DNA responsible for aging.

You can't do this to avoid drinking all week and then having 14 drinks on the weakened.

Pick the right company

All the people who have a joyful life and stay young for long are those who pick their tribe wisely. They hang around the positive people and those that support each other, away from negativity.

In Okinawa, they create a group of 5 friends who then stay and commit to each other for the rest of their life and they are true to each other.

Select people with common interests so you can connect especially.

According to studies, being lonely is as harmful as things like smoking and obesity.

Be the part of a community

Communities may not only be religious but also we can shape them based on common interests and work. The author mentions the list of religious and faith-based communities and they say it you may add up 4-14 years in your life if you are among the people who attend such gatherings at least 4 times a month.

Dear ones ahead of everything else

The author lets us know that the people of the blue zones have another trait in common and that is above everything else family comes first. These people keep their dear ones and near ones close to them. Their grandparents and parents stay close to them because they believe that if they have older people around them, it will reduce the risk of diseases and death rates of their kids. They believe in keeping a powerful bond with their better have and share the love with them, which according to them increases almost 3 years to their life. They establish a pure and love-filled relation with their children. They spend quality time with them, so that in the future the children will do the same for their parents.

Genes contribute about 25% of all factors that affect lifespan. The rest is upon you that how you manage your routine and lifestyle. If we look back to when people have longer life spans we would come to know that even at 80 years the people were healthier and that is only because of the way they lived their life.

There may not be any secret to long living and healthy life other than the diet you consume, daily exercise that you may make a part of your routine, your attitude toward positivity, being around people with whom you feel happy, and having a purpose of living, living for the betterment of others.

What can we learn from the book The Blue Zones Solution?

Lesson 1

The book teaches us many lessons, but one of the most important ones is to stay connected with the right people and people we love. If you want to live longer then spend quality time with your dear ones. Life is better when you are happy.

Lesson 2

Anyone who wishes to live long and stay healthy he/she needs to focus on their way of living and their lifestyle. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, and keep it healthy. Incorporate exercise as a part of your daily routine and there is nothing that can stop you from living the longest.

Lesson 3

One of the most important things in life is to find ourselves the purpose of living and that may or maybe not related to the job; find a deeper meaning in life. Start living for others because everyone loves for themselves but few of us know that if we make the lives of other people better we shall find inner peace and happiness in our own life.

Review of the book The Blue Zones Solution

"The Blue Zones Solution" isn't just another book on how to live your life in the correct manner. Rather it is an inspirational and motivational work of art that not only lets us reflect upon our lifestyles but also guides us towards the right way of living. This book lets us venture into unique places in the world and teaches us the lifestyles that are being celebrated by people in unfamiliar parts of the world. The book contains all the secrets of healthy living and how to increase life expectancy. This book is a gem that is worth reading.

Conclusion

If you want to long up to 100 years and maintain a pleasant quality of life, then transform your lifestyle and incorporate the healthy habits that Dan Buettner has a mention in the book. Quit the unpleasant habits and adopt the lifestyles of those healthy people who live the longest. Practice positivity; learn to stay happy and spread love.


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