published Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Mohney: Could you be living in your own Blue Zone?

By Nell Mohney

I had never heard of Blue Zones until several years ago when my friend, Trish Foy, loaned me a book. It was entitled "Blue Zones" with a subtitle, "Lessons on Living Longer from People Who Have Lived Longer." It was by Dan Buettner.

The book is for those who want to live longer, healthier and look younger. A team made up of scientists, photographers, demographers and others from the National Institute on Aging traveled to four areas of the world where the people not only live longer but also healthier -- the Barbagai region of Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, the community of Loma Linda in California and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

It occurred to me that, wherever we live, we can set up our own Blue Zones. To get us started, here are nine lessons, according to the book, that will put us on the right track.

• Do at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.

• Cut calories by 20 percent. There is a significant choice gap between an American saying "I'm full" and an Okinawan saying, "I'm no longer hungry."

• Avoid too much meat and processed foods.

• Incorporate more plants in your diet. Showcase fruits and vegetables, and eat nuts every day.

• Moderation is the key in the use of red wine.

• Living with purpose is a buffer against stress. "Life is short. Don't run so fast that you miss it."

• Participate in a spiritual community. The institute team found that those who worship regularly will live an average of 10 years longer.

• Make family a priority. The book encourages us to eat at least one meal together each day.

• Be surrounded by an inner circle of friends and family who share Blue Zone values.

The author concluded by saying: "Learn to be more likable, not grumpy, and stay connected with family and friends."

Let's take the challenge and be a Blue Zoner.

Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. Reach her at nellmohney@comcast.net.

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