"Blue Zones" author Buettner has identified nine common denominators of blue zone residents, what he calls the Power 9. Blue zone residents move naturally, in order words, they're not hopping in their cars to get everywhere. Blue zoners tend to walk a lot. They have a positive outlook, and a purpose. People in blue zones work less and know how to relax. They don't eat too much, and they tend to eat a Mediterranean diet low in saturated fats. Blue zone residents also belong to a social network and make their families a priority too.
Another striking feature of blue zone centenarians is that they tend to stay healthy up until the end of life. Many people are afraid to live to be 100 because they worry about being sick for a long time. But in the blue zones, people lead a long and healthy life. The end stage of life is very short, and there's little or no debilitation.”
Five Blue Zones have been identified by Buettner:
1. Sardinia Italy : One team of demographers found a hot spot of longevity in mountain villages where men reach the age of 100 years at an amazing rate.
2. The islands of Okinawa Japan: Another team examined a group that is among the longest lived on Earth.
3. Loma Linda, California: Researchers studied a group of Seventh Day Adventists who rank among America's longevity all-stars.
4. The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, was the subject of research on a Quest Network expedition which began on January 29, 2007.
5. Icaria Greece The April '09 expedition to the island of Ikaria uncovered the location with the highest percentage of 90 year-olds on the planet - nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their 90s. Furthermore, Ikarians "have about 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease and almost no dementia.
Residents of the first three places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of life.
Read more about the Blue Zones in the books linked here.