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Paperback The Blue Zones : 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest Book

ISBN: 1426209487

ISBN13: 9781426209482

The Blue Zones : 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

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Book Overview

Bestselling author, longevity expert, and National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner reports on health, fitness, diet, and aging, drawing on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communities--Blue Zones--around the globe. Buettner has launched a major public health initiative to transform cities based on principles from this book, an updated and expanded edition of his bestselling classic on longevity. His prescriptions for lifestyle, nutrition,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Beam me to the Blue Zones!

Blue . . . the color of peace, tranquility, and everlasting life. Standing at the edge of the ocean, big waves splashing cool, salty water over my toes, I look out over the ocean and up at the turquoise sky, feeling as one with the earth. The ocean, where life began, and the sky, where my soul will later disappear, show the color blue as far as I can see. Somewhere in between the beginning of life and eternity lies the Blue Zone, a place offering longevity, good health, and contentment. While the Blue Zones described in Dan Buettner's chronicle are found in four specific locations broadly spread across the earth, he tells us in detail how we can create our own "Blue Zone." These four places, populated with many centenarians, share their secrets with us through the magnificent stories told to us by Dan Buettner. I ran across a newspaper article about The Blue Zones when I was researching why obesity seemed prevalent in certain departments of my company. It seemed to me there must have been a great deal of negative influence on each other, perhaps a contagious attitude of not caring what they eat. Dan confirmed what I suspected, stating that studies have shown that if your three best friends are obese, you have a 50 percent greater chance of also being obese. The Blue Zones have taught us that in order to live longer, healthier lives we need to surround ourselves with the right people, people who reinforce the right habits. We can learn so much from the inspiring stories of the people in this book. Marge Jetton, 100 at the time the book was written, is shown in a photograph lifting weights. She begins each day with a mile walk, a stationary bike ride, and (of course) lifting weights. In our literary visit to Costa Rica, we meet Juvenil Munoz, a 90 year old man who eats mostly beans, tortillas, fruit, and once a year, beef when he butchers a cow. Yes, you read that right, just once a year he eats beef. These are just two of the amazing people you will meet in this book. Why don't you order it so you can meet the others? You'll learn something special about life from each and every one. Some books are for dieters, some are for athletes, and some are for cooks. The Blue Zones is for everyone. Even if you're one of the few people who don't care about living a long life, you'll love the journey through this book. It is like no other you've ever taken. Beam me to the Blue Zones!

Ten star sane, interesting, thought provoking book

Published by the National Geographic made this book a reliable read for me. It is so full of valuable information, including the website http://www.bluezones.com mentioned in the book on page 228 where you can do the Vitality Compass. And one of the many wise pieces of advise given (page 213_ deals with learning to move or be active without thinking about it. Liked this, because I see so many people over the age of seventy where I live out walking for walking enjoyment, not for any physical fitness routine. Same with going to the gym. People I know simply see everyday movement as natural and healthy. Lesson Five: Purpose Now Take time to see the big picture is something we need to start teaching our young. The whole idea of seeing a purpose however small in getting up in the morning. Lesson Seven: Belong Participate in a spiritual community shouldn't turn anyone off. Fact is their research shows that belonging to a community where one thinks about something bigger, and is around people who believe in prayer and positive purpose live not only longer but healthier and happier lives. They mention Dr Gary Frasers book Diet, Life Expectancy and Chronic Disease which is a good book. Also like the information on diet and how healthy eating doesn't mean boring or not fun. Simply eating less, and not so much meat can make a difference they say and I agree. They do NOT say never eat meat. Which reminded me of the exchange students we have had in our home whose eyes would grow big when they would see the steaks on the BBQ at peoples homes, and then see a steak plopped on their plate. This was a shock to them, because no matter if they were from Asia or Scandinavia, meat was more of a condiment, served in small servings, rather that THE meal.

Not just yogurt and olive oil

Back in the 50's, it was the Hunza people who the were exemplars of longlived folk in popular literature about healthy living. The Hunza valley is popularly believed to be the inspiration for Shangri-la, the place of the immortals in James Hilton's novel "Lost Horizon." The Hunza live in high altitude, eat whole grains, and this was the model for much of health food lore in the 50's. Then there were the Georgians, famous in the 80's, whose long life was attributed to the consumption of yogurt. Now it's the Okinawans, Mediterraneans and Costa Ricans who have the secret of long life. The "Blue Zone" is how these areas with a high percentage of centenarians is designated. In this book, the author combines lessons from various zones around the world. In this way, not only are the different cultures described, but the commonalities are easily derived from the chapters. And they are hardly surprising, but it's great to have them all in one book because you can see that it's not yogurt or fermented mare's milk or a diet rich in tofu and fermented bean paste and fish--it's healthy habits. They are pretty much (no surprise here), a diet including plenty of fresh, unchilled water, lots of vegetables, limited meat and fats and sweets, and the habit of hard farm work or walking and exercise and having a richly entwined family life and close group of friends--a support system. (Doesn't the Bible say "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you." Exodus 20:12) This book is excellent not only for the interesting anthropological information, but because you can see that long life is really something that is a matter of habits and practices, not just eating a bowl of yogurt or using olive oil instead of butter.

A welcome and refreshing contribution to the literature about living longer

In a world of questionable claims and dubious pseudoscience about how to live a long and productive life, this book stands out. The author defines a "Blue Zone" as an area where there is an unusually high number of people living a century or more. Furthermore, they are people who have remained mentally and physically vibrant as they aged. Four areas are identified and examined: *) In the Barbagia region of the Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. In one village of 2,500 there were seven people 100 years or older. *) The Japanese islands of Okinawa, site of one of the bloodiest battles in World War II. *) Loma Linda, California where the people who make it a Blue Zone are Seventh Day Adventists. *) An area of Costa Rica in Central America. As a mathematician/statistician, my first thought was that this would turn out to be another false claim. I based this on two natural premises. *) While modern records are complete, the birth records of these people would extend back to the start of the twentieth century, a time when the recording of births was much less precise. Therefore, some of the claims of advanced age could be false. *) Given the large number of potential Blue Zones that could be created, the four cited in the book could just be statistical anomalies that can be expected due to the workings of chance. Those anomalies could also be due to the concentration of the members of a single family whose genetic makeup strongly favors long life. The meticulous scholarship of various people, which includes the author, renders the first objection untenable. By examining the records in detail, there is no doubt that the ages of the people are accurate and the Blue Zones do exist. The second objection is much harder to refute. The world is a big place and slight modifications of the borders can turn something that is close to a Blue Zone into something that is. Certain families have the genes for longevity, for example the people in one line of my wife's family routinely live into their nineties. Given the numbers of the Barbagia region, the presence of one or two such families could be enough to create a Blue Zone. While this would not change the fact that the data is interesting, a genetic anomaly would render any lifestyle conclusions moot for everyone else lacking the appropriate genetic components. In carrying out a comparison of the lifestyles of the people in the Blue Zones around the world, some common factors clearly emerge. *) They all have a strong and supportive social structure. All remain active in their community, they are surrounded by people who care about them and that they care about. *) The centenarians have worked at heavy physical labor their entire lives and most still do. While they do eat meat, it is not a daily component of their diets. *) The centenarians tend to have a lower level of stress in their lives and the hard work tends to help them burn off what stress they have. These factors a
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