Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones – Netflix
In 2003, Dan Buettner researched communities with increased longevity, identified as blue zones, while collaborating with a variety of experts, including anthropologists, historians, dietitians, and geneticists, “to reverse engineer longevity”. These early trips focused on Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and Loma Linda, California. Now twenty years later, Dan revisits these communities along with several more and shares his findings in this very informative documentary regarding how to enhance and extend our lives.
Okinawa Japan is known to have the longest lived people in the history of the world, with more women outliving men, as well as extremely low cases of heart disease, diabetes or dementia. Major reasons for Okinawa becoming a blue zone were: diet consisting of medical foods with low caloric density; practicing Hara Hachi Bu – to eat only 80% of the meal; promoting balance and core strength though daily activities; having Ikigai – a mission/purpose that contributes in a positive way; and social connection though Moais, which are a committed social circle of people who generally got together by pooling their money and helping each other in times of hardship.
Sardinia, Italy was unique in that the ratio of female to male centenarians was one-to-one instead of the average of five-to-one women over men in other blue zones. Living longer in Sardinia was attributed to: regular activity due to steepness – steep roads and houses with several flights of stairs; good carbs, high carb diet mainly of minestrone soup and sourdough bread; control stress – Men work, most as shepherds. but are not stressed by work; and care for elders.
Loma Linda, California is a Seventh Day Adventist Community where residents live longer than other place in California. The main factors for longevity in Loma Linda were: serving the community through volunteering; eating a plant-based diet prescribed when Founder Ellen White had vision to live a balanced diet focused on vegetarianism mainly comprised of fruits, legumes, cereals, vegetables and nuts; faith – being part of a faith based community; and finding the right tribe – surrounding yourself with active people and those with vegetarian lifestyles.
Ikaria, Greece is isolated and self-sufficient, where residents live on a Mediterranean diet with very little meat. Contributing factors to longevity in Ikaria were: herbal teas from local plants;
raw honey from local beehives moved around the island as the season progresses gathering from many natural elements; partnership in the form of nurturing relationships; wine made from local grapes without chemicals and considered medicinal; and dancing and laughing.
Nicoya, Costa Rica is a rural, isolated region with 3.5 times more centenarians and an average biological age of 10 years younger over chronological. Contributing to Nicoya’s large centenarian population was: Plan de Vida – a sense of purpose; doing things by hand; slow down making time for things that matter; and the three sisters diet – black beans, squash and corn.
Dan spearheaded creating a blue zone in Lea, Minnesota, initially getting residents together for walks (moais), then setup volunteer activities, then made changes for healthier food choices, and lastly changes to allow for more natural physical activity. The target was an average 2 year increase in life expectancy, and amazingly after 1 year had a 3.1 year increase. Dan discovered that in the end it’s how blue zone wisdom is applied to benefit communities by making changes to help make the best choice an easy choice and the realization that the things that help us live a long healthy life are the things that make life worth living.
Runtime: 4 – 30m episodes